PART ONE: DIALOGUES
THE FREEING OF ART
DEREK: If, as you claim, art evolves from the mundane to the transcendent, from materialistic sculpture to impalpable holography, and does so via a number of intermediate stages ... like murals, paintings, and light art, it must have begun bound to the Diabolic Alpha and only gradually emancipated itself from that ... as it tended towards the Divine Omega. Thus the higher the development of art, the more free must it be from utilitarian concerns, which pertain to the mundane.
KENNETH: Oh absolutely! The lowest stages in the development of art were, by contrast, the most utilitarian, as in the case, for example, of ancient Greek sculpture.
DEREK: But how was this sculpture utilitarian?
KENNETH: Through its connection with pagan religion. The ancient Greeks, particularly the earliest ones, were given to idolatry, both completely and partly. By personifying their gods in sculptural form, they acquired a concrete reference-point for purposes of religious devotion. The simpler Greeks would have worshipped the statue as the god, which was pretty much the religious norm in pre-atomic times. Especially would this have been so in the earliest phases of Greek civilization, before statues acquired the lesser status of images of the gods, who dwelt elsewhere.
DEREK: Presumably on
KENNETH: Yes. But whether these statues, these sculptures, were worshipped directly as gods or indirectly as images, their function was strictly utilitarian, in accordance with the nature of art in its lowest stages of development. Besides worshipping gods, however, the ancient Greeks also worshipped heroes, who would sometimes become gods in the course of time, and they built additional statues personifying abstract virtues, such as Strength, Courage, and Fortitude. There was no free sculpture, as we understand it. They would have been deeply shocked by the concept of art-for-art's sake! Art had to be connected with a utilitarian purpose, even if one less exalted than the worship of natural phenomena. Incidentally, although the Renaissance attempted to revive certain Greco-Roman values and to reaffirm the importance of beauty as a creative ideal, the resulting sculptures weren't used for purposes of worship, as their pagan prototypes had been, but stood as a kind of Renaissance art-for-art's sake in revolt against Gothic iconography. The men of the Renaissance honoured the form but not the spirit of Greek sculpture! They wanted to create a free sculpture.
DEREK: And succeeded admirably! However, as the utilitarian must precede the free, it is evident that art continued to be largely if not exclusively utilitarian throughout the pre-atomic age, and even into the atomic age of Christian civilization.
KENNETH: That is so. Or if not directly then, at any rate, indirectly connected with utilitarian ends, as with the vase paintings of the Greeks, who naturally made use of their vases for carrying water and storing wine, to name but two uses. The concept of a free vase wouldn't have appealed to them. Yet vase painting definitely marked a development beyond sculpture which was closer to murals, since a combination of the two, in that two-dimensional figures were applied to a curvilinear form resembling, and doubtless deriving from, the human body, with particular reference to the female. It was left to the Romans, however, to develop murals and mosaics to any significant extent, thereby beautifying their walls and floors.
DEREK: Which could be described as the raison d'être of murals and mosaics.
KENNETH: Yes. Just as the Greeks had beautified their vases with figure paintings commemorating heroes and battles or, alternatively, referring to aspects of their religion, so the Romans adorned the walls of their dwellings with murals depicting much the same thing. Even explicitly erotic figures possessed a religious significance, insofar as paganism was nothing if not sensual and, hence, sexist. But a mural signifies a superior stage of aesthetic evolution to vase painting, because the figures are applied to a flat surface, namely a wall, rather than to a curved one, which stands closer to nature in imitation of the human form. There is something partly transcendental about a flat surface, even when it forms part of an utilitarian entity, like a wall.
DEREK: Doubtless one could argue that, considered separately from the overall function of a dwelling, a wall is less utilitarian than a vase, which may be subject to direct use.
KENNETH: I agree. And for that reason the mural was a stage before painting ... as the application of figures to a flat surface not directly connected with utilitarian ends, because forming the basis of an aesthetic entity hanging on the wall.
DEREK: And yet such an entity could be indirectly connected with utilitarian ends, couldn't it?
KENNETH: Yes, to the extent that its owner may look upon it as a means to beautifying his house, rather than as something which exists in its own right as a completely independent entity. It would then be like a kind of removable wallpaper, existing in a transitional realm between the mundane and the transcendent, the bound and the free.
DEREK: Though presumably this would only be so while its content appealed to the aesthetic sense by actually being beautiful or, at any rate, partly beautiful, which is to say, until such time as art became either ugly or truthful, and thereby bedevilled aesthetic considerations.
KENNETH: Precisely! Though while art remains attached to canvas it can never become entirely free from aesthetic considerations, even when it aims, as some modern art does, at Truth, because the very medium in which it exists - the canvas, oils, et cetera - suggests a connection with the past, with past phases of painterly development, and is itself to a certain extent materialistic and naturalistic. A modern painting may intimate of Truth rather than approximate to the Beautiful in one degree or another, but, in hanging on a wall in someone's house, it won't be entirely free from utilitarian associations. It will be less free, in fact, than an identical or similar painting hanging in a public gallery, where it would be absurd to suggest that its presence there was intended to beautify the gallery.
DEREK: You are suggesting that one should bear in mind a distinction between the private and the public, between art in the home and art in the gallery.
KENNETH: Particularly with regard to modern art, which will approximate more to the free or transcendent than it would otherwise do ... if attached to the wall of a private dwelling. A truly free art, however, could not adopt canvas form but would be detached from walls, floors, et cetera, in a medium which transcends the utilitarian and thereby exists in its own right, in complete independence of its physical surroundings. Such an art to a certain extent already exists in the context of light art, which has no connection with the utilitarian use of artificial light but, quite the contrary, shines independently to the lighting necessary for the illumination of a public gallery at any given time of day. Indeed, such art is never better served than when displayed in conjunction with the utilitarian use of artificial light, its presence thereby being shown superfluous by any utilitarian criteria. And yet, important as this art may be in the gradual liberation of art from the mundane, it is still connected to its surroundings, if only to the extent that it hangs from the ceiling or is supported on a tripod or has an electric current flowing through it via an insulated wire that connects to the mains at some point in the gallery. The evolution of art is incomplete until the illusion of a totally free art is created through holographic techniques, which should project an impalpable image, or hologram, of a material entity into surrounding space, and thereby present to the viewer the arresting spectacle of its detached transcendence, the image, independent of floors, walls, wires, pedestals, et cetera, having no utilitarian associations whatsoever! Thus not, in its ultimate manifestation, a representational image, like a telephone, but a completely abstract one, such as would intimate of transcendent spirit.
DEREK: And this ultimate stage in the evolution of art would have to be public, like the preceding stage ... of light art?
KENNETH: Yes, and preferably within the context of a meditation centre, which is to say, as an ingredient in religious devotion - at any rate, certainly if abstract and thus unequivocally religious in character.
DEREK: But wouldn't that make it utilitarian, much as Greek sculpture was when housed in a temple?
KENNETH: No, because not an entity to be worshipped, either directly or indirectly, but simply to be contemplated, as an intimation of Truth. Both the pagans and, to a lesser extent, the Christians worshipped statues; but Transcendentalists would simply contemplate an appropriate hologram from time to time during the course of their meditation session, not as an alternative but in addition to meditation, kept mindful, by its presence, of the goal of evolution in transcendent spirit.
DEREK: So that which, as sculpture, began publicly in a religious context would, as holography, end publicly in such a context?
KENNETH: Yes, the distinction being one between the mundane and the transcendent, sensual public art and spiritual public art, which is nothing short of an antithesis between the bound and the free - the former approximating to Absolute Beauty, the latter intimating of Absolute Truth.
DEREK: Just as a similar antithesis presumably exists between vase painting and light art.
KENNETH: Yes, the vase being an opaque container illuminated externally by paint but intended, all the same, to hold sensual phenomena like wine or flour in a predominantly utilitarian context. By contrast, light art may be defined in terms of translucent containers, whether bulbs, tubes, or tubing, illuminated internally by artificial light - which, depending on the type of light art, can be regarded as symbolizing the spirit - and not intended for any utilitarian purpose. Quite a contrast, when you think about it!
DEREK: Indeed! And yet, despite its association with utilitarian purposes, vase painting was presumably a fine art during that pre-atomic epoch in time when it was especially fostered - as, for that matter, were murals.
KENNETH: And quite unlike modern vase paintings or murals, which correspond to a folk art. The distinction is more one of chronology in evolutionary time than quality of work, though the latter will still of course apply. I mean, the vase paintings and murals of the ancient Greeks and Romans respectively, being an integral part of evolutionary progress in the development of art from highly materialistic origins, were the work of the most aesthetically-gifted people of the time, whereas modern vase paintings and murals are the work of relatively uncivilized people, i.e. the folk, and therefore devoid of chronological relevance in the overall evolution of art - the foremost developments of which having attained to the level of light art and, to a limited extent as yet, even gone on to that of holography. A typical modern mural, on the other hand, whether on the gable wall of a house or stretching along a public wall in some street, suggests a creative affinity with ancient-pagan and early-Christian times, and is more likely to be the work of someone whose creative disposition corresponds to the relatively primitive level of the ancients ... than of a civilized artist who has temporarily abandoned light art, or whatever, for murals.
DEREK: One is reminded of what Freud once wrote concerning the unequal levels of spiritual development which exist in human society - some people virtually living on the primitive level, others in the Middle Ages, yet others in the eighteenth century, and so on. Only a comparatively small minority of people truly live in their age, as its creative masters.
KENNETH: A situation that will doubtless continue so long as class distinctions remain inevitable, as they will do for some time yet - certainly until such time as a post-atomic civilization gets properly under way. For where there is a distinction between a civilized class and a folk, a distinction will also exist between fine art and folk art, the latter embracing not only vase paintings and murals, but certain types of sculpture and painting as well. Such art may be described as barbarously naive, because it doesn't pertain to civilization in its successive transmutations. Now since contemporary Western civilization is predominantly petty bourgeois, it follows that the foremost art of the age will be produced by petty-bourgeois artists, whose religiosity - and civilization in any true sense is inseparable from a relevant religion - derives, as a rule, from the Orient. They pertain to the leading civilized class of the age, a class which has taken over from the middle and grand bourgeoisie in the evolution of Western civilization. One day, however, the folk will become civilized, and when they do it won't be folk art but holography that will appeal to them. Their art will be completely detached from material constraints. Their religion no neo-Orientalism but full-blown Transcendentalism, the religion of an ultimate civilization - one antithetical, in character, to that of the ancient Greeks. Not the alpha of Beauty, but the omega of Truth! Not the bound appearance, but the free essence!
OF JEWS AND ISRAELIS
KEITH: Of all peoples in the West, Jews strike me as being the ones who most cling to Creator worship, to a religion which stresses the Creator, or Jehovah, rather than some avatar, or Christ-equivalent figure, who stands, chronologically speaking, in between the Creator and the future Ultimate Creation ... of the Holy Spirit ... in the overall evolution of gods. Judaism would appear to be a largely alpha-oriented religion, a religion anterior to Christianity in terms of evolutionary development and, as such, many of its adherents would seem to be biased towards materialism and more capable, in consequence, of pursuing wealth as a desirable end than most of their Christian counterparts - much as though the pursuit of material gain was of moral value in itself.
ROBERT: I agree that Judaism is fundamentally more alpha-orientated than any other so-called World Religion, with the possible exception of Islam, and could therefore be regarded as pre-atomic rather than atomic. Now if there is any connection between a people's lifestyle and their religion, then it could well transpire that there is some truth in what you say about Jews being more disposed to the pursuit of wealth in consequence of their paganistic cast - not all of them, of course, but still quite a fair percentage, and irrespective of whether or not they still cling to religious devotion.
KEITH: But what makes them like that? I mean, why should they continue to cling to a pre-atomic faith when other peoples have long abandoned such a thing in favour of an atomic faith, like Christianity? Why must Jews be so materialistic?
ROBERT: A very difficult question, but one that I am not entirely bereft of ideas about! In fact, I have only recently come to the conclusion that the tradition of clinging to Judaism stems, in large measure, from the Diaspora, from the fact that Jews took their religious roots into the countries to which they were obliged to emigrate and, not possessing a national state of their own, had to cling to such roots if for no other reason than the preservation of a common ground between them.
KEITH: You mean that rather than becoming Christians or Mohammedans or whatever, and thereby severing connections with their principal form of cultural identity, they clung to Judaism even in the face of persecution, in order to retain a cultural identity with Jews everywhere, irrespective of to which country they had migrated.
ROBERT: Yes, I broadly subscribe to that contention. For although I am aware that Jews were often prohibited from becoming Christians or Mohammedans in the various countries to which they migrated, the fact that they had been forced into exile by the Romans must have produced an inhibiting effect on the degree to which they were prepared to assimilate themselves to, or be assimilated by, the country of their hosts, with a consequence that, ever desirous of a future return to Zion, they determined to cling to their religious roots in the interests of ethnic identity. Thus whilst other peoples were acquiring and furthering a semi-transcendental religious perspective, Jews remained, and to a significant extent still remain, fundamentalist at heart, clinging to alpha-oriented criteria in the hope that, one day, they would regain their homeland and become a united, independent people again, with the prospect of a new religious development, once the Messiah had come to lead them forward. Of all the civilized peoples in the world, they are the only ones who, Second Comings notwithstanding, are still awaiting a Messiah, having rejected Christ and other such atomic messiahs in loyalty to their people, traditions, and apocalyptic hopes, not to mention historical antipathy to the Romans, who of course became Christians.
KEITH: And yet we live in a century when, after nearly two millennia, the Jews once again have a homeland, which is the State of Israel, and are enabled to return to it if they so desire, that is to say, if they have remained loyal to their people and want to fulfil Biblical prophecy by returning home and awaiting messianic redemption.
ROBERT: That is
so. But, of course, not all of them have remained loyal to
their people after all this time. Some
have become Christians and thus abandoned the religious hopes of their
ancestors; some, while remaining Judaic, have become more closely integrated
into the country of their adoption, or, more usually these days, birth; some,
preferring to abandon all religious traditions, whether Judaic or Christian,
have adopted atheistic positions in loyalty to Socialism, and thus become still
more closely integrated into the country of their adoption or birth, be it
Western or Eastern; and some, of course, are of mixed descent and thus hardly
Semitic at all by any racial reckoning.
There exists a whole range of Jews who aren't particularly interested in
Zionism and a possible future return to
KEITH: Yet many Jews, whether in Israel or the Diaspora, whether Zionist or Internationalist, European or American, are still basically materialistic, given to the pursuit of wealth as a kind of virtue in itself, and consequently despised, not least of all for their unwillingness to substitute Christian criteria for Judaic criteria.
ROBERT: That may be so, but while they live in atomic civilizations, as in the Christian West, they cannot be persecuted outright, as by the Nazis both before and during the Second World War, since Christian nations are still partly pagan, or alpha-stemming, and therefore disposed to tolerate, if not openly admire, Jews in their midst, irrespective of how un-Christian or pre-atomic some of them may happen to be. Only nations tending away from atomic civilization in a barbarous political guise would be inclined to persecute Jews for being pre-atomic in cultural allegiance. For such nations tend, whether or not they're aware of the fact, towards the transcendent, and must find fault with what they take to be pagan or, in the Jewish case, quasi-pagan alpha-oriented 'laggards'.
KEITH: But surely the Nazi persecution of Jews, to which you are doubtless alluding, was conducted on a racist basis, without regard to moral or religious criteria?
ROBERT: To a large extent it was, even given the fact that one can't wholly separate religious from ethnic considerations, bearing in mind that race and culture are deeply interwoven. Yet while that may have been the case on the surface, as it were, of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, I incline to doubt whether there wasn't a deeper motive underlying it which many Nazis may not have been consciously aware of themselves, but which they were fated, as tools of malign history, to enact - a motive, I mean, connected with the moral implications of leaving a predominantly pre-atomic people at large in a world tending, from a barbarous base, towards post-atomic criteria. Admittedly, it is easy for civilized Westerners to see nothing more than a racist dimension to Nazi anti-Semitism, since this was the apparent dimension, the one most superficially recognizable. But history often makes use of superficial means to attain to profounder ends, and uses, in the process, unsuspecting accomplices in the pursuit of its ultimate goals! Wasn't Nazism supposed to be a quasi-religious ideology, opposed to 'Bolshevik materialism'? And might it not be that such an ideology was fated to pursue policies which Marxists wouldn't have understood, since subject to a different ideological prerogatives, but which history nevertheless required, if only on a short-term basis?
KEITH: Your speculation induces one to suppose that, despite its inevitable failure, Nazism may have been of some service to history whilst it lasted, and primarily as regards the liquidation of approximately six million covertly or overtly cultural adherents of a pre-atomic religion who would not have been dealt with in such fashion by Marxists!
ROBERT: Ah, but the
point is: Who were those six million Jews? Were they the cream of their race, those
who had fulfilled Biblical prophecy by returning to
KEITH: Yet even though millions of Jews succumbed to Nazi persecution and were exterminated in a variety of hideous contexts, one could nevertheless argue that many Jews who would not otherwise have returned to Palestine did in fact do so in consequence of Nazi pressures, and that the Nazis accordingly assisted, if indirectly and in the crudest possible terms, in the fulfilment of Biblical prophecy ... by inducing the more sensible or courageous or fortunate or fit Jews to escape to freedom.
ROBERT: Indeed, and
many Jews would doubtless have required such a radical incentive for leaving
KEITH: You mean the
ROBERT: Yes, though I
wouldn't go so far as to say that they should set such an example to the whole
world. For, speaking as an Irishman, I
would like to see
KEITH: So while you don't have a particularly high moral regard for Jews ... conceived, in a way, as exiled tribalists, you are prepared to concede Israelis the possibility of spiritual redemption, even though, in the present circumstances, many of them cling to Judaism for want of anything better.
ROBERT: Yes, I would
rather Israel became a bulwark of transcendental progress in the Middle East,
and thereby fully justified its presence there, instead of simply existing in
an open-society context, as at present.
After all, the adoption of Transcendentalism by
KEITH: Yet, presumably
diaspora Jews would be more subject to harassment than Jews or, rather,
ROBERT: That always remains a possibility. Though if such Jews aren't specifically intended, by historical necessity, to be in the Diaspora to further Transcendentalism among European and other peoples when the opportunity of doing so arises, then most of them would probably be better off going to Israel and working for Israeli freedom, or the right of Israel to exist. For it seems to me that the more Jews there are in Israel, and the less Jews in the Diaspora, the better it will be for Israel, which still hasn't entirely convinced the Arab world of its entitlement to exist, and could therefore do with all the able-bodied help it can get.
KEITH: So you are
convinced that the State of
ROBERT: Provided the
conditions to which I have alluded are eventually met and Israel thereupon
takes a lead in affirming Transcendentalism, as taught by the New Messiah, the
'Anti-Moses' of universal civilization.
Unfortunately, like Moses in the desert before him, this New Messiah,
who in Christian parlance loosely corresponds to a Second Coming, won't
personally enter the 'promised land' ... of the transcendental civilization
himself, because its global realization is only likely to come to pass in the
future, quite some time, in all probability, after his death. But he must nevertheless point the way
forward for his subsequent followers, of whichever race, to tend towards and
eventually enter this spiritual 'promised land' themselves, to be set firmly on
course for the post-Human Millennium and what lies beyond that epoch ... in the
heaven of literal transcendence. If some
peoples are destined to start along the road to that ultimate civilization
ahead of others, well and good! There
will continue to be a distinction between 'the quick' and 'the slow' for some
time yet, and he sees no reason why Israelis, in conjunction with peoples like
the Irish and Iranians, shouldn't be among the former. After all, Jews have been dragging their
feet, metaphorically speaking, for a sufficient period of time now to suggest
that a radical leap to higher things is timely!
The Diaspora may have held their religious aspirations in check, but the
FEELING AND AWARENESS
EDWIN: Since you are a self-proclaimed philosopher, what is the distinction between awareness and will, as applying to the spirit?
TONY: The distinction is between the negative and positive approach to and/or application of spirit. When we use spirit actively it becomes will. When, on the other hand, we use it passively, which I interpret in a positive light, it becomes awareness.
EDWIN: But isn't will awareness?
TONY: Yes. But it is awareness directed towards practical ends and does not result in the direct cultivation of spirit. Awareness directed towards no other end than greater awareness makes for Truth.
EDWIN: Then what is spirit?
TONY: The awareness aspect of the most positive use of electrons, as when they are in a majority over protons in any atomic integrity.
EDWIN: And when or where do they exist in such a majority?
TONY: In the new brain. Now the new brain is of course a physiological entity, but, like all such entities, it has a psychic aspect, which we call the superconscious. This is synonymous with spirit or, rather, the superconscious is that part of the psyche in which spirit exists, just as the subconscious is that part of it in which the existence of soul is to be found.
EDWIN: What is soul?
TONY: The psychic aspect of proton-dominated regions of the body, which manifests in emotions.
EDWIN: As all emotions?
TONY: Yes, good and bad, or positive and negative. The strong as well as the weak, the lasting as well as the transient. Soul pertains to the flesh and thus stems from the Diabolic Alpha, which is to say, from the cosmic or natural roots of life. Spirit, though lodged in a material entity, viz. the new brain, can be encouraged to reflect an aspiration towards the Divine Omega, which is to say, pure spirit as totally free electrons.
EDWIN: Thus our spirit and our soul are alike impure?
TONY: Yes, they are dependent on and connected with matter, which, as we both know, is atomic. Pure soul, however, is subatomic and manifests in the proton-proton reactions of flame. Pure spirit, by contrast, will be supra-atomic, as manifesting in the electron-electron attractions of transcendence.
EDWIN: You say soul is feeling, but would the sun, as a cosmic manifestation of pure soul, be capable of feeling?
TONY: Not in the conscious sense! The sun or, for that matter, any subatomic absolute would be unconscious of itself as feeling. So, incidentally, would mineral formations, in which protons greatly preponderate. Consciousness of feeling only arises at that point in evolutionary development when atomic formations are less radically proton-dominated than with minerals - in other words, with plant life which, although still proton-dominated, is capable of feeling pleasure or pain by dint of a higher electron content than is to be found in stone. But so much does the proton content preponderate over the electron content of this particular mode of life ... that feeling is only registered subconsciously, never breaks into actual conscious recognition, as with animals and men.
EDWIN: Thus there is a difference between being unconscious of feeling because either absolutely or near absolutely proton-constituted, and being subconsciously conscious of it, as when the electron content increases slightly?
TONY: Yes, a distinction, primarily, between the inorganic and the organic - the former being beneath even subconscious receptivity, the latter on or above it.
EDWIN: If, unlike a stone, a tree is capable of feeling pain or pleasure subconsciously, would a dead tree or a log also be capable of doing so?
TONY: Of course not! To be conscious of feeling, on whatever level, one must be alive, and this applies no less to a tree or plant than to an animal or a human being. A dead tree would be closer to the inorganic than to the organic - indeed, it would literally become inorganic, as when wood turns into coal, and accordingly be beneath the subconscious recognition of emotions. A log would feel no pain from an axe-blow, but a live tree certainly would, if subconsciously. We, too, feel pleasure and pain subconsciously ... in sleep, which is the nearest we can get to understanding what a tree would feel. Plants are a life form that sleeps all the time, though if they dream they would have no consciousness of the fact, because there are too few electrons in their atomic constitution to enable a separate or viewing mind to emerge.
EDWIN: Would you describe positive emotions as good and negative ones as evil?
TONY: I am no Platonist, but I will concede to positive emotions the status of a relative good, that is to say, good in relation to negative emotions without, however, being good in any absolute or literal sense.
EDWIN: So still basically evil?
TONY: Yes, because dependent on and clinging to the flesh. Whatever appertains to soul, whether negatively (as pain) or positively (as pleasure), is inherently evil because temporal. Pleasure may result from the electron content of flesh responding to positive stimuli, but the fact that it has to do with the electron aspect of the flesh doesn't make it good in any absolute sense. It is certainly preferable to pain, and we recognize as much. But it remains sensual, quite distinct from any absolute good (of awareness) in the spirit. Indeed, the spirit itself falls short of Absolute Goodness by dint of the fact that it is impure, or dependent on the new brain for physiological support. We aspire, if virtuous, towards Absolute Good from the relative goodness of spiritual awareness. But, by comparison with positive emotions, even the lesser degree of awareness to which I have just alluded, which appertains to the superconscious, is closer to an absolute good, and we customarily regard it as such.
EDWIN: Clearly, you are no aesthete! For, if I understand you correctly, the contemplation of beauty would, to your mind, be but a means to effecting the relative, or lesser, evil of positive emotions.
TONY: Yes, and therefore not a means to transcending soul, such as any genuine aspiration towards the Divine must be all about. Beauty in art is only practicable or acceptable for a given period of evolutionary time - in other words, until such time as men turn away from emotions towards the cultivation of awareness through one or another degree of transcendentalism. Art then becomes a matter of Truth, a mode of intimating of Absolute Truth in the interests of increased awareness. We don't want positive sensations from art in a developing transcendental age but, au contraire, something that encourages us to transcend emotions through passive contemplation, something, in short, that negates or stills emotions in deference to the spirit.
EDWIN: Yet not all twentieth-century art does so. After all, there is a fair amount of ugly or anti-beauty art around, while some of it still appeals to our aesthetic sense.
TONY: That's true, and as far as the latter kind of art is concerned I have nothing to say, preferring not to lose my cool! But ugly art, as you call it, is certainly an important aspect of modern art, reflecting the fact that contemporary man is at a further remove from the Beautiful, regarded as an abstract virtue, than were the ancients or, for that matter, his nineteenth-century predecessors, and is more disposed, in consequence, either to interpret beauty in a relatively ugly way or to consciously turn against it in a determined attempt to undermine and slander it. I suspect that most petty-bourgeois artists who create a relatively ugly art are really interpreting the Beautiful in their own rather modernist way, and so extending the aesthetic tradition into increasingly rarefied regions of Being which, in some people's minds, may seem inseparable from ugliness. I don't think we need criticize such artists for having a different concept of beauty than the ancients or their bourgeois and/or aristocratic predecessors. Yet, regardless of their respective intentions, the art they are producing will be on a lower level, in my opinion, than that which is being produced in the realm of transcendentalism, or an art exclusively concerned with Truth and, as a corollary of this, the cultivation of greater degrees of awareness in the public at large.
EDWIN: So a distinction exists between 'emotional art', irrespective of the quality or type of emotions it encourages, and 'awareness art', which, by contrast, is the truly modern art.
TONY: 'Feeling art' is never absolute, nor, for that matter, is most 'awareness art' completely detached from feeling-engendering qualities, as we discover when we respond to, say, a Neo-Plastic work as though it were intended to reflect a higher concept of the Beautiful. But to the extent that a distinction of sorts does in fact exist between them, then yes - aesthetic art pertains, even when only tenuously beautiful, to the tradition, whereas 'awareness art' pertains to what is truly modern, as signifying a post-atomic bias for electron freedom. One could speak of materialistic art on the one hand and of idealistic art on the other - a distinction extending across the entire spectrum of petty-bourgeois creativity and even into the, by comparison, nominally proletarian realms of light art and holography. From a proton/bound-electron distinction in atomic art, we progress towards a quasi-electron/free-electron distinction on the post-atomic levels of much twentieth-century art. From works in the former contexts that directly appeal to the emotions and indirectly to awareness ... towards works in the latter contexts that indirectly appeal to the emotions and directly to awareness.
EDWIN: You are alluding, I presume, to works, in the former contexts, of concrete beauty and concrete truth respectively, but to works, in the latter contexts, of abstract beauty and abstract truth respectively.
TONY: To be sure, and to works, in the latter contexts, of abstract beauty that may well appear ugly and give rise, in consequence, to less than positive emotions! Perhaps they are a better incentive than more concrete works to our turning away from emotions and embracing awareness instead? I, at any rate, have always found so, which is why I prefer them to more traditionally aesthetic works, despite the difference in quality of the emotions engendered. Even a negative, indirect incentive to awareness is preferable to no incentive at all!
EDWIN: Ah, I'm almost afraid that I shall have to agree with you, incorrigible aesthete that I am!
CARMEL: You give one the impression, Graham, that you don't much care for women, that women somehow annoy you.
GRAHAM: Well, to be perfectly honest with you, I have long recognized in women a vicious streak and predisposition to sensual indulgence that, as a spiritual man, I tend to despise. I don't greatly admire beauty these days, and find the attention or, rather, importance which women ascribe to appearances somewhat contemptible. For instance, they are more disposed than men to taking umbrage at some defect in one's clothes or footwear when one passes them on the street. I agree with Schopenhauer that they value appearances too highly, partly, I suspect, because their understanding of spiritual values is so little developed in comparison with the more sophisticated men. You, I concede, are an exception to the general rule. For not many women are as liberated, liberated, above all, from themselves!
CARMEL: What it really comes down to, with you, is that the only women you really like or admire are the liberated ones, the feminists, whom you have at various times called traitors to their sex.
GRAHAM: Yes, I agree! I prefer women who, in their capacity as quasi-Supermen, are working against women ... to those who are all for upholding traditional values and behaving - dare I say it? - all too poignantly like women! My impression is that the sooner the sexual dichotomy in life is overcome, the better life on this planet will be. For such a dichotomy is by no means an ideal thing, contrary to bourgeois prejudices and superficial appearances to the contrary! No more ideal, in fact, than the so-called balance between freedom and social justice that certain ideologues are fond of citing to justify the opposition between Tory capitalism and Liberal socialism. Such deluded souls imagine that this opposition signifies the best of all political worlds.
GRAHAM: Admittedly. But not for ever, contrary to what they would have us believe! And the same of course applies to the opposition or, rather, dichotomy between the sexes, which, frankly, is a wretched thing and source of centuries-old misery, not the least aspect of which may involve unrequited love! No, I do not admire women. I look forward to the day when they will be overcome and only quasi-Supermen exist, in harmonious conjunction with Supermen-proper in a context of post-atomic sexuality. Such a day isn't all that far off; for even in the bourgeois/proletarian West there exists a growing tendency towards post-atomic criteria in sexual, not to mention, social matters. You would object to being discriminated against as a woman, and, willy-nilly, for the very sound reason that, to all intents and purposes, you are now a quasi-Superman.
CARMEL: Yet not, on that account, the complete equal of a genuine Superman, I presume?
GRAHAM: Objectively considered, no! Though it would of course depend on the Superman in question and the context to which one was referring. It is possible for me to consider a highly intelligent woman like yourself superior to any number of comparatively stupid men. That is a relative distinction, I'll admit, but not one I find obnoxious.
GRAHAM: No. But, then, absolute distinctions between men and women, no matter how anachronistic these days, cannot permit of any equality, which is one of the reasons why I prefer to ignore them. It suffices me that you are a lesser equal rather than a different and, hence, quite unequal creature. For long centuries women were regarded as inferior to men, not as social equals. Yet the marital tradition presupposes the enslavement of a bound-electron equivalent, viz. a husband, to a proton equivalent, viz. a wife, who sustains an atomic integrity in which she figures as the husband's so-called 'better half'.
CARMEL: In theory, yes. Though in practice it is usually the husband who dictates matters - at any rate, since the days when marriage became patriarchal in character. You, however, prefer to regard me as a 'lesser whole', since there is no marital bond between us.
GRAHAM: Indeed! And that is the way of things on the post-atomic level. Our relationship is in effect quasi-homosexual, since a liberated woman and a married woman are, to all intents and purposes, two quite different creatures - the difference being between a quasi-electron equivalent and a proton equivalent. Well, as you know, I don't mind the former, but I despise the latter! I shall never allow myself to get maritally involved with a woman and thereby run the risk of becoming her bread-winning slave in an atomic relationship. I intend to remain free, and to share my freedom with a lesser equal - namely you.
GRAHAM: And so it will become again, if ever you get any ideas of marriage into your devious head!
CARMEL: As a liberated female, I could hardly do that! Marriage and children are equally objectionable to me.
GRAHAM: Well, they can't be so for everyone, least of all where children are concerned, else the human race would quickly die out. Children aren't necessarily incompatible with free sexual relationships, though they may tie the woman down a bit. Sooner or later some artificial and communal way of producing and raising children will have to be introduced, in order to rid liberated females of the responsibility. There is no eternal justification for producing and raising children on a family basis. Neither, for that matter, is there any eternal justification for people remaining together throughout their lives. If we are truly liberated, we should be able to change partners fairly frequently, since there will be no strong emotional ties binding us together, like prisoners of each other's souls. Some men are so liberated that they don't even bother to form temporary relationships with women in the flesh, but rely on artificial or pornographic stimuli alone. As you know, I was once similarly disposed and thus, in a sense, freer than now.
GRAHAM: Perversion is a relative term, a value-judgement reflecting an individual's point of view as he stands in relation to nature. What less-evolved people regard as perverse, someone like me sees as a more civilized type of sexual behaviour, a mode of sexual sublimation in which sex is elevated from the body to the mind, from the concrete realm of the flesh to the abstract realm of voyeuristic contemplation, as in various kinds of pornography. James Joyce once said that madness, or what is sometimes taken for such by less-evolved people, can in fact turn out to be a higher form of sanity. Certainly there are contexts in which this is true, as when a man is given to sexual sublimation because, in response to a combination of factors, environmental as well as personal, he becomes too spiritual to be content with merely natural or palpable modes of sex. Perhaps, in certain cases, schizophrenia is a higher form of sanity, as when the intelligence draws away from the senses in anticipation of and response to an evolutionary drive tending towards the complete severance of intellect from sensuality at some future point in time, namely the Superbeing Millennium, when the new-brain collectivizations of the truly classless, stateless, free society of Superbeings ... will be hypermeditating towards transcendence and, hence, the attainment of pure spirit to the heavenly Beyond in the most absolute context conceivable? The split between sensuality, i.e. emotions, and intelligence, i.e. awareness, which we witnessed in the twentieth century ... seems to me but a crude foreshadowing, a rudimentary intimation, of that ultimate split between the old brain and the new brain which evolutionary progress will require on the threshold of the Superbeing Millennium - the second stage of post-human development.
GRAHAM: Precisely! But radical and long-sighted as that perspective may be, it should at least suffice, in the short term, to underline or expose the crass short-sightedness and conservatism of people who now imagine that pornographic indulgence is a kind of sexual aberration not to be countenanced by right-living individuals! To my mind, however, the use of pornography reflects this emerging cleavage between intellect and sensuality by transferring sexual stimuli from the senses to the intellect, and thereby endorsing the sovereignty, from an evolutionary viewpoint, of the spirit over the flesh. It is clearly a manifestation of evolutionary progress in terms of sex.
CARMEL: Which is why, I take it, that you cling to pornographic erotica in spite of occasional - dare I say it? - relapses into concrete sexuality, compliments of myself.
GRAHAM: To be sure. Though you will have to admit that such 'relapses', as you tactfully put it, aren't always conventional but reflect a more liberated approach to sex which, as I see the problem, in some measure redeems them. Of course, a person who based his morality solely on naturalistic criteria, as all too many persons still do, would accuse me of perversion. But, really, how can human beings evolve towards spiritual transcendence without having perverted or, more correctly, subverted their natural instincts along the way? Is not the overcoming of nature an integral part of our evolution towards the supernatural - the negative and indirect side, as it were, of our evolutionary strivings? You smile, but you know I am right, and that is why, in spite of occasional misgivings, you are fundamentally a liberated female, a quasi-Superman rather than a slave to nature, like a woman.
GRAHAM: Such compliments as you pay me are but the reverse side of the compliments I pay you when circumstances compel me to verify your claim to the status of a liberated female, as they do from time to time.
FROM GRAVITY TO CURVED SPACE
BRIAN: If I understand you correctly, the Universe began with explosions of gas that gave rise to the proton-proton reactions of stars and only formed itself into galaxies when some of those stars, evidently smaller and weaker than others, cooled to the point of becoming partly material, and thus were attracted by the larger subatomic stars on account of their atomic constitution.
SHANE: Precisely! As soon as the smaller stars began to harden into planets, the everywhichway divergence of stars that had hitherto prevailed in the Universe was halted, because the larger stars now found themselves competing for planets in a mutual attraction that kept them pinned, as it were, to circumscribed cosmic bounds.
BRIAN: So stars and planets weren't born simultaneously.
SHANE: No, of course not! A planet presupposes a certain atomic integrity and cannot arrive at such an integrity without having first existed on the purely or predominantly subatomic level of a star. The subatomic leads to the atomic, so planets would have evolved somewhat later than stars, originally being small stars that were destined to cool, at least in part, into matter.
BRIAN: I agree when you say 'at least in part'. For the earth is itself a star in the process of cooling, one that possesses a subatomic core which is encased within an atomic crust. It is divided, so to speak, between the subatomic and the atomic.
SHANE: One could alternatively describe it as being somewhere in-between a star and a moon, since a moon is a dead star, or a star which has completely cooled. That, I think, would constitute the definitive definition of a planet.
BRIAN: Yet why is it that planets revolve around the sun? What is it about these cooling stars that brought the everywhichway divergence of stars in general to a halt, and thus created the basis of a galactic integrity?
SHANE: Precisely the fact that they were and remain partly atomic, and so became attracted to the nearest stars. For protons attract electrons, and since there were plenty of electrons in the atomic integrity of the earth's crust it followed that, in conjunction with other planets, the earth would be attracted to the nearest 'anarchic' star. What prevented the earth from being sucked-in to the sun, as we may now call the star in question, was the fact that it wasn't entirely atomic but contained a large subatomic core which reacted against the sun's attractive force, and thereby established a tension the nature of which was to contribute towards its revolution around the sun. For whilst one part of the planet was attracted to the sun, the other part reacted against it, while simultaneously attracting the earth's atomic crust. This tension between attraction and repellence is precisely what caused our planet, and by implication other nearby planets, to revolve around the sun, and it keeps the earth intact. For it is quite probable that the subatomic core would exert a stronger attractive influence on the crust, were it not balanced-out by the competing attraction of the sun.
BRIAN: An equilibrium of mutually attractive and repellent tensions! But does this also explain the revolution of the moon around the earth?
SHANE: Indeed it does, since the atomic relativity of the moon is attracted by the subatomic absolutism of the earth's core while simultaneously being repelled by the atomic relativity of its crust - the protons in each of these relativities chiefly being responsible for the repelling. Yet the moon is also attracted by the subatomic absolutism of the sun and revolves around the earth more in consequence of the competition between core and sun than in response to any repellent influence solely stemming from the earth's crust.
BRIAN: In other words, it is torn between two mutually exclusive attractions.
SHANE: Just as the earth's crust is torn between the mutually exclusive attractions of its own core and the sun, and the planet is thereby kept spinning on its axis around the sun, which is unable to pull the crust into itself from without ... for the simple reason that the earth's core is exerting a similar attraction on it from within.
BRIAN: And yet, what about the sun - what is there that keeps it revolving around the central star of the Galaxy?
SHANE: Certainly not the fact that the central star attracts the sun to itself, but, rather, because, being large and powerful, it attracts the numerous planets which revolve around smaller stars and would probably succeed in sucking them into itself, were it not for the fact that these smaller stars, one to each solar system, exert an attractive influence of their own on the planets as well.
BRIAN: So just as a moon is kept in revolution around a planet because of the competing attractions of core and sun, and a planet is likewise kept in revolution around a sun, so a peripheral star is kept in rotation around the central star of the Galaxy because of their mutually exclusive interest in planets and moons.
SHANE: That must be approximately correct. And it should mean that part of the reason why a planet revolves around a sun is that the more distant central star of the Galaxy also exerts an attractive influence on it, an influence which is counterweighted, however, by the small star at the heart of any given solar system, as well, of course, as by its own subatomic core.
BRIAN: So the central star in each galaxy and the small peripheral stars are fundamentally the same - at least in constitution, if not in size and strength.
SHANE: Yes, for anything that is subatomic can only be such on approximately identical terms, i.e. as implying some degree of proton-proton reaction. The central star, from which it appears the smaller ones emerged, would be no less subatomic than the others. Only with planets does evolution attain to an atomic integrity.
BRIAN: And it is this integrity, this matter, that a sun attracts to itself.
SHANE: Yes, certainly not the electrons by themselves! For electrons cannot be divorced from matter at such an early stage of evolution as planetary formations. Rock does not burn, because the atomic integrity of such matter is too densely proton-packed. It was once molten lava that cooled and hardened into rock, from which state it cannot return to fire again, having already burnt itself out. But it can be attracted, in a kind of magnetic reciprocity, by the subatomic absolute, which exerts a force on its mass.
BRIAN: Here you are speaking of gravity.
SHANE: True, and the gravitational force exerted by the subatomic absolute acts as though that absolute would like to reclaim the mass, derived from its partial cooling, back into itself out of a wilful desire to prevent further evolution.
BRIAN: But why, if the sun attracts this mass to itself, does a stone return to earth when thrown into the air instead of continuing in the sun's direction, from which an attractive force is apparently all the time emanating?
SHANE: Precisely because the earth's molten core also exerts an attractive force on the stone which causes it to return to the surface, this force being closer to the stone than the sun and therefore exerting more authority over it. And for that reason the earth's crust, composed of rocks and mineral formations, is prevented from being sucked-in to the sun; though, because an attractive force still emanates from it, the planet, caught in a tug-of-war between core and sun, not to mention sun and central star, is obliged to revolve around it.
BRIAN: Granted that the sun acts as a kind of magnet on the earth's crust, what happens as regards, say, wood and vegetables?
SHANE: They are also attracted by the sun, if in a heliotropic rather than a magnetic way, since no magnet has ever been made out of wood or vegetable life! The sun doesn't attract plants to the degree it attracts rock or crystal formations, though some attraction does in fact occur, else they would be unable to grow. Indeed, were there not a simultaneous attraction from the earth's core, they wouldn't grow anyway, since unable to remain rooted. For a plant's growth isn't just upwards into air; it is also downwards into soil, and we may believe that the roots are encouraged to grow by the earth's core and the stalk, in contrast, by the sun, so that a plant grows simultaneously downwards and upwards, is the result of a tension of competing gravitational forces which, at some point in any particular plant's growth, are obliged to call it quits, so to speak, and leave the plant as testimony to a gravitational compromise between the competing attractions. Even a sunflower, which is taller than other flowers and thereby suggests a bias towards the sun, has roots that go down deeply into the soil and thus testify to the simultaneous competing influence of the earth's core. Even animals and men are subject to this tension of gravitational forces between the two main subatomic protagonists in the Solar System.
BRIAN: But they don't possess roots that go down into the soil.
SHANE: Not literally! But, then, legs are root equivalents in autonomous life forms and lead, particularly in the case of Homo sapiens, to an upright, stalk-like entity that we call the torso, which in turn leads to what may be regarded as a blossom equivalent - namely the head. Considered biologically, man is a kind of walking plant, and, believe me, he wouldn't walk long on this planet's surface were he not subject, like a plant, to the attractive force of the earth's subatomic core! He would be more like a spaceman, gliding about in space, and always at the risk, if he ventured too far from the earth's gravitational field, of being sucked-in to the sun.
BRIAN: So our stability is to some extent determined by the competing gravitational forces of sun and core.
SHANE: Yes. And that applies to every life form on this planet, from a tiny plant to a huge elephant. It also determines, in some measure, our height and weight.
BRIAN: You mean a person's height is determined, in part, by the competing attractive forces simultaneously at work on him from opposite directions?
SHANE: Only from a species point of view, since individual variations are primarily determined by hereditary factors. But as weight is generally proportionate to height, so height is dependent on the particular tension of competing subatomic forces that simultaneously exert themselves on the world. Were there less attraction from below, in the earth's core, we would probably be a good deal taller, as a species, than we generally are. In the case of pigmies, however, it will be found, I think, that they are shorter in height than the average of humanity because more subject to the attractive force of the earth's core than to that of the sun, and largely on account of the fact that they live in jungle regions which, while not totally shutting out the latter's attractive force, somewhat weaken it by dint of the density of plant life to be found there. So they grow less tall than those of us accustomed to regular exposure to the sun.
BRIAN: A theory which should imply that the tallest men, by contrast, will live in regions of the world most exposed to the sun, like the Middle East.
SHANE: Indeed, and I think you will find that Arabs are taller, on average, than those of us who live in temperate regions.
BRIAN: Getting back to the attractive force which the subatomic absolute exerts on matter, we must distinguish, I take it, between this matter and its electron content. In other words, the attraction is primarily on matter rather than on the electrons inside it.
SHANE: Absolutely! And the more dense the matter, the more tightly proton-packed it is, the stronger is the attraction of the subatomic upon it, as in the case of rocks and mineral formations generally.
BRIAN: So there could be no question of free electrons, of transcendent spirit, being attracted by, say, the sun, in the event of transcendence occurring on earth.
SHANE: None whatsoever, because the distinction between the subatomic and the supra-atomic is absolute, and no attraction can possibly occur between absolutes. It would be absurd to suppose that, in escaping from the atomic constraint of new-brain matter at the culmination of millennial evolution, transcendent spirit would straightaway be attracted by the sun and eventually merge into it. The sun would be the last thing, metaphorically speaking, that pure spirit would be attracted by, since its sole predilection would be to converge towards other transcendences, other globes of pure spirit, and expand into larger wholes in consequence, a process that, repeated possibly millions of times throughout the course of supra-atomic evolution, would eventually culminate in a definitive globe of pure spirit - namely, the Omega Point, as defined by Teilhard de Chardin in terms of the spiritual culmination of evolution. Now just suppose, for the sake of argument, that all transcendences, from whichever part of the Universe, were attracted to the nearest stars instead of to one another - what do you suppose would happen?
BRIAN: Provided enough large transcendences entered a star, the proton-proton reactions of the subatomic would be confronted by electron-electron attractions of the supra-atomic, which could lead to its being elevated above pure soul into matter, becoming, in the process, akin to a planet with some degree of atomic integrity.
SHANE: In theory. But, in practice, I rather doubt it! For stars only became planets through cooling, and matter was thus created, on its most rudimentary level, from a subatomic base, not through a sudden fusion of protons with free electrons entering the subatomic from without! No, pure spirit would never be attracted by the stars, not even slightly. Rather, it would fulfil its own destiny in loyalty to the divine principles of a convergence and expansion of separate transcendences towards total unity.
BRIAN: Then matter is only attracted by the subatomic so long as it is naturalistic and, as it were, rooted in the Diabolic Alpha.
SHANE: Yes, as soon as spirit begins to get the upper hand over soul, as it will do in man at a relatively advanced stage of his evolution, then life aspires towards the Divine Omega, towards transcendence, even if only relatively so at first, as in Christianity, rather than with absolute intent. Atomic, or dualistic, man, who is part mundane and part transcendental, physically stemming from the Diabolic Alpha but psychically aspiring towards the Divine Omega, is still to a certain extent attracted by the subatomic. But transcendental man, while possessing a natural body, will exclusively turn towards the Divine Omega, that is to say, towards creating the Supernatural, and thus cease to affirm a link with the Creator. He will be set on course for the post-Human Millennium and, hence, the practical implementation of an exclusively omega-oriented aspiration through the supersession of man by largely artificial, or post-human life forms, the second and last of which, namely the Superbeings, will have no connection with the Diabolic Alpha whatsoever!
BRIAN: Thus evolution proceeds from pure soul to matter, and from matter to pure spirit, not back, as some people seem to imagine, into pure soul.
SHANE: Correct! There would be no logic or sense to life if evolution were destined to return to the subatomic after it had attained to the atomic, instead of progressing to the supra-atomic. There can be no greater distinction than that between Hell and Heaven! We are set on course for Heaven, if from a kind of purgatorial compromise in the atomic.
BRIAN: And this despite the diabolical workings of the physical cosmos, in which the law of gravity holds sway and planets are accordingly obliged to rotate around suns.
SHANE: To be sure! A literal knowledge of how the physical cosmos works is the prerogative of people like us, who are beyond the confines of Western civilization, with its petty-bourgeois transcendentalism demanding a subjective, quasi-mystical interpretation of how it works, as exemplified by the Einsteinian concept of curved space. Such a civilization must kow-tow to transcendental sensibilities, and thus uphold a quasi-mystical interpretation at the expense of force and mass. It will claim that Newton was wrong and Einstein right.
BRIAN: But won't proletarian civilization uphold a similar if not more radical quasi-mystical interpretation of how the Cosmos works, in due course?
SHANE: Oh yes, absolutely! But, in the meantime, proletarian states will prefer the literal, objective 'truth' about the physical universe, since that accords with their materialistic integrity beyond the boundaries of bourgeois/proletarian civilization, which isn't, after all, the ultimate civilization but only a stage on the evolutionary road to something higher - namely, proletarian civilization. Marxist states, as upholders of dialectical materialism, certainly won't venture into the realm of petty-bourgeois transcendentalism, but will remain partial to Newtonian explanations of the Cosmos. I, too, am partial to such explanations, as this dialogue should indicate, but only on a relative basis! For whilst it is useful for a proletarian thinker to get to the bottom of how things really work and why, it is even more useful to know why a quasi-mystical interpretation of such workings should be endorsed, if not now then certainly in the future. Petty-bourgeois transcendentalism may be good but, believe me, proletarian transcendentalism will be a good deal better! That I can assure you! In the meantime, let us exploit our status as 'barbarous' outsiders in order to put our more comprehensive knowledge of the literal workings of the physical cosmos down on record once and for all!
BRIAN: I agree. But don't you think you exaggerate the transcendental integrity of bourgeois/proletarian civilization, which, after all, isn't absolute but decidedly relative? I mean, Einstein may be de rigueur for the scientific avant-garde, but Newton has by no means been outlawed, as he surely would be in an absolute proletarian civilization.
SHANE: You are right, and consequently a literal explanation of how the Cosmos works would still find sympathetic ears in the West, since the pagan root remains intact in a relative civilization, and that allows not only the relatively uncivilized masses, but the more conservative-thinking people to regard the Cosmos from a traditional force/mass point-of-view, if they so desire. Probably a majority of the aristocracy and the grand bourgeoisie would be inclined to uphold a literal rather than a quasi-mystical view of the Cosmos, since they don't live on the same plane, generally speaking, as the petty bourgeoisie, particularly those who constitute the scientific avant-garde. So while curved space may be de rigueur for petty-bourgeois pace setters, force-and-mass cannot be outlawed, since there will be those who, on class or religious grounds, relate more to a literal explanation of how the Cosmos works than to a quasi-mystical one largely conducted, one suspects, in the interests of transcendental complacency. For this reason, anyone who chooses to walk into a book shop and buy the works of Newton is perfectly free to do so. That wouldn't be the case, however, in the next civilization, which, being absolute, could hardly allow people to purchase and read anyone who explained the workings of the stars and planets in objectively diabolical terms! A free-electron civilization would automatically proscribe proton explanations in loyalty to its post-atomic status. Only the curved-space theory of the Cosmos would prevail. Only Einstein-type works would be on sale.
BRIAN: Ah, how absolutely right you are!
FROM THE PERSONAL TO THE UNIVERSAL
MARK: There are those who claim that Absolute Mind, meaning God in any ultimate sense, is immanent as well as transcendent, is both in the world and beyond it. Aldous Huxley upheld this claim, and he derived it from Buddhist and Oriental scriptures. Would you agree with him?
GERALD: No, not on an absolute basis. There is, to be sure, a distinction between relative and absolute, that is to say, between human spirit and pure spirit, or what we each possess, as awareness, in the superconscious mind, and what is claimed to exist beyond the world in complete self-sufficiency, as the most aware mind of ... transcendent spirit.
MARK: In other words, God.
GERALD: No, not necessarily! God, in any definitive sense of literally applying to a supreme level of being, would be the ultimate globe of transcendent spirit such as could only come about at the climax of evolution. Transcendences could conceivably exist in space at present, compliments of more evolved civilizations than anything we have seen on earth, but they would probably be at one or two evolutionary removes from the climax of evolution in total spiritual unity, and therefore oughtn't to be mistaken for God.
MARK: So, conceived as the ultimate globe of pure spirit at the climax to evolution, God doesn't yet exist.
GERALD: No, and won't do so for a considerable period of evolutionary time!
MARK: A contention, apparently, which need not prevent a distinction between spirit and pure spirit from existing, as regarding the immanent and the transcendent.
GERALD: Indeed, there is no reason why planets more advanced than our own shouldn't have already put pure spirit into space. Wherever life had evolved to the level of a Superbeing Millennium, pure spirit would sooner or later emerge. Now that spirit would be Absolute Mind, because transcendent, and shouldn't be confounded with the immanent experience of spirit, which ought really to be defined as relativistic absolute mind, since the immanent absolutism is dependent on and connected with the new brain and can only be somewhat less divine than the transcendent. One should accordingly distinguish between a relative absolutism and an absolute absolutism.
MARK: How is this absolutism relative?
GERALD: Because awareness would be in the brain and connected with the body. The immanent experience is absolute on this basis alone: that we are solely concerned with awareness, as the psychic attribute of superconscious mind, rather than with any compromise between awareness and emotions such as pertains to the conscious mind, particularly in conjunction with thoughts. Consciousness is a mixture of subconscious and superconscious, whereas the immanent experience of absolute mind demands that we transcend the subconscious and so exist solely for the superconscious, absorbed in painless awareness. But such awareness is relative, because dependent on the new brain. It can only fall short in quality of the sublime awareness of transcendent spirit, which is the perfected attribute of Absolute Mind. The distinction between the immanent and the transcendent is one of degree, as between the personal and the universal. They can never be the same, contrary to what superficial thinkers tend to imagine!
MARK: And yet we can progress from the one to the other in the course of time?
GERALD: Yes, in the course of evolutionary time, which will presuppose further progress on the human level in terms of a transcendental civilization, the ultimate civilization in the evolution of man, which should lead, in due course, to the more evolved life forms of a post-Human Millennium, when first the entire brain and then just the new brain will be artificially supported and sustained in collectivized contexts, bringing life to its highest possible earthly pitch prior to transcendence - the goal of millennial striving in the supra-atomic Beyond ... of Absolute Mind.
MARK: And yet, even with the attainment of immanent spirit to transcendent spirit, further evolutionary progress will presumably be required, in space, to bring all separate transcendences to ultimate unity in definitive divinity.
GERALD: Yes, such separate transcendences as emerge from individual Superbeings will converge towards those nearest to them in space, and thus gradually expand into larger globes of pure spirit, evolving from what might be termed a 'planetary' level to a 'galactic' level and on, finally, to a 'universal' level, the climax of supra-atomic evolution in the Omega Point, which will be at the farthest possible evolutionary remove from the Alpha Points, as it were, of the central or governing stars throughout the subatomic universe - approximately one to each galaxy.
MARK: Could these Alpha Points, as you call them, possibly correspond, by any chance, to what Buddhists call the Ground of all Being, Christians the Father, Mohammedans Allah, and Judaists Jehovah?
GERALD: Indeed they could; though such terms as traditional religions uphold indicate the singular rather than the plural, because religious evolution stems from a galactic base in a kind of microcosmic isolation from the Universe in toto, the governing star of the galaxy in which we exist being the literal source from which theological symbols like Jehovah, Allah, et cetera, were extrapolated in monotheistic partiality. And this would have been so even if, as was probably the case, men had no idea of the existence of a governing star, being unable to see it, but simply posited some creative force behind nature, including the sun and nearest stars - those visible to the naked eye or through some rudimentary telescope. Of course, the ancients may have spoken of a 'Creator of the Universe', but their 'universe' was a good deal smaller, so to speak, than the one we are becoming familiar with today. They had no idea that it was composed of millions of galaxies, not possessing a knowledge of galaxies. Even up until comparatively recent times men thought the earth was at the centre of the Universe! No, if we are to get anywhere near the mark, albeit in anachronistically theological terms, we should ascribe the creation of the subatomic universe to literally millions of Grounds, Fathers, Allahs, Jehovahs, or what have you, because pluralism is the essence of the alpha. Even the idea of a divine Creator is essentially erroneous or, at the very least, morally suspect when regarded from an omega-oriented point of view, since evolution begins with the subatomic and, as pure soul, that corresponds to a diabolic absolute ... in contrast to the future climax of evolution in the supra-atomic, which, as pure spirit, will correspond to a truly divine absolute. To speak of a divine Ground, like Aldous Huxley, is effectively to indulge in a contradiction in terms. The term 'Ground' suggests a root or base, and could only apply to the diabolic absolute which, as pure soul, has nothing to do with pure spirit.
MARK: Presumably the term 'Clear Light of the Void' would be more suitable to the latter, since effectively corresponding, in Christian parlance, to the Holy Spirit?
GERALD: Indeed, it may well be that the distinction between the Ground and the Clear Light ..., as between the Father and the Holy Spirit, is equivalent to alpha and omega, with some avatar, or anthropomorphic man-god, coming in-between as the mid-point of religious evolution. But such terms as the Clear Light ... and the Holy Spirit, while relevant to their respective faiths, would be quite irrelevant to Transcendentalism, which, as I conceive it, will be the ultimate religion requiring a convergence to omega, as it were, on the level of a fresh terminology, so that, not for the least of reasons, no traditional religion may be regarded as surviving at the expense of another. Transcendentalism is not Buddhism or Hinduism or Shintoism or any other traditional faith taking over from each of the others but ... a completely new, all-embracing religious development which appertains to the world proletariat. It signifies a complete break with the alpha roots of the Universe in the stars and, in addition to regular meditation in specially-designed meditation centres, embraces knowledge of evolutionary perspective ... as applying, in the main, to the Superbeing Millennium and the nature and direction of transcendence. No Transcendentalist would ever make the mistake of confounding alpha with omega, or vice versa, and I very much doubt whether, given the right education, all that many Transcendentalists would consider God both immanent and transcendent when, in any ultimate sense, God doesn't yet exist, being the climax of evolution. Neither would they regard their absolute mind as being identical to the Absolute Mind, failing to distinguish between the relative and the absolute, the mundane and the transcendent. A man engaged in transcendental meditation won't mistake his spirit for pure spirit. He will discover, sooner or later, that subconscious emotions are never entirely eclipsed by relative awareness and that even the superconscious is prone to intrusive emotions and thoughts from time to time! He will know that there is a significant evolutionary difference between his absolute mind and the absolutism of a Spiritual Globe converging towards other such globes in the post-atomic Beyond. But he will know, too, that such a difference is precisely what evolutionary progress on earth is determined to overcome. Above all, he will know that man is but a stage on the way to the post-human.
LIAM: A relative civilization will always have two sides to it, viz. a material and a spiritual, and this no less so on the petty-bourgeois levels of, in the main, twentieth-century art than on the preceding bourgeois stage of relative civilization.
ALAN: You say 'levels', which should be distinguished, I take it, from sides?
LIAM: Yes, by 'levels' I refer to earlier and later phases, either of which will have materialist and spiritual sides which, to further complicate things, constitute a lower and a higher approach to art - materialist art always being lower, in any morally objective scale of values, than its spiritual or, to speak in grammatically parallel terms, spiritualist counterpart.
ALAN: And how would you define those levels?
LIAM: In regard to petty-bourgeois civilization (which is the bourgeois part, as it were, of what, these days, one would call bourgeois/proletarian civilization), either as a stemming from the bourgeoisie on the earlier level or as an aspiration towards the proletariat on the later level. The former will be more representational than abstract, the latter more abstract than representational. Indeed, it may even be entirely abstract.
ALAN: And yet be materialist or spiritualist, depending on the type of art?
LIAM: Yes, on whether, for example, the art in question is concerned with distorting the natural or, in the case of the spiritual approach, transcending it in a kind of painterly supernaturalism.
ALAN: Can you give me an example of each type of art, on whatever level?
LIAM: Most certainly! But first I would like to point out that petty-bourgeois civilization is divisible into what may be termed a genuine and a pseudo camp, that is to say, a camp of legitimately and historically relevant petty-bourgeois nations on the one hand, and a camp of traditionally bourgeois nations on the other hand that, while to some extent changing with the times and embracing an authentic petty-bourgeois element, remain closer to their bourgeois roots, and this in spite of exposure to petty-bourgeois influences from without, i.e. from the more genuinely petty-bourgeois nations.
ALAN: I presume you are
alluding, within the traditional framework of civilized painterly art, to
LIAM: Yes, I am distinguishing between such quintessentially twentieth-century nations as Germany, Italy, Japan, and the USA in regard to the genuinely petty-bourgeois camp, and nations like Britain, France, Belgium, and Holland in regard to what may be called the pseudo-petty-bourgeois camp, which is largely composed of nations that came to world prominence in the seventeenth-nineteenth centuries but declined, like their respective Empires, in the twentieth century.
ALAN: I see. And would there be a kind of materialist/spiritualist division between each of these camps?
LIAM: No, each camp is
itself divisible in that way. For
example, in the traditionally bourgeois camp,
ALAN: Would one be correct in contending that there exists, as by natural right, a friction between the materialistic nations and their, so to speak, spiritualistic counterparts?
LIAM: Indeed, such a friction, occasionally degenerating into open hostilities, has long existed between nations with an ideologically antithetical constitution on the basis of a sort of feminine/masculine distinction which is traceable, it seems to me, to the cosmic tension between stars and planets at the roots of evolution. Hence the traditional rivalry between Great Britain and France in the bourgeois camp, and the more recent rivalry, which came to a head in World War Two, between Japan and the USA in the petty-bourgeois camp, not to mention between Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy - Germany, though to some extent spiritualized by Hitler, fundamentally aligned with the materialist side of things, a fact which had never escaped Italian attention! However, not all friction between materialists and spiritualists leads to war. It is more likely to lead to competition in business or sport or technology or art.
ALAN: You began by mentioning art.
LIAM: Well, it is my firm contention that the materialistic nations tend, as a rule, to produce a materialist art, spiritualistic nations being more given, by contrast, to the production of a spiritualist art. But this is relative, not absolute, since in a relativistic civilization, on whichever class level, both types of art will be produced in any given country. It is just that a nation will be predominantly dedicated to the production of one or other of the two types, according to its ideological integrity, which, so I maintain, is traceable to ethnic roots.
ALAN: So we may expect France and the USA, for example, to be predominantly concerned with producing a spiritualist art, Britain and, say, Germany more given, by contrast, to the production of a materialist art.
LIAM: Yes, but one must distinguish between the pseudo-petty-bourgeois nations and the genuinely petty-bourgeois ones, since, as a rule, the exact type of spiritualist or materialist art that each nation produces depends on which camp it is in, a distinction having arisen, in the course of time, between what we may term mainstream petty-bourgeois art, on whichever level and irrespective of which side, and subsidiary petty-bourgeois art - the former appertaining to the genuinely petty-bourgeois nations and the latter to those nations which retain some allegiance to their bourgeois traditions.
ALAN: Can we take each art one at a time, starting with the mainstream?
LIAM: Of course! And on the spiritualist side, as mainly pertaining to the USA, we may note a progression from Impressionism on the earlier level to Abstract Impressionism or, as it is better known, Post-Painterly Abstraction on the later level; a progression, in other words, from an Impressionism stemming from the natural in semi-representational form to an Impressionism aspiring towards the supernatural from an abstract base - a distinction between, for example, Whistler and Rothko. The essence of Impressionism, on whichever level, is to transcend the natural, to create an impression that, negating optical focus on the earlier level and transcending it on the later one, relates to awareness and thus to the visionary. The earlier Impressionism, stemming from the bourgeois stage of relativistic civilization, will be apparent, as reflecting an external impression; the later Impressionism, aspiring towards a proletarian absolutism, will be essential, as reflecting an internal impression.
ALAN: You mention the USA, and yet most of the earlier kind of Impressionism, the concrete kind, so to speak, was created in spiritualistic France, apparently beneath the orbit of mainstream petty-bourgeois civilization.
LIAM: That is true,
though it was created by petty-bourgeois artists who, like Monet and Pissarro,
existed within the confines of an essentially bourgeois civilization. Hence the opposition among traditional and
naturalist painters which Impressionism initially aroused in
ALAN: An art which presumably had a mainstream materialist counterpart in ...?
LIAM: Expressionism, as
pioneered by the Dutchman Van Gogh, and its offspring Abstract Expressionism,
the progression from the one to the other largely taking place in
ALAN: In what way is Expressionism materialist?
LIAM: By distorting the natural world rather than transcending it on the earlier level, in accordance with subjective expression of the artist's emotions vis-à-vis his external environment, and by taking the same distorting process to a point where it turns in upon itself, so to speak, and expresses distorted emotions independently of external stimuli on the later level. Expressionism is the subconscious expression of the external natural world, Abstract Expressionism the subconscious expression of itself - the former being the converse of Impressionism, which is the impression of the external natural world on the superconscious, the latter being the converse of Abstract Impressionism, which is the superconscious impression of itself. Just as Van Gogh and Monet are largely painting the external environment from different minds - the emotional mind and the awareness mind respectively, the one extrovert and the other introvert, so Pollock and Rothko are delineating, in their separate abstract approaches to the internal environment of the psyche, different minds - the distorted subconscious and the transcendent superconscious respectively. Although they are both late petty-bourgeois artists, the one is romantic, the other classic.
ALAN: Thus Abstract Expressionism is romantic petty-bourgeois art, Abstract Impressionism its classical counterpart.
LIAM: Precisely! Though one shouldn't make the mistake of assuming that romanticism is necessarily materialist and classicism, by contrast, always spiritual - as I hope to demonstrate shortly. To be sure, there is certainly a romantic approach to the spiritual life or art.... However, now that we have discussed mainstream petty-bourgeois art, we can proceed to the subsidiary variety, which will mainly pertain to the traditionally more bourgeois nations like Britain, France, Holland, and Belgium. Taking the materialist side first this time, we will discover Cubism and Vorticism on the earlier level, both of which partly transcend the natural environment, and Neo-Plasticism and Op Art on the later level, both of which completely transcend it. Unlike spiritualist art, however, neither level of this materialist art is concerned with representing the superconscious, since both of them exist on their own terms, at face-value, and may therefore be said to reflect a classical approach to materialism - the 'thing-in-itself' approach of Braque on the earlier, semi-representational level, and of Mondrian on the later, exclusively abstract level. Alternatively, one could cite Wyndham Lewis for Vorticism and Vasarely for Op Art, as reflecting a similar progression from the semi-representational to the non-representational, or abstract. In each case, on whichever level, the technique is rigid, cubist, mechanistic, and strictly classical, sharply contrasting with the romantic distorting/subjective materialism of Expressionism and its abstract successor.
ALAN: A distinction, no doubt, between classical order and romantic disorder, the strictly governed and the anarchic - as between Braque and Nolde on the earlier level, and Mondrian and Pollock on the later one.
LIAM: Precisely! A distinction which is reversed on the spiritual side of this subsidiary petty-bourgeois art, where we find Pre-Raphaelitism and Symbolism on the earlier level, but Metaphysical Painting and Surrealism on the later one, both levels romantic to the extent that they rely heavily on appearance, which is taken from concrete representational symbolism to abstract representational symbolism with the development from the one to the other, particularly from Symbolism to Surrealism, as from Redon to Dali. The use of appearance necessarily limits the transcendental potential of each level, since Symbolism is the result, in many ways unfortunate, of applying a romantic technique to a spiritual art, or what is intended to be so, and such a contradictory use of appearances toward essential ends simply mirrors the limitations of a bourgeois or pseudo-petty-bourgeois approach to this art, just as the contradictory application of a classical technique to a materialist art, rigid and abstract ... such as one finds in Cubism, paradoxically enhances its materialistic integrity. And this is the main reason why such art as has been produced by the pseudo-petty-bourgeois nations like Britain and France is subsidiary to mainstream petty-bourgeois art, since the latter, whether on its material or spiritual sides, employs the best possible technique for the art in question. In the case of (materialistic) Expressionism and Abstract Expressionism - a subjective romantic technique. In the case of (spiritualistic) Impressionism and Abstract Impressionism - an objective classical technique. Thus the approach to materialist art is negative, the approach to spiritualist art positive, appropriately so in each case, since the contraction of materialism and the expansion of spirituality is particularly relevant to a petty-bourgeois age and civilization. Where, however, the traditionally bourgeois nations are concerned, we find a positive, or classical, approach to materialist art and, by contrast, a negative, or romantic, approach to its spiritualist counterpart, approaches which mirror a relativistic duality favouring the materialistic, in accordance with bourgeois criteria. Only with genuine petty-bourgeois art does dualism lean towards the absolute, as technique and subject matter interrelate on a homogenous plane - one necessarily favouring the spiritual.
GAVIN: Christianity, as taught by Christ, was a religion of love, the essence of Christianity being love, and especially the impersonal love of men for one another.
CONOR: While not overlooking the personal love of men for women, or of a man for a particular woman, sanctified by marriage ... in accordance with the relativistic principles of Christian dualism.
GAVIN: So Christianity was centred in the heart, that seat of the emotions.
CONOR: That is correct.
GAVIN: Where, then, would Transcendentalism be centred?
CONOR: In the head or, more specifically, the superconscious part of the psyche, as applying to awareness. Transcendentalism would not be a religion of the soul, but the spirit.
GAVIN: So love would presumably be ruled out?
CONOR: Love would be irrelevant because connected with the emotional part of the soul. Now soul, on whatever level, wouldn't be something for which transcendental man had any great respect.
GAVIN: What other levels does it have?
CONOR: The levels of sensation beneath emotion and of feeling above it, the one appertaining to the flesh and the other to the subconscious mind. Generally speaking, the evolution of relativistic religion has been from the sensational to the feeling via the emotional.
GAVIN: In other words, from pleasure to happiness via love.
CONOR: Yes, as sanctioned by the institutions of Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and neo-Orientalism respectively, the class integrity of each phase of this evolution approximating to the grand bourgeoisie, the bourgeoisie, and the petty bourgeoisie.
GAVIN: So it was only with the rise of Protestantism, corresponding to a bourgeois phase of relativistic evolution, that Christianity, as the religion of love, came properly into its own. Prior to then, Christianity, in the guise of Roman Catholicism, had put more stress on the sensational, as implying pleasure.
CONOR: Yes, possessing a kind of pagan/Christian integrity appropriate to the extreme relativity of the aristocracy and grand bourgeoisie. Roman Catholicism was and, to a degree, still is centred in sensation, the institution of the Confessional requiring that the penitent confess his sins, i.e. sensual indulgences; it being taken for granted that he will always have sins to confess. For as sensation is of the essence of Catholicism, so the Church must ensure that the penitent always has something to confess and therefore will expect a confession from him, thereby to some extent pressurizing him into further sin in a vicious, non-evolutionary circle of penitence and absolution. Paradoxically, the Catholic Church exists as much to maintain sin, i.e. crude sensation, as to absolve it. Without the Confessional, the Church would have no way of keeping a tag, so to speak, on people to ensure that they were sinning. The Catholic ideal of refined sensual indulgence, reflected more positively in the institution of the Mass, with its obligatory wafer of bread, has to be protected if the ideological integrity of Catholicism, as a pagan-based extreme relativity, isn't to be diluted or undermined. Speaking personally, I have no use for a religion that upholds sensation. The bourgeois ideal of love, centred in the heart, certainly reflects a superior development in the evolution of relativistic religion, albeit one that is still sensual, and hence soulful.
GAVIN: And yet, the bourgeois ideal of love was destined to be superseded, on a class basis, by the ideal of happiness, as applying to the petty bourgeoisie, an ideal which is as much post-Christian as the Catholic one was pre-Christian, using the term 'Christian' in a moderately relative sense.
CONOR: Yes, that is so! Christ didn't teach men to meditate, only to love one another, and so the meditating, yoga-practising neo-Orientalist is experiencing a more refined soulfulness than Christ would have envisaged - namely, the soulfulness of feeling at its most positive, either as happiness or joy, and usually dependent on some special breathing technique to increase the oxygen/carbon content of the blood and thereby facilitate enhanced awareness and refined feeling. This petty-bourgeois meditation, centred in happiness, is at the opposite pole from the pleasure-indulging Catholic - an extreme relativity favouring the transcendent (awareness), but rooted in positive feeling, the most sublimated soulfulness.
GAVIN: Thus from the concrete sensational soulfulness of the Catholic to the abstract feeling soulfulness of the neo-Orientalist via the compromise emotional soulfulness of the Protestant - the evolution of relativistic religion.
CONOR: Indeed, though of course before the relative there was the absolute, and after the relative has passed, there will be another absolute, antithetical in character to the first one.
GAVIN: You mean a transcendental as opposed to a pagan absolute?
CONOR: I do, and which, in class terms, we might distinguish as aristocratic and proletarian, the former implying stoicism, or an absolute endurance of pain, the latter, beyond the realm of soul, implying awareness, but an absolute awareness elevated above any intrusion of positive feeling.
GAVIN: Therefore not dependent on special breathing techniques or involving yoga posturings, but demanding, instead, the most complete negation of the body in a spiritual positivity solely concerned with itself, that is to say, with the cultivation of awareness.
CONOR: Absolutely! An entirely post-atomic religion, in which the spirit is free to expand upon itself, conscious of nothing foreign.
GAVIN: And this would be the religion of civilized proletarian man, of social man become transcendental man.
CONOR: The ultimate religion in the evolution of man from aristocratic beginnings to proletarian endings, as pertaining to an absolutist civilization, and therefore not co-existing with any other religion.
GAVIN: Does petty-bourgeois meditation, or yoga, co-exist with other contemporary religions, then?
CONOR: Indeed it does, and as a predominantly classical religion co-existing with the romantic appearance-centred religion, if I may so call it, of LSD tripping, both of which religions exist on the highest level of petty-bourgeois civilization - the later phase of it, which is that of petty-bourgeois relativity leaning towards a proletarian absolutism.
GAVIN: Then what would be the earlier phase, on whichever side?
CONOR: Some kind of Friends or Unitarian neo-Protestantism on the spiritual, essential, and therefore predominantly classical side, which would co-exist with neo-Catholicism on the materialist, apparent, and therefore predominantly romantic side - neo-Catholicism being distinct from Roman Catholicism, particularly in its historical mould, in terms of the greater emphasis placed on appearances, including ceremony, as opposed to refined sensual indulgence, though some of this will doubtless still accrue to it.
GAVIN: So, like art, religion evolves from an earlier to a later phase of petty-bourgeois development, and does so, in accordance with the dualistic integrity of a relativistic civilization, on two sides - namely, a materialist/romantic, and a spiritualist/classic.
CONOR: Precisely! And I venture to suggest that the spiritualist/classic side will signify a higher level of religion than the materialist/romantic side, just as spiritualistic art is inherently superior to its materialistic counterpart in any given phase of evolution. Thus if I were a petty bourgeois of the earlier and more relativistic type, I would prefer to be a neo-Protestant than a neo-Catholic. By a similar token, I would prefer to be a meditator than an LSD-tripper, if I were a petty bourgeois of the later and more absolutist type. And this in accordance with my spiritually-biased temperament, the sort of temperament that, in sexual matters, keeps me away from wife-violating and homosexual activities.
GAVIN: And one, no doubt, which makes you a Transcendentalist rather than a Socialist.
CONOR: Yes, but that is on an absolute ideological level, which has nothing to do with petty-bourgeois civilization.
GAVIN: Then there is a relative distinction between them?
CONOR: To be sure, and it will persist until Socialists are converted to Transcendentalism sometime in the future, and the basis is accordingly laid for a proletarian civilization, a civilization upholding transcendental meditation.
GAVIN: This presumably being the absolute meditation, as distinct from the petty-bourgeois extreme relativity of happiness/yoga meditation.
CONOR: Yes, and it would not co-exist with LSD tripping.
GAVIN: Then there will be no recourse to synthetic hallucinogens in the future?
CONOR: Only in the first phase of the post-Human Millennium, that of the Superman, which, following an epoch of classical absolutism, will constitute a kind of romantic interlude preceding the higher classicism, so to speak, of the hypermeditating new-brain collectivizations in its second, or Superbeing, phase. This romantic interlude, between the ultimate human classicism of the transcendental civilization and the ultimate post-human classicism of the Superbeings, will apply to the absolutely superhuman stage of evolution, in which human brains become artificially supported and sustained in collectivized contexts, a post-human epoch during which time LSD tripping will be the religious norm, it being distinguished from petty-bourgeois tripping by dint of the evolutionary gulf between a flesh-bound human being and an artificially supported/sustained brain, the one relative, the other largely absolute, having LSD, or some such synthetic hallucinogen, introduced into it on a much more consistent, protracted, and regular basis than could be tolerated by a human being, and this in accordance with the spiritual criteria of the Superman Millennium.
GAVIN: And yet this romantic phase will be superseded by a period of intensified transcendental meditation, as Supermen are transformed, by qualified technicians, into Superbeings, following the surgical removal of the old brain and the ensuing re-collectivization of new brains into superior entities.
CONOR: Absolutely! And such hypermeditation, as I prefer to call it, will put Superbeings on course for transcendence, that is to say, for the attainment of pure spirit to the heavenly Beyond, as evolution draws towards a climax.
GAVIN: In other words, the attainment of Absolute Mind to Heaven, if I may be permitted a Christian anachronism.
CONOR: Which would be a supra-atomic stage of evolution and, once all separate transcendences had converged towards one another and expanded into larger wholes, the ultimate stage ... of the Omega Point - the culmination of evolution in spiritual Oneness.
GAVIN: So it is towards this spiritual Oneness that all human progress tends.
CONOR: All virtuous human progress. Certainly not on absolute terms while there is any soulful identification in religion and, consequently, a stemming from the alpha roots of evolution in pure soul, as there still is in petty-bourgeois civilization ... where the most positive feeling becomes the religious ideal. Such philosophers as Bertrand Russell in The Conquest of Happiness and John Cowper Powys in The Art of Happiness may be relevant to a petty-bourgeois stage of religious evolution, but not to anything higher! The proletarian stage of the future will require a philosophy of awareness, which, cultivated on absolutist terms, should bring human evolution to its religious climax. We must leave what lies beyond man to the post-human life forms of the Superman/Superbeing Millennium.
AN ULTIMATE UNIVERSALITY
FRANK: As a self-taught philosopher, you are very much the type of the 'universal man' - perhaps his ultimate manifestation, insofar as you weave a variety of disciplines together and cause them to interrelate and overlap.
COLIN: I agree that my philosophical interests are wide-ranging rather than confined to any one discipline, like a logical positivist. I prefer to integrate education eclectically, since the development of one discipline is tied-up with that of another and one cannot hope to further an integrated society unless each discipline is harmonized, as closely as possible, with the others in an all-embracing unity of purpose. They must be co-ordinated with one another on a uniform ideological plane. It is no good trying to separate politics from religion or science from art or sex from society. They have to be harmonized on the same class-evolutionary plane, their respective spheres of influence respected while still being developed to an identical evolutionary stage. This is why my work has remained universal, scorning narrow specialization in the interests of a more comprehensive evolutionary perspective concerned with the future development of proletarian civilization, and accordingly determined to bring all the major disciplines within the scope of a uniform assessment and standardization, which, needless to say, should be of crucial importance from a moral standpoint.
FRANK: Thus the type of the 'universal man' essentially pertains to the foundation of a new civilization; he is the root organizer and comprehensive criterion from whom specializations will eventually emerge, with the development of this civilization?
COLIN: Yes, as the next civilization will be the last in the history of human evolution, you are correct, I think, in contending that I am the ultimate manifestation of the 'universal man'.
FRANK: An essay on 'universal men' written by the art historian Kenneth Clark suggested that the age of such men had passed, in consequence of which there wasn't likely to be another 'universal man' in the future.
COLIN: Considering that British art historians, together with their counterparts in other Western nations, are unwilling to concede to the possibility of a future civilization, following their own rather bourgeois one, I cannot be surprised that Clark took such a negative line. What can he be expected to know of a transcendental civilization, he whose grand-bourgeois pedigree had, until relatively late in his career, precluded him from involving himself to any positive extent even in petty-bourgeois civilization, with its so-called modern art?
FRANK: I agree, and when he did get round to a positive involvement in both the discussion and elucidation of modern art, it was with a materialist bias that left the superconscious out of account and accordingly induced him to describe such art in terms of the subconscious, which, from an objective viewpoint, totally fails to do proper justice to, if not the greater part, then at any rate the most spiritually important part of it.
COLIN: A typically bourgeois limitation, and not least of all where the British are concerned! For an acknowledgement of the superconscious could, after all, suggest the possibility of subsequent evolutionary progress, and not only in the context of art, to the detriment, needless to say, of monarchic determinism! So while Kenneth Clark may have been prepared to cite universal men like da Vinci and Jefferson, as pertaining to the relativistic developments of the Italian grand-bourgeois and American bourgeois renaissances within the overall context of Western civilization, he couldn't be expected to know anything about the ultimate 'universal man', whose work, breaking with bourgeois tradition, necessarily pertains to the future development of an absolutist civilization of truly universal scope and significance.
FRANK: And who would be less a philosopher than a philosophical theosophist, am I correct in saying?
COLIN: Very, bearing in mind that the life-span of philosophers does not extend beyond the confines of bourgeois/proletarian civilization, since they stem from the pagan root of things and are only permissible so long as that root remains intact, which it will do even into a petty-bourgeois phase of the civilization in question, wherein the most extreme relativity of transcendental bias is to be found. The foundations of an absolute civilization, on the other hand, cannot be rooted in a philosopher, least of all an academic one, but only in a philosophical theosophist, whose creativity is more literary than a philosopher's, employing the use of certain genres that, taken in conjunction with traditional philosophical ones, elevate his work above traditional categorization in deference to transcendental criteria.
FRANK: So, as a philosophical theosophist, you are nevertheless equivalent to a philosopher.
COLIN: More like his successor actually, though I am unlikely to have any successors myself, since 'universal men' aren't entitled to eternal life but appertain, as a rule, to the inception of a given civilization, and, as already remarked, the transcendental one will be the last!
FRANK: So, after you, one must expect specialists to emerge who will tackle each particular discipline in the context of the whole.
COLIN: Yes, religion and art, not to mention science and politics, will continue to require specialist attention to further their advancement, though such attention won't be carried out in defiance or ignorance of the justification for other disciplines, but ... will be conducted within the all-embracing context of a wider perspective, harmonized to ends outside itself and therefore precluding the danger of any given discipline degenerating into some 'ism', be it scientism, politicism, spiritualism, or aestheticism. Thus the integrating influence of the ultimate 'universal man' will never be very far away.
FRANK: Would you therefore describe the 'universal man' as inherently superior to the specialist?
COLIN: In a certain sense, I would. That is to say, with regard to specialists of a preceding civilization, whose work he has personally transcended in his commitment to a future one. He can afford to 'look down' upon the outmoded theological beliefs of an earlier civilization's priests, or upon the obsolescent art of that same civilization's artists, and so on.
FRANK: What about the specialists who succeed him?
COLIN: Well, that is another matter and, at the risk of succumbing to my old vice of offensive clarity, I shall concede the right of creative superiority to the spiritual specialists who succeed him, such as future artists and priest-equivalents, whilst according a less flattering status to their materialist counterparts in science and politics. For, to my mind, the absolute man is inherently superior to the relative one, provided, however, that he pertains to a later spiritual absolutism! The later materialist absolutism, on the other hand, of the scientist I regard as less entitled to such a claim - indeed, as not entitled to it at all - since his materialistic preoccupations, whilst equalling or surpassing those of the 'universal man', cannot be expected to match or surpass the latter's spiritual preoccupations, which constitute the most important aspect of his work. Certainly I can vouch for that fact as regards my own universal tendencies!
FRANK: You must have a low regard for scientists generally.
COLIN: Well, I don't consider them superior to the foremost artists of any given age, if that's what you mean. It is a distinction between the discoverer and the creator, the negative and the positive, the reactive and the active. A similar distinction holds true between politicians and priests, though we should define it rather more in terms of doing and being than of, say, discovering and creating.
FRANK: In other words, a distinction between the active and the passive, the coercive and the instructive.
COLIN: Yes, that must be approximately so! Now when we compare the reactive scientist with the active politician or the creative artist with the instructive priest, it is only logical to regard the latter as superior, in each case, to the former, their positivity entitling them to a hierarchic distinction over the negativity of the scientist and politician.
FRANK: What happens when we compare the artist with the priest?
COLIN: The instructive being of the latter takes precedence over the creative doing of the former. There is no-one higher than the spiritual leader! And wherever civilization prevails, his superiority will be acknowledged and taken for granted. Likewise, the artist's status will be accorded due recognition.
FRANK: Interesting how, in another of the essays published in Moments of Vision, Kenneth Clark should have contended that modern art signified a decline in inspiration and quality over traditional art, and that one of the main reasons for this was the fact, as he saw it, of the twentieth century being a scientific rather than a religious age, in which scientific and technological endeavour took precedence over art, their pursuit being worthy of greater prestige in consequence.
COLIN: All of which only goes to confirm what you said about his materialist bias, and further underlines how out-of-touch he must have been with petty-bourgeois religious developments, including yoga and hallucinogenic contemplation, to see in the age such a scientific hegemony. Besides, the contention that modern art signifies a decline in creative inspiration over what preceded it in earlier centuries simply reflects the psychological limitations of its author, since, lacking knowledge of the superconscious, he entirely fails to perceive, in the by-and-large post-egocentric nature of such art, an advancement towards greater simplicity. His preference for more complex works doubtless accords with a representational bias which demands not abstraction but the grandiose spectacle of what Spengler would have called 'great art'. Fortunately, we are unlikely to witness a recrudescence of such egocentric art in the future, contrary to Clark's suggestion that the rejuvenation of art may entail a return to representational form, with the termination of the modern 'iconoclastic' epoch. On the contrary, the further evolution of art presupposes the upgrading of non-representational tendencies in media which transcend the painterly, and so reduce material commitments to a bare minimum.
FRANK: Such as light art and abstract holography?
COLIN: Yes, particularly the latter, which should become the principal visual art form of the transcendental civilization, bringing such art to a climax in the symbolization, through apparent means, of maximum essence. This will be at the furthest possible remove from the inception of civilized visual art in the attempts, doomed to failure, of pagan man to emulate the beauty of nature through sculptural images, the most materialistic of beginnings, compared to which even representational paintings signify a marked spiritual advancement!
FRANK: Though presumably not one for which the ultimate 'universal man' is likely to have much philosophical respect, given his commitment to transcendental values.
COLIN: No, since he has better things to do than to dote on the achievements, aesthetic or otherwise, of relativistic civilization. In pointing forward, he turns his back on the past. And that, believe it or not, is precisely what the final human civilization will do - at the expense not only of art historians but of historians in general! For relativistic history, my friend, will have no place in the coming transcendental age. The only history worthy of academic sanction will be the absolutist history of proletarian man. And that begins - does it not? - where bourgeois history leaves off.