The Transcendental Future
ARNOLD: It would seem, if what I've heard about you is true, that you regard democracy merely as a transitional phenomenon leading to something higher, a midway stage, as it were, between man's predominantly sensual past and his predominantly spiritual future, in which a variety of contending parties struggle against one other in a kind of twilight zone of democratic balance, until such time as the balance swings so much in favour of the progressive party that a new phase of evolution gets under way in the form of transcendental totalitarianism - the equivalent, in evolutionary terms, of the Light.
KEITH: Yes, I regard democracy as a kind of twilight between the darkness of royalism and the light of socialism, a kind of egocentric state between the subconsciousness of Western man's beginnings in subservience to nature and the superconsciousness of his endings in transcendental bliss. Early man lived most of his life in the subconscious realm of sensual identification with nature. He put the spiritual aspect of reality into the sensual and thereby embraced an animistic/pantheistic concept of divinity. For him everything was essentially dark, fearsome, and cruel. His subconscious projections led him to worship the Lawrentian 'dark gods of the loins', rather than any transcendent deity, and therefore to respect a predominantly sensual mode of political administration roughly commensurate with royalism. There could be no question of a political opposition existing in a society so much under the tyranny of nature, where the spiritual was embodied in the sensual. So early man lived in a kind of perpetual darkness of royalist allegiance. But gradually Western man - and we may as well focus our attention chiefly on the evolution of Europeans - broke free from this sensual tyranny and established civilization to a degree whereby he could differentiate between the sensual and the spiritual, and thereupon assign to each a separate realm - the former mundane, the latter transcendent.
KEITH: Yes, Christianity was duly accepted because its compromise integrity reflected the evolutionary situation of Western man as a being divided between sensuality and spirituality, a being halfway-up the ladder of human evolution, so to speak. And, in due course, his evolutionary position in relation to nature led him to endorse democracy, led to democracy, which is essentially a compromise between royalism and socialism. Thus a kind of twilight era of political balance was established, in which the parties of the Left vied with the parties of the Right for ultimate control of the parliamentary framework. Now very gradually, following a progression from dictatorial capitalism to a democratic balance between capitalism and socialism, the left-wing party began to tip the balance in favour of socialism, and so inaugurated the phenomenon of democratic socialism, with which we in the West are sufficiently well-acquainted this century not to be in any degree surprised by. So now the twilight zone of democracy-proper has given way to a brighter zone of the political spectrum which, in due time, should give way to the Light itself, and thus reflect the era of transcendentalism.
KEITH: Absolutely! Christianity, with its allegiance to a personal anthropomorphic deity, will be eclipsed by the blinding mysticism of the Inner Light, as the regular practise of meditation paves the way for man's ultimate salvation in the post-Human Millennium. Western man will no longer pray, as has traditionally been the case in the egocentric world of second-stage cultural life, but will simply meditate his way towards direct experience of what, in the superconscious, is potentially divine. He will follow the historical example, in short, of the spiritual masters of the Orient, and accordingly relinquish the egocentric claims of Christianity. He will focus his attention upon the Holy Ghost, the third and highest part of the Trinity, and thus dispense with the Father and Son of his previous two stages of religious allegiance. For the Father is really pantheism, the Son anthropomorphism, and the Holy Spirit alone transcendentalism - the blessed equivalent to the Huxleyian Clear Light of the Void.
ARNOLD: Hence religion, like politics, is conditioned by the nature of the environment, and may accordingly be said to evolve from the dark to the light via a kind of twilight, or Christian, stage coming in-between.
KEITH: Precisely! Though the twilight stage also evolves from a predominantly dark state on the border, so to speak, with paganism to a predominantly light state on the border with transcendentalism, as can be borne out by the early-Christian emphasis on the Virgin Mary, which is given priority in Catholicism, and the late-Christian emphasis on Christ, which is given priority in Protestantism. It is a shift from the sensual to the spiritual, the symbolically mundane to the symbolically transcendent.
ARNOLD: You mean Protestantism may be equated with a kind of religious democracy, in contrast to the religious autocracy, as it were, of Catholicism?
up to a point! For Protestantism
signifies a later stage of religious evolution than Catholicism, being the
product of a more artificial drive. It
has become the Christianity of the more industrialized nations of the West,
ARNOLD: So Protestantism can be regarded as the logical successor to Catholicism and forerunner of transcendentalism, the religious equivalent, in a manner of speaking, to democratic socialism?
KEITH: Yes, that is roughly how I see it, at any rate. As something more artificial in essence than the more sensual Christianity out of which it grew, a transitional phenomenon between second- and third-stage development, between churches and meditation centres. For there are quite a number of what one could call prayer centres being built these days - buildings which spring from the urban environment and testify to an architectural style applicable to a post-Christian age, a style that can only be equated with third-stage life. For churches-proper can only be built in a context conducive to the furtherance of Christianity, a provincial context - as opposed to the urban context in which most of us live these days - wherein Christianity logically prevails. As such, they will reflect allegiance to the typical church style and consequently be recognizable as churches. But an environment inherently hostile to Christianity, with its sensual/spiritual compromise, can hardly be expected to encourage or facilitate the erection of genuine churches! Consequently, whatever is built in that environment, for purposes of Christian worship, is more likely to be closer in conception to a meditation centre than to a church, even though the official line may suggest the contrary. Needless to say, the widespread practice of meditation in buildings specifically designed for that purpose cannot be encouraged until we officially move up the ladder of human evolution to its third and final rung. So the new so-called churches will doubtless continue in the vein of transition from Christianity to transcendentalism, as before. But, like democracy, Christianity is on the way out - of that you need be in no doubt! Nothing but the complete destruction and disintegration of our great cities could do anything to reverse the trend of evolution away from the subconscious and towards the superconscious. For it is in the superconscious that our future salvation resides, not in the egocentric life of the Christian past. As such, it is in our deepest interests to do everything we can to further it, to make certain that our cities aren't allowed to crumble into ruin but continue to expand, in accordance with the extent of our financial and technological resources. For, in the final analysis, it is the city which makes third-stage life possible, insofar as it isolates us, to an increasing extent, from the sensuous influence of nature and thereupon imposes increasingly artificial lifestyles upon us. It is the city that will bring us to ultimate divinity, enabling us to free ourselves from nature's pagan clutches and attain to the post-Human Millennium in spiritual salvation. Thanks to the city, Christianity and democracy are destined to be superseded by the politico-religious integrity appertaining to third-stage life - the post-dualistic reflection of lopsided spirituality in which relativity will be transcended. The Son of God will be superseded by the Holy Spirit, just as, in politics, that old democratic competitive/co-operative compromise between capitalists and socialists will be superseded by maximized co-operation.
ARNOLD: So the evolutionary journey that began in feudal competition, and is now passing through the twilight compromise, will eventually culminate in unequivocal socialist co-operation. And that will eventually bring us to the climax of our evolution?
KEITH: Indeed it will! For in the battle between darkness and light, the darkness is destined to be vanquished! Nothing can prevent us from going forwards to our ultimate goal in the transcendental Beyond.
ARNOLD: I begin to realize how wrong I was to assume, as formerly, that democracy was the best that could be expected in political terms, and that the freedoms it permitted, i.e. the right to vote for one of a number of different parties, free speech, freedom of the press, etc., were inviolable. I used to think that democracy signified the apex of political evolution against which it was unwise to rebel. For rebellion, if successful, could only lead to totalitarianism, and that was something to be avoided, since the source of abuses of human freedom. But now that I have come to learn that political evolution is a fact which cannot be denied, and that there is a vast difference between royalism at one end of the political spectrum and socialism at the other, my previous supposition relating to the nature of democracy seems to me quite absurd, much as though one should wish to stop halfway-up the ladder of political evolution under the delusion that the halfway stage was in fact the top when, in reality, it was anything but that! It is as though a pupa should prefer to remain at the chrysalis stage of its evolution than go on and become a butterfly, should prefer the lifestyle of a chrysalis to that which stood above it! Quite an absurd and contemptible viewpoint, to say the least, but one to which I wholeheartedly subscribed until you came along and enlightened me, liberated me from my constricting delusion. And I hope to God you enlighten others as well, enlighten them before it is too late and they have to learn political evolution the hard way. Democratic freedoms may be a good thing, but if what you say is true, then it is patently obvious that they can only be good for a given period of time - namely, during the transitional stage of evolution between the politics of the predominantly sensual environment and the politics of the predominantly spiritual environment which characterize the inception and culmination of civilized evolution.
KEITH: Yes. For when the transitional stage is over - as it soon will be in the West - there can be no place in life for democratic freedoms, because we shall have evolved beyond the traditional dualism which justified and necessitated them. Life will have become so biased in favour of the spirit, so much a consequence of large-scale urbanization, that there will be no possibility of a democratic capitalist party existing, and consequently no cause for democracy. The party of the body will have been completely triumphed over and, as such, only the party of the spirit will prevail, signifying the end of the twilight era of democratic compromise and the inception of the era of Light - the era towards which all true progressives aspire, as holding the key to the transcendental Beyond. In that fortunate era, the further development of co-operation will establish the brotherhood of man, a brotherhood founded upon egalitarianism, where the distinction between exploiter and exploited ceases to exist, there being no place for that economic competitiveness which characterized the era of royalism in particular, but the aristocratic/bourgeois, bourgeois/bourgeois, and bourgeois/proletarian phases of democracy to varying extents. With the ultimate victory of the proletariat, however, the opposition will cease to exist, and thus only co-operation prevail.
KEITH: Simply those who genuinely subscribe to the advancement of the spirit and relate to the age in which they live, relate to the twin ideals of co-operation and transcendentalism. One need not be an uncouth labourer. One can be the most intelligent and tasteful of persons, the most handsome or pretty, as the case may be. All that's necessary is that one wholeheartedly believes in the highest values of the age and lives to put them into practice, lives to be an integral part of third-stage life. For the victory of the proletariat is the ultimate social victory, against which there can be no justification for or possibility of revolt. From a society dominated by the aristocracy, we evolve to a bourgeois democratic society, which passes through the three phases I alluded to a moment ago, and from there we climb-on up the ladder of political evolution to the proletarian society of third-stage man, in which dualistic confrontation ceases to exist. When the swing of the evolutionary pendulum from competitiveness to cooperativeness is complete, man will be on the verge of his ultimate salvation in spiritual beatitude. With economic co-operation on the political plane and spiritual meditation on the religious one, he will eventually attain to the long-awaited transformation from man to superman, and thereupon enter the post-Human Millennium. His evolution will then be complete, for the spirit will reign supreme, freed altogether from the sensuous influence of nature. Man, remember, is something that should be overcome, but it is only through a combination of socialism and transcendentalism, call it Social Transcendentalism, that he will eventually overcome himself and thereby attain to the goal of human evolution in the Nietzschean 'great noontide' of the post-Human Millennium. To live predominantly in the superconscious rather than in the ego, or conscious mind, is the destiny of our race, the true hallmark of third-stage man. As yet, we are still too close to the ego for comfort. We have quite a way to go before we arrive at our ultimate destination in transcendental bliss. But we can be assured that we are evolving in the right direction, even if rather slowly.
KEITH: Indeed! And not just individually but collectively as well. In point of fact, there is a very important fact to bear in mind as regards evolutionary progress, which is that the environment in which a given people live inevitably conditions, to varying extents, their overall level of politico-religious awareness, so that a people accustomed to a rural environment are going to be at a lower level of evolution than a people accustomed to an urban one, and will consequently be ill-qualified to endorse or relate to exactly the same politico-religious integrity. And, of course, a people who live in the desert are going to have a different scale of spiritual values from a people accustomed to the jungle. Obviously, one cannot force the same level of awareness upon everyone. For some peoples are currently more sensual than others, some are currently more spiritual than others. World transcendentalism cannot come about overnight, but only gradually, in accordance with the approximate level of spiritual awareness prevailing in different parts of the world. It may be possible to superficially force transcendentalism upon a people. But, deep down, if they are insufficiently evolved, they will reject it and/or pervert its essence to something more akin to their own socio-environmental integrity. At heart, they will remain sensual royalists or dualistic democrats, unable to suddenly transform themselves into the most spiritual of men!