Towards Ultimate Oneness


ROBERT: Religion is one of those subjects about which there can be so much doubt and dissension, so many conflicting opinions and contradictory arguments.  For instance, there are people, traditionally regarded as mystics, who maintain that one can have direct contact with God and, conversely, others of a less mystical persuasion who categorically deny this.

FRANCIS: I agree.  There are any number of contradictory views on the subject, which is but a reflection, I suppose, of different stages or degrees of religious awareness among the disputants.  Personally, I side with those who maintain that we cannot enter into direct contact with God.  For, so far as I'm concerned, God doesn't exist but is in the making, as it were, through the development of human consciousness.  Those who assume the contrary would seem to be either deluded into mistaking their own little quota of spirit for God or into equating God with the Universe, and thus with some transcendent other with whom they can commune.

ROBERT: And you disagree with both attitudes?

FRANCIS: I do indeed!  For, in the first place, I wouldn't confound what, as human spirit, is potentially God with God per se.  And, in the second place, I wouldn't confound God with the Universe, and thus imagine myself communing with the stars, which are effectively the Devil.  The Devil does, of course, exist in this cosmic context, but not as something with which one can commune!  On the contrary, stars don't bother themselves about human prayers or wishes.  They are beneath consciousness, existing on a deeply subconscious level of intense sensuality, devoid of thought.  We can never approximate to their primal level, no matter how hard we may try.  For, as men, we belong to a much later and more evolved stage of evolution, in which sensuality is far less intense.  As men, we are on the way to becoming God.

ROBERT: Yet, presumably, not entirely free of the Devil's influence?

FRANCIS: By no means!  We have to continuously struggle against it or, more precisely, that which stems from the Devil in the forms of nature and its sensuous offspring, including the flesh.  This is essentially what evolution is all about - a struggle to free ourselves from the mundane and attain to the transcendent, or that which, as pure spirit, would be God.

ROBERT: I recently listened to a modern-jazz album on which people were singing about being one with the Universe and dancing with the stars.

FRANCIS: Ugh, devil music!  I trust you didn't like it?

ROBERT: It was rather boring, to tell you the truth.  But I wasn't quite sure what my religious position was in regard to it at the time.

FRANCIS: Well, you can rest assured that there can be no unity between man and the Cosmos, since stars are the Devil and, being antithetical to God, appertain to separateness and diversity.  A downward self-transcendence induced by a potent natural drug or even by sleep may constitute a tendency in the Devil's direction, so to speak, but can never actually bring you into unity with the Devil.  Nothing defies the idea of unity more!

ROBERT: But what if, in experiencing a mystical state-of-mind, you project a feeling of unity and togetherness onto the Cosmos, so that you actually feel that the Universe really is One.  I mean, surely such a state of mind, experienced on a few occasions by no less a writer than Aldous Huxley, is valid in itself?

FRANCIS: Doubtless it is!  And it constitutes the kernel of Wordsworth's mysticism, albeit as applied rather more to nature than to the stars.  But it hides the truth from its recipient by inducing him to identify with that which is really the opposite of God.  For the state of mind to which you allude appertains to upward self-transcendence in the lower reaches of the superconscious and invariably induces feelings of Oneness, in response to the spiritual, as opposed to sensual, nature of that mind.  But when projected onto one's surroundings, be they mundane or cosmic, such a state of mind can only lead the beholder to the false assumption that they are one with him and he one with them.  In reality, however, nothing could be further from the truth!  For stars remain stars and nature remains nature, apart from man and an obstacle, fundamentally, to his spiritual progress.  An impartial, objective viewpoint confirms this fact all too clearly, whereas, under mystical pressures, one will incline to deceive oneself as to the unity of the whole.

ROBERT: And yet, even supposing what you say happens to be true, the mystical state-of-mind is surely no less valid for all that?

FRANCIS: Oh, absolutely!  For it inclines one in the direction of God, of ultimate spiritual unity in the future Beyond, and necessarily causes the mind to embrace what is foreign to it as kindred and congenial.  Doubtless supreme divinity, when it finally comes to pass, will co-exist with the stars without being in any sense aware of their presence as a distinct force in the Universe, because it will be too absorbed in the ultimate consciousness of its inner unity as transcendent spirit.  But man, being a long way from such consciousness even in his occasional mystical states-of-mind, remains aware of external cosmic or natural reality, and falsely assumes oneness with it.  Supreme being ... above egocentric or visual consciousness ... would be aware of nothing but itself, and therefore it wouldn't take note of the diabolic components of the Universe, be they stars or planets, moons or comets.  Eventually everything that pertains to the Devil would pass away, dissolving into dust and nothingness.  God, however, would remain, and with His sole existence the Universe would be brought to the perfection of spiritual oneness, which even the last remaining star would deny so long as it continued to exist.  But God would of course be oblivious of its presence and in no degree inclined to identify with the remaining star or stars.  The omega absolute would be above what mystics habitually succumb to, in their egocentric projections of higher states-of-mind onto external reality.  With God, there is no consciousness of the other.  Only awareness of the highest degree, which transcends opposites.

ROBERT: Yet, on a much inferior level, that is precisely what the mystical experience enables people to do, by embracing the Devil, as it were, as one with themselves.

FRANCIS: To be sure!  But such an experience is crude compared with the consciousness which is beyond any form of identification of the not-self with the self.  With God, there would be nothing but the self, the not-selfs being outside and beneath the picture, so to speak, which is composed of pure spirit and not diluted, to any degree, by optical or visionary experience.  Man can never know that pure consciousness because he remains chained to the phenomenal world through the senses, and therefore isn't able to completely transcend visionary awareness.  At best, he may experience a momentary glimpse of the higher, non-representational consciousness.  But such a glimpse is incompatible with the Divine per se, which would be transcendent and composed of the entire superconscious mind of which the evolutionary universe was capable of producing in an intensity of bliss far beyond mortal experience or comprehension.  The individual mystic inevitably remains chained to his individuality, his intimation of the Infinite necessarily limited to the capacity of his psyche for upward self-transcendence.  He isn't communing with God when he experiences a mystical state-of-mind, but simply with that which, as spirit, is potentially divine.  Mystics have often deluded themselves on this point, unconsciously belittling and reducing God to the relatively humble level of their particular mystical experience.  We, however, should guard against making the same mistake!  For, in reality, God doesn't yet exist in the Universe, since we have still to transform ourselves from men into pure spirit and thereby create divinity.  This can only happen in the future, following the phasing-out of the natural body through technological means, which the further development of civilization to increasingly-artificial stages of evolution inevitably presupposes.  When we have dispensed with every last vestige of the sensual world, both externally and internally, we shall be ready for the transcendental Beyond.

ROBERT: To the extent that we on earth are still insufficiently spiritually advanced to attain to the transcendent plane, and couldn't have done so in the past, when technology was either non-existent or extremely crude and, in any case, never used in the connection to which you allude, I agree with you that we haven't yet created God in any ultimate sense - with reference, in other words, to a divinity whose being is supreme.  We have, of course, created God in the anthropomorphic sense of endowing man with divinity and worshipping him, in the person of Jesus Christ, as the Son of God ... the Father, which you would doubtless agree was a step in the aforementioned direction?

FRANCIS: I would indeed!  A step away from pagan identification with or propitiation of the Creator, which is diabolical, towards the literal creation of God from human spirit.  An in-between egocentric realm in which a diluted paganism is combined or alternated with a diluted transcendentalism, and the paradoxical result is called Christianity.  That was certainly a stage on the road to our ultimate salvation from the flesh, which has still to come.

ROBERT: Yes, but what makes you sure that no other people elsewhere in the Universe have gone way beyond us in evolutionary terms and already literally created God, so that a degree of transcendent spirit currently exists somewhere?  I mean, you haven't even raised the possibility of advanced life forms on other planets, so how can you be sure that God doesn't exist?

FRANCIS: A good question, and one that demands an equally good answer.  Consequently let me say I very much doubt that, assuming intelligent life forms exist elsewhere in the Universe, any other people, as you say, would already have evolved to a truly transcendental status.  For we have neither seen nor heard anything of them, and that would surely be improbable where truly-advanced peoples were concerned!  As you doubtless know, what applies on the microcosmic level also applies, to varying extents, on the macrocosmic one, and vice versa, so that the tendency on earth of evolutionary progress to manifest itself in a gradual struggle towards world unity and uniformity of belief should also apply to the Universe as a whole where, to coin Teilhard de Chardin's phrase, a 'convergence to the Omega Point' would presumably be in simultaneous operation.  Our struggle towards salvation in the transcendental Beyond leads us to concern ourselves with the entire world population, not just a tiny percentage of it, and this must surely be true of other civilized peoples in the Universe as a whole, assuming such peoples to exist.  When more is known about the Universe than at present, and we have regular contact with people or whatever from other planets, we shall be in a better position to gauge the extent of a 'convergence to the Omega Point' with regard to the Universe in general, rather than to just one tiny fraction of it in particular.  At this point in time, however, I doubt whether any other 'people' have literally created God.  For we haven't been brought into contact with a superior alien civilization, and therefore we have no reason to believe that, at present, such a civilization exists or, indeed, has ever existed.  So I remain an atheist with regard to the assumed existence of the Supreme Being, absolutely convinced that, so far as man is concerned, we haven't created ultimate divinity, and relatively convinced that no-one else has either.  Besides, one could argue that even if, by some remote chance, an alien civilization considerably more advanced than us had evolved to a transcendental culmination, the resultant globe of pure spirit which now existed somewhere in the Universe wouldn't be God as such, but only the beginnings of God - a relatively small globe of spirit composed of all the spirit which that particular civilization had made transcendent but, nevertheless, a long way short of the total assimilation of spirit into a uniform globe towards which the potentially transcendental civilizations in the rest of the Universe would eventually contribute, and hence to the completion of God.

ROBERT: This argument is becoming slightly too academic for my liking!  What you're saying, I take it, is that God wouldn't really exist in toto until such time as every advanced civilization throughout the Universe had contributed their share of transcendent spirit to its total spiritual mass, so to speak.

FRANCIS: Yes, that is approximately my argument, and it is a pretty complicated one, I'll concede.  But, then, the Universe is a pretty complicated place, and so is the evolutionary struggle.  There are also further complications concerning its final nature.  For when we bear in mind the immense scale of the Universe and begin to consider the possible number of habitable planets in it, we cannot, surely, bring ourselves to believe that we will gradually get to know about every single one of them and become familiar with all of their various life forms.  It stretches the imagination to its limits to believe that, one day, we will know everything about and everyone in our own galaxy, never mind the Universe in general, in which there are literally millions of galaxies.  So let us assume that we won't come into contact with the inhabitants of remote galaxies, but will be confined, instead, to exploring and unifying, on a spiritual level, this galaxy.  Now other intelligent life forms in it would probably be doing something similar, and so a 'convergence to the Omega Point' would be put into effect on the level of the Galaxy and, in all probability, of individual galaxies generally, where similar criteria may be assumed to apply.

ROBERT: There is always the alternative possibility that we will be content to live in the united world we have created for ourselves on this planet and mind our own business, as we dedicate ourselves to the cultivation of pure spirit.

FRANCIS: True.  But, knowing man, I rather doubt that he will be entirely immune to the lure of discovery and exploration, where other planets are concerned.  Of course, life on earth will doubtless continue to progress and therefore concern itself less and less with appearances, no matter how fantastic, and more and more with essences; less with the outer and more with the inner.  Yet that shouldn't rule-out the possibility of interplanetary communication.  For man wouldn't want to turn his back on the rest of the Galaxy at the risk of leaving himself exposed to alien invasion.  He wouldn't relish having what progress he had achieved put in jeopardy as a consequence of alien interference.  However, let us confine our argument to long-term progress and assume that transcendence, when it eventually comes to pass, will occur on a galactic rather than a universal level, so that instead of converging to a common central area of the Universe, spirit will tend to form locally, as it were, and thereby exist, in the region of this particular galaxy, as a part of ultimate divinity or, better, a potential component of ultimate divinity rather than as the Omega Point itself, which would of course be ultimate Oneness.

ROBERT: In other words, you are contending that, because the Universe is so vast, the convergence towards the Omega Point will more than likely take place by degrees even on the transcendent plane where, presumably, various galactic contributions of spirit would co-exist independently of one another, following their respective births, so to speak, on a local level.  What that doesn't tell one, however, is how, having evolved to so many separate globes of pure spirit, these potential components of the Omega Point will subsequently merge into ultimate Oneness.

FRANCIS: Ah, you've anticipated my argument!  I was going to contend that spirit is inherently expansive and convergent, and that each separate galactic contribution to the ultimate establishment of God would tend to converge towards other such contributions in a continuous process of convergence and expansion until, with the successive mergings of individual globes of spirit into larger wholes, the time finally came when even the most originally distant contributions were fused together, and the Omega Point was thereby established.  Only then, once ultimate Oneness had come to pass, would God actually exist, in complete contrast to the innately separative, divergent, contractive nature of the innumerable stars, which correspond, so I contend, to the Devil.  Yet, by then, I wager that most if not all stars would have collapsed and disintegrated, leaving the Universe to the spiritual perfection of God's Oneness.  For, having come fully into being as the end-product of manifold convergence, God couldn't continue to expand indefinitely through the infinity of space if the Devil was in the way, so to speak, and thus an obstacle to His divine expansion.  As spirit expands in the Universe, so the stars contract, burning-up at the phenomenal rate of millions of tons of their matter a second.  Inevitably they must contract out of the Universe altogether, leaving room for the continuous expansion of transcendent spirit, and ultimately God, in the blissful being of its pure indivisibility.

ROBERT: A very interesting theory!  And one, moreover, which, despite its mystical pretensions, leads me to assume that God would make the Universe increasingly precious, as more and more space became filled, as it were, with His blissful presence.  We are, indeed, a long way here from traditional theories of the Beyond, especially where you contend that the Omega Point wouldn't properly exist until the establishment of ultimate Oneness, and that such an establishment would be more likely to come about by degrees rather than all at once, given the immensity of the Universe.

FRANCIS: Yes, and also the fact that evolution proceeds by stages anyway, so that a leap from this world or even this galaxy to an ultimate merging with spiritual globes from other galaxies would seem to be rather drastic, to say the least!  We would, I think, be wiser to vouch for a gradual 'convergence to the Omega Point' in the transcendental Beyond, as separate globes of transcendent spirit slowly converged towards one another from all quarters of this immense Universe, with the objective, one might say, of establishing supreme being in all its final Oneness.  These individual globes of pure spirit wouldn't be aware that they each constituted only a potential component of God, as they converged and expanded.  For transcendent spirit, from whichever corner of the Universe, would be totally self-absorbed in the contemplation of its own spiritual perfection and, consequently, unaware of anything outside itself, whether of the diabolic or the divine.  One might suppose, however, that with each additional accumulation of transcendent spirit from other regions of the Universe, the overall condition of any particular spiritual globe would not only become more perfect but more blissful as well, so that expansion acquired fresh incentive, in heightened awareness, for further expansion, and so on, until all such globes became One, and thus attained to an optimum perfection in the ultimate awareness of the Omega Point.  Perhaps, after that, expansion would not so much intensify the level of being as ... spread it over ever wider and deeper areas of space, as more space became available, following the contraction and eventual dissolution of the stars.

ROBERT: The mind fairly boggles at the thought!  It is as much as I can do to imagine a tiny globe of transcendent spirit emerging from the brain or whatever of a meditating person, never mind the larger galactic globes to which a vast combination of such transcendences would apparently give rise!  I cannot even imagine what transcendent spirit would look like, never having seen human spirit.

FRANCIS: Something rather pure and centripetal, I suspect, in marked contrast to the impure, centrifugal light of the sun.  But by the time we attain to the transcendental Beyond, you can be sure that nothing recognizably human will be left of us.  For, with transcendence, man will become supernatural and thus completely independent of the natural world, knowing nothing but the bliss of total salvation.  And that bliss can only become more perfect, as the transcendental Beyond becomes ever more unified in continuous expansion.  That is the promise of the transcendental future.

ROBERT: You have convinced me, as no-one else could, that the Christian civilization must be superseded by a civilization leading straight to Heaven through the literal creation of pure spirit.

FRANCIS: Yes, we won't be worshipping the diabolic Almighty or the humanistic Christ in the future, but be directly aspiring, through self-realization, towards the divine Holy Spirit.  We shall be God-builders in the highest, most true sense of the word.

ROBERT: Verily have you spoken!