Religious Evolution


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.