I had one of those sudden recognitions the other day about how I had been wasting a lot of life over many years in trying to locate the source of problems - specifically the source of the mainstream of bad things the results of which we see everywhere but the source of which is so elusive. I have written many blog posts on this theme, and a couple of books.
But when something is so real yet so hard to pin down, the cause is likely to be spiritual rather than perceptual - its causes apparent to 'the imagination' (if at all) - the imagination being our organ of perception of the spiritual - rather than to the five senses.
It is not that we cannot know such matters - probably we can in principle know almost anything (over time, across a vast timescale, with properly directed effort) - it is rather than the causes, once known cannot be pointed-at - and people (me too) are driven to wild abstractions in order to try and express insights.
We don't know the source, but the problem itself is (more or less) that metaphysical assumption of materialism, of denial of God, of spiritual factors being unreal... of focusing on the perceptual world and the goings-on in it as if they were the only things that exist or that matter.
The civilization has turned away so decisively from the spiritual world that even among the people, groups, religions who make the most of not turning away; whatever they may say, we can see that they have turned away - and are actually in thrall to materialism, secularism, and the dominant ideology. This is one way of understanding why secular Leftism, political correctness, progressivism and their companions of statism and bureaucracy are so utterly dominant everywhere... in the New Age, the counter-culture, ultra-radicalism and nearly all people in nearly all religions (including Christianity).
This is a much deeper matter than people making the wrong political choices - this is a flaw deep in our own souls - this is something which poisons each of us right inside.
There is a world of meaning around us, we used to know this (as children, and in earlier eras) and a world of divine communications directed at us; and we are walled-off from it so completely that we are unaware of it and deny it in our lives even (perhaps especially) when we refer to it with our mouths - those few who become aware of it nearly always explain it away (delusions, hallucnations, imaginations, wishful thinkings or pathological dreads) and (by their behaviour and stance) trivialize it.
There is a selective blindness, deafness and general insensibility at work here. It goes further than ('mere') atheism - but poisons our ability to be religious in any way, or spiritual in any way - everything is reduced to lifestyle options and stimuli - including all spiritual discourse.
The extent to which this is the case is truly terrifying when glimpsed - there are vast and primary forces at work around us and in us, and yet we are (both as individuals and more so as cultures) almost entirely unaware of them; yet we perceive them, implicitly and in horribly distorted forms, in the tidal movements of our era.
Nobody has satisfactorily explained the insanity which emerged to general visibility in the later 1960s, apparently at a very specific time in between 1966 and 1968. Something happened, something good tried to get-out; and something went horribly wrong.
Everyone senses that there were some good and important impulses or insights buried in all that - but the outcome in terms of understanding and human behaviour has been appalling: people became dead-eyed sleepwalkers, zombies, cyborgs... cut-off from the primary currents of reality, and whose every effort to comprehend and transform and improve was poisoned at source by gross distortion of perspective based on gross insensibility.
All attempts to do something positive are poisoned at source - either by the mainstream distortion, or else by the distortion of denying the irreversible significance of these tidal forces of good which have emerged in such distorted ways.
We cannot, it seems, go back - because to go back requires denying the destiny of the underlying forces; but we (obviously!) cannot go forward in the ways that we are doing.
Well, where it came from is not really the point - because it is now everywhere - I can feel it swirling in myself as I write, as if like a toxic fog!
This goes beyond cyclical theories of civilization - this is not part of a cycle, it has not happened before.
It goes beyond a mere failure to do what ought to be done (of course we fail, people always fail) - it is something new, this kind of blindness to what should be done and also to the fact that we are not doing it, and also to the fact that we are not trying to do it, and also to the fact that our attempts to make matters better are actually making them much worse.
So what then? What am I asking myself to do instead - what should I be striving for?
Two things: perception and clarity.
I need to perceive reality, including all the important 'spiritual' things which are there and active but excluded from awareness. And secondly I need clarity about these spiritual things - what is needed is not something passive, vague, dreamy, partially-glimpsed - nor something abstract, detached, observed; but instead an active, purpsive, willed, clear headed and fully-conscious and heart-felt kind of perception.
This is not easy to do, it is not clear how to do it, it is not obvious how to maintain this psychological-&-spiritual state once achieved - but that is what is required. It is what we are supposed to do, destined to do - indeed, it is something we ought to have done some time ago (generations ago); and it was our complete failure to do it, which is the ultimate source of the all-pervading problem.