Sunday 8 December 2019

Things coming to a point - Reverse engineering modern Western society to discern the spiritual function of this kind of experience

What do the social conditions in the modern West tell us of the nature of souls being incarnated in this era? These are, after all, novel conditions - unique in the history of Man.

We may potentially be able to reverse engineer our features and trends; that is, we may be able to discover the spiritual functionality, on the assumption that God has designed this world for the salvation of souls.

The features include a pervasive arrested adolescence due to a refusal to grow-up spiritually. This includes an extreme of adolescent detachment from The World, self-consciousness, solipsism, sensitivity, mood instability. Alternations between hedonistic excitement and existential despair. And the usual tradition/ parent detaching adolescent rebellion perpetuated to the point of subversion and then a satanic, systematic value-inversion.

So far, so bad - and the evidence of increasing demonic domination is undeniable; but the fact that this is allowed to continue should lead us to suspect that God is 'using' the evil with the intent of turning it to some good.

Specifically, it may be that the people (that relatively small and shrinking minority of the human race) who are born into The West include many souls for whom this is a suitable environment for them to attain salvation (paradoxical though that may, at first, seem).

Here is a guess. The Modern West takes us to an historically unprecedented extreme point of driving home harsh lessons; to the point that there is No Escape. The soul is finally stripped down to a level at which Life has nothing to offer, and then the soul looks at God... Eventually, there is nowhere else to look.

This is things coming to a point - this is the point toward which things are tending.

We live in a world of increasing incoherence, and this incoherence is increasingly coerced. What might be learned from an environment of mandatory incoherence, official insanity, moral/ aesthetic and truth inversion?

The answer: to experience these, each for himself, in the fullest possible degree; to have them strike deeper and deeper; past the many and superficial facets of personality and fakery; and in towards our true and divine selves.  This is the confrontation that God (perhaps) is engineering; the starkest possible contrast between our naked self and the literally-hellish environment of The World...

A stark contrast leading to a stark choice: affirmation of that which we know (from experience) to be incoherent and nihilistic; or affirmation of God. That is, affirmation of love.

A hammered-home knowledge of meaninglessness, purposelessness and utter isolation in a dead world of materialism; and then, a direct knowing of creation, Being, and the friendship of Jesus Christ.

Things are brought to a point where the experiential knowledge confronts our divine self, by virtue of being children of God; our true self with its innate and hereditary knowledge of the divine. And this need not be taught - it is a fact, spontaneously knowable.  

If we further assume that many or most people born into the modern West are souls who were, before incarnation and from our pre-mortal spiritual existence, exceptionally beset with sins... then this extreme harshness of experience may be necessary for there to be the best chance of salvation. These are souls so short-termist and selfish that these sins must be stripped-away by despair to leave-behind what may be a small residual core of divine goodness.

In other words, the consequences of the sins are allowed the fullest operation to provide the harshest spiritual outcomes in order that their true nature may become as obvious as may be contrived; such that at the moment of choice the starkest possible contrast with salvation will become apparent to the densest and most recalcitrant of selfish hedonic natures (such as seem to prevail here and now).

Of course, Men are free agents and there is always the possibility of denial - every Man can deny God the creator of the universe (it was his prideful intoxication by this astonishing fact that seemed to corrupt the Lucifer, and many others). Yet we can imagine that at the 'moment' of death, that 'moment' can be concertinaed-out - much as we experience in a dream - so that the full consequences of Life may be surveyed fully and the choice made.

And not just our own life is relevant, not a person's residual love; but also the love of others will (at that expansile 'moment') be known as experienced reality.

Those whom we love, those who love us; this goes into the balance at the moment of choice, and tends to draw us to choose salvation and the Heaven where such love may be sustained and increased for eternity.

Thus evil is used against itself. The worse the evil, the deeper and more considered the evil, the more sustained and systematic the evil - the greater the incoherence and despair at the last - and the more complete the stripping away to reveal the residuum of the true self in its nakedness.

So long as there is indeed love, there is a chance. But those souls that lack love have nothing to set against the evil. They have nothing to weigh in the balance; and their choice is highly likely to be for damnation, where their sins are retained, and the 'promise' is that they may be indulged without restraint. What would such people want with a Heaven that is eternal loving creation?

But God cannot see-into our divine self to know whether there is, or is not, love. The conclusion of our time of choice cannot be foreseen. And this is exactly why the earthly experiences and trails are necessary; why - in our current extreme - the situation is engineered that things are brought to a point of maximum contrast and clarity.

Our time is one by which love will be revealed no matter how small and feeble: if love is there, somewhere, hidden, buried deep and covered-over by sins... by superficial materialism, short-termism, selfishness, hedonism; no matter how distorted by value inversion and lusts for sex, power, status...

The conditions of modernity are well-suited to bring those who most need it to a clear recognition of the nature of good and evil, the distinction and difference between them - and to the making of a final choice based upon the malign experience of sin that is intense, painful; and very hard (but not impossible) to deny.


jana gatien said...

But isn't despair a sin?

Bruce Charlton said...

@j. Yes, that's what I said. God does not make sin, but tries to turn sin to good effect. Despair is the natural consequence of our choices of assumptions - no God, materialism, dead universe etc. The despair corrodes illusion and reduces the soul towards nothing but the divine essence. The choice is simplified to everlasting despair... Or the gifts of God, God's creation.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

“Our time is one by which love will be revealed no matter how small and feeble”

That’s interesting. In my experience so far, the glaring difference between good and evil which the modern world has revealed is not so much a question of love as one of honesty and respect for the truth. Love seems such a universal motive that it can hardly be the principle that separates the sheep from the goats.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm - This is a second point to the post - to clarify that there are (I believe) some people who turn out to be (and this is not known in advance, although it may be strongly suspected) incapable of love. No matter what is done - these ones will presumably choose against Heaven.

William Wildblood said...

People incapable of love. Yes, I know some people I suspect may very well be just like that. Outwardly moral but inwardly there is no love at all. Perhaps it's a question of "much will be forgiven of those who have loved much."

Francis Berger said...

You have addressed this many times on this blog, but this post is your best take on the subject thus far. What you cover here is of vital importance - perhaps the core question of our lives in the West. I felt impelled to share this post and add a few thoughts on my blog. I only hope what I have added to the subject there does justice to what you have expressed here.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William - I envisage the possibility of people who were too passive to become demons in pre-mortal life - and just went-along-with things in Heaven; but with the agency of mortal life, it becomes apparent that they are completely selfish. Some people that get called psychopaths (including a few children I have encountered) seem that way. But even God can't be *sure* they are destined to damnation, so (because God loves all his children) they get their chance.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Frank - Thanks very much! I agree that it is a subject of great importance, and neglected - so I (also) feel impelled: to keep worrying at it...

Nicholas Fulford said...

You are speaking of the 'via negativa' method of cutting away dross to arrive at a silent and pulsing present. (I was going to use the word awareness, but awareness is second order, it has a distance that removes a person from the intimacy of the moment. It is like saying "I love you" as oppose to being in the wordless state that we try to frame with the word "love" while with someone that we trust enough to share that moment with - naked.)

The via negativa is a path of honesty and surrender of form. To use an analogy that the Persian mystical poet Rumi used very often, it is being in the wedding chamber and throwing all veils to the floor. To stop and become fixated on a veil ends the process of being drawn more deeply into presence. A veil is a surface, and what is drawing lies beneath it. The moment a person thinks, "Aha, I have it", is the very moment that they have gotten lost. Fortunately, all veils are like flowers, they whither and collapse after their season.

The difficult thing in our time is to not become trapped by the ego into a frenetic decent into a gravity well. The ego's greatest fear is that it is not real, and that dread drives the ego into tighter and tighter turns in a spiral that stretches and distorts like an object approaching a black hole. Even so, any particular moment affords the opportunity to be free, but the fixation of the ego is such as to almost never see it. Beauty is only alluded to on surfaces. It springs from hidden spaces that are implicit and persistent. Any of us, at any time can shine like stars, and yet most of the time we don't.

Bruce Charlton said...

@NF - No, I am Not talking about the via negativa! Your perspective is apparently non-Christian, perhaps Buddhistic; but what I am saying here is based on the totally different basic assumptions of my usual Mormon/ Barfield/ Arkle theology.