Monday 7 September 2015

Direct awareness of spiritual beings - past, present and future (Jeremy Naydler)

I came across a strikingly thought-full and thought-provoking interview with a philosopher/ gardener called Jeremy Naydler - I was impressed by his quiet, slow-spoken honesty.

From about 16 minutes there is a sequence of reflections on the change of consciousness since ancient (pre-Christian) times.

For the ancients: it wasn't a question of belief or superstition - they were living with a direct awareness of the world being full of these spiritual beings... an invisible reality was interpenetrating the visible reality...

It makes you notice that today our consciousness is incredibly reduced, and we don't realize the extent to which we have become ignorant of things which are incredibly important...

The gods have had a terribly hard time! The one thing they want is for us to become aware of them again - or to at least acknowledge that there is something beyond what we perceive through the five senses or through all our amazing instruments and machines.  

The work of Owen Barfield, or of Rudolf Steiner (which is the immediate context for Naydler's interview), is a about the change from this 'original participation' in a world of spirits, via an intensification of the ego/ self such that we can no longer perceive the world of spirits, towards a 'final participation' in which we will retain our strong sense of self and freedom of choice while reconnecting with the spiritual world - the world perceived as alive and conscious.

I explain this to myself as:

1. living immersed in the world, then
2. isolated-from the world and aiming at a future when we are
3. in a relationship with the world.

But a first step towards this desirable goal may be a simple acknowledgement of the potential reality of imperceptible spiritual beings (in some form or another, by some description or another) - involving an acknowledgement that we have no reason to assume that ancient peoples were always and necessarily being childish, ignorant, gullible or deluded on this subject.


John Fitzgerald said...

Jeremy Naydler's a class act. He teaches at the Kathleen Raine-inspired Temenos Academy in London.

Leo said...

" our consciousness is incredibly reduced, and we don't realize the extent to which we have become ignorant of things which are incredibly important." This is a profound insight. Modern man hungers for spirituality, but doesn't know how or where to find it.

"The one thing they [the gods] want is for us to become aware of them again." Well, for the spirits or forces of good, generally, yes, at least insofar as we can bear it and benefit from it in our present circumstances. But evil ones might prefer, for now at least, to work undetected. That seems to be the modern situation.

Bruce Charlton said...

@John - God to have your endorsement.

@Leo - Yes. If you watch that part of the video, the way he says this sentence, the facial expression, conveys a part of its meaning.

It must be a profound sadness to God to see so many of his children blundering around, so absolutely determined to ignore him and all of the help he sends us, pre-armed to explain-away all possible encouragement and guidance.

David said...

Wow! I really do wish there were more people of such obvious warmth and wisdom in the public domain (and that this mans insights were not as fringe as they are now) and that the world would want to listen and learn from such people. It really was quite an absorbing interview and for me a clear and potent articulation of what it is exactly in the modern world and modern human psyche that is most missing and thus causing so much disaster and heart-ache for mankind. If we were all able to even partially embrace a perspective of valuing the emotional and qualitative alongside the quantitative/rational and had the wisdom to balance what he described as the two 'luciferian' and 'Aramaian' principles (spelling?!) then we would certainly see great blessings for human civilisation. Of course, this balance is contingent upon the realisation of the necessity of embracing the 'being of love' as the only key that dissolves the irascible knot of attempting to balance these oppositional forces of spiritual reality. In this task Christ is our saviour and we cannot as weak individual souls hope to do it alone. In my opinion.

David said...

Btw my apologies for such awfully unedited or grammatically lacking prose; long paragraphs, typos, etc. I find it very hard to write on a mobile phone (which is what I usually comment from on this blog) then edit as I would on a word processor. Predictive text is also a hazard. I hope at least the gist of what I am trying to say in 'stream of consciousness' style makes sense.

Nathaniel said...

So through that lens the technological approach to the world is often more akin to abuse, rape, and slavery (e.g. any sort of modernized industrial farm) while the traditional or magical approach is based on relationships, alliances, respect.

The one everything is objectified (literally) and used, the other everything is alive and cared for.