Monday 1 August 2016

Why Christians need to be concerned about higher consciousness

Serious Christianity has been all-but destroyed in the lives of people in Western Europe, and the US seems not far behind. But it would be hard, from here, to have a Christan revival, because the whole way of thinking of modern people has been so-narrowed that Christianity is now though-of like everything else.

Before Christianity could revive (in a meaningful sense, and not simply as part of a mainstream  secular-Leftish lifestyle) Western man must recover his ability to think spiritually, at a higher - or more accurately broader - level of consciousness: to think from the heart.

I mean that for most people, people who think in the normal, mainstream, modern Western way - which probably increases with each generation, reaching a peak in the current youth of social/ mass media addicts - their consciousness is materialistic, unspiritual, literalistic - and therefore cannot think about Christianity without reducing its content to the same form as bureaucracy, laws, regulations, scientific hypotheses, engineering blueprints... Or, on the other side of modern life, as ideology, brainwashing, advertising, hype, spin, propaganda, disinformation.

Typical modern Man is an utterly unspiritual being - his though has been narrowed to the theme of manipulation. He sees life as manipulation, and his condition as being-manipulated; and his hope rests on increased capability of self-manipulation.

The ideal condition of Modern Man is something along the line of having maximum control of one's own inputs - especially mass media and social inputs, but also mind and body-shaping receptions of inputs (e.g. by drugs, genetic modification, technological surfacing - cosmetics, plastic surgery etc. - and technological implants) - and therefore control of one's own 'self'.

In practise this means that the false self (which is malleable and purposively constructed by modern society under demonic influence) will eventually eliminate all activity-of and awareness-of the true self (which is divine in origin, and eternal). Modern Man is therefore consciously aiming at his own extinction - his ideal is to be... someone else, some-thing else. To live inside an artificial and constructed technological shell - and for that which lives within the shell to be equally artificial and constructed.

[Scenario: A typical modern Western youth - plugged-into  social media or the internet when not at work; lesiure consisting of intoxication of psychodramatic relationships... becomes A Christian. Life retains its form, but with a different content: different apps on the mobile phone, different websites to browse, perhaps a different social group and different kinds of exciting leisure activity to 'share' on social media. But what has really changed? Unless that needs more than content: needs time away from external controlling influences; needs to begin to live from himself or herself; needs to experience a wider range of 'inputs' - utterly unfamiliar to the secualr mind; needs to think in a different way and and from a different source.]

To escape from this willed-fate of self-manipulation for self-gratification, the 'content' of Christianity will not suffice, because all possible content is assimilated to the materialist way of thinking. Before there can be any meaningful revival of religious thinking there must first be a broadening of human consciousness - so that we recognise, take-seriously, and finally regard as potentially-valid that which lies beyond the current form and content of mainstream culture.

In sum, modern Western public discourse - and increasingly also private discourse - is a head and gut kind of think - bureaucratic rationalism, scientific materialism, legalism etc on one side,; with the self subordinated to the system - and on the other side the instinctive world of urges, impulses, desires - especially sexuality... given an absolute personal primacy of self-expression; with the world subordinated to the individual will.

What is required is an opening-out to the discourse of the heart, of intuition, of discernment; of a world beyond the five senses and the measurable and detectable-by-technology - and equally a world beyond the 'biological' instincts.

This is the expansion of consciousness we need - and I mean need: it is a necessity if we are to avoid the fate of damnation. Because a Christianity confined to the allowed-scope, the perceptual field, of modern Western culture is not a saving faith - it is merely a mainstream institution and a mainstream lifestyle.

As nearly-always, for beneficial change we need two things, not one - and they must follow fast the one upon the other or else secualr modernity will heal-over and leave one or another, incomplete and pretty-much-useless, half-way house of either lifestyle Christianity (new content but maainstream form) or New Age spirituality (new form but mainstream content).

Christianity and Consciousness both - Content with Form - new things to think and a new way of thinking.


George said...

I think modern people need to read writers who are still part of the modern cultural world but seriously question it's scientism and materialism as a transitional phase before they can go on to anything religious.

These writers are still part of the modern world so you can relate to them and they have credibility, but they help dissolve your faith in modern materialism and act as stepping stones to the beyond.

For me it was writers like British philosopher John Gray, Bryan Appleyard, and Nassim Taleb who acted as solvents for my rigid scientistic beliefs. Before that I was into Bertrand Russell!

It's too big a leap to simply go straight to religious writers for modern people. It's too 'out there'.

Thank god for people like John Gray, who despite themselves being nihilist atheists help do God's work.

Bruce Charlton said...

@George. It's great they worked for you, but they don't often work in this way, I dont think. I personally was stuck at their level of secular analysis for at least twenty years. I suspect that much depends on the intent and motivation of the individal - if that is right then the necessary nourishment to get started is fairly accessible. But whatever we do involves trial and error, and we should expect to make many errors - the vital thing is to identify, acknowledge and repent error.