Tuesday 23 May 2017

Illiterate, tribal Christianity - The Outsider's utopian hope for society and politics - The Outsider's Handbook and Pocket Companion

Past Outsiders have been blocked and trapped by their assumptions: primarily by their belief that Christianity was superseded. This is an error: the future is Christian; and the only relevant question is Christianity of what kind?

In terms of the desired social changes - Outsiders have lacked ambition and radicalism - hopes have seldom been more than keeping society in its basic nature but wanting to make more niches for Outsiders such as themselves - and, of course, according a higher status to Outsiders...

But a society based upon the creative and self-motivated individual would need to be utterly different from any society since the agricultural revolution about 12,000 years ago.

Indeed, a society based on the aptitudes and destinies of individuals would need to be a tribal and familial society - in basic form much like those of hunter-gatherers.

Such a society is the only type which can be natural and spontaneous, which can avoid the alienation inextricable from complex social organisation - specialisation, coercion, planning: fitting people into pre-decided roles...

The difference is that the original hunter gatherer type societies are largely un-conscious; lacking in awareness of their knowledge. Such societies are similar to the life of early childhood in the way that tradition is simply accepted, society is accepted, morality is accepted... indeed such things are not consciously known, there is no awareness of 'religion' or 'law' - for example - these are simply how life is done...

But a future society which would fulfil the hope of Outsiders would - inevitably - be aware of its behaviours; including that all behaviours are partly-given and partly-chosen - that is: humans participate in creating the meaning and purpose of Life.

In effect, the future (the intended or destined future) is that we return to the same kind of spontaneous and natural way of living as in the simplest early societies - yet with the enhanced awareness, knowledge and participation of fully agent individuals.   

(Children and hunter gatherers are hardly aware of themselves as distinct from their societies - but human destiny is to be conscious agents; so the future is of living in 'tradition' as it happens quite naturally, with full awareness and by choice.)

Such a society is not likely to be literate - nor is it likely to have a priesthood - nor rituals; no churches or temples - and presumably no scriptures.

We need to be able to imagine a Christianity which is orally-transmitted; indeed more than this. We should recall that there are immaterial, non-sensory modes of communication; and Christianity can and should be known by such ways (if or when we lived in a higher state of consciousness).

Christ was a fact, a cosmic fact, a living fact - he changed everything, forever...

Therefore, Christ can be known without scripture, and without us being told about him - he can be known directly, and in a way fully adequate to the needs of a Christian life.

If/ when such a time arrives when Men have developed their consciousness to a level that we can simply perceive reality; we will be able to know Christ (rather than merely know-about him). Such a Christianity might be very simple, in some respects perhaps fluid; yet it could be true in all necessary respects, and of immense personal power, because fully experienced.

The Outsider therefore needs to be able to think, to imagine, beyond beyond complexity, organisation, specialisation, books, plans and fixed institutions... beyond what we take for granted (and which will, indeed, be necessary and beneficial for a long time to come, very probably).

We cannot, therefore, root our ultimate convictions in things that may be contingent upon particular and temporary types of civilisation - when the future may well undo civilisation - as something which has served its purpose; and must give-way to higher and better things.  


John Fitzgerald said...

I think that's your most far-sighted post yet, Bruce. It made me think of Tolkien's Middle Earth which is suffused by the Divine yet without formal religion (except Faramir's three bows to the West). Maybe that era refers still to mankind's early childhood though as JRRT saw his work as taking place before what we know as history.

Bruce Charlton said...


Thanks. I am here trying to stop being 'reasonable'; and simply allow imagination to seek understanding without compromise. I think you must have tuned into this!