Tuesday 1 May 2018

I am neither pro-, nor anti-modern...

From a perspective that sees world history and human history as an unfolding, a developmental-evolution of human consciousness, then the advent of 'modernity' is seen as a necessary stage or phase in the maturation of the human spirit.

Modernity is, indeed, analogous to adolescence in the individual - it is the necessary transitional phase between childhood and adulthood. In this understanding, early human history is the childhood, and modernity is adolescence: we have not reached adult maturity.

The current phase of Western culture, noticeable in the 16th or 17th century (and beginning even earlier) but most obvious with the Industrial Revolution, is therefore a case of arrested adolescence. We were meant (meant by God, that is) to go-through modernity into maturity, but this has not happened.

In that sense, I am 'against' modernity; because it has become a pathologically-prolonged transition - instead of being a transition it is an incoherent and impossible attempt to maintain a half-maturity and to refuse (because ultimately this is a willed decision) adult maturity.

This is A Bad Thing because adolescence perpetuated is self-corrupting. It is incoherent because it is meant to be a temporary transition leading onwards, being incojherent it does not cohere, which means that it inevitably corrupts. To be a perpetual adolescent is necessarily to become incrementally corrupted.

In ultimate spiritual terms, we are talking about the maturation of human society towards the divine state of consciousness. The divine state of consciousness is one in which that which was unconscious, taken-for-granted, in childhood; becomes known consciously. Not just knowing, but knowing that we know, and knowing what we know.

The maturation of consciousness is therefore an increase in freedom. The child is unfree because he is not separate from his environment, he cannot regard himself and his environment separately. The adolescent can do this - but for the adolescent the separation tends to become a severance; because he cannot see the necessary and intrinsic relationship between the person and the environment.

Thus adult maturity is to know and experience that the self and the environment are distinguishable, but not separable - that they are different and also related. This adult insight is also divine, in that it is the way that God knows reality.

But how does culture and the individual relate? What is the relationship between my development, and the development of the culture I inhabit? For example, can I personally move forward through modernity into an adult state of consciousness while the society remains in arrested adolescence?

Yes, this is possible, indeed it is necessary; it is the way in which culture changes - by individuals changing. The development of human consciousness is one in which the step between childhood and adolescence is involuntary - it just happens and cannot be stopped; but the development between adolescence and adult maturity must be chosen consciously. That is, indeed, how arrested adolescence is possible.

The powers of purposive evil in this world, via modern culture, have induced many/ most people to refuse to choose adult maturity of consciousness - indeed, by creating a dichotomy of being either for or against modernity, they have ruled-out the correct attitude by-assumption; they have eliminated The Right Answer even from consideration!


Chiu ChunLing said...

I find it entirely impossible to believe that modernity is necessary to develop the kind of moral awareness that is eternally significant.

It is a necessary historical development in the same way that Sodom had to become the kind of society that deserved destruction by divine intervention. But it was not necessary for Abraham to live in Sodom, nor did Lot become the better man than Abraham could ever be by virtue of having lived there.

I am against Sodom. And I see no difficulty being against modernity, which is nothing better even if it exceeds the magnitude of Sodom a hundred-thousand fold.

Bruce Charlton said...

@CCL - The impulse to modernity was necessary to maturation, hence good; the implementation of modernity has been almost wholly corrupt - mostly due to apostasy but partly due to the metaphysical errors, materialism and legalism of most Christian churches.