Saturday 15 April 2023

How we make our 'luck' - individually and socially

Most of us are prone to lament our own 'bad luck' - whether in terms of personal adversities, and/or the the time and place we inhabit. 

A Christian who believes that God is Good, as well as the creator, ought to assume that overall, we get the 'luck' we need.

Yet it feels wrong to attribute to 'everything that happens' to 'the will of God' - because that would put us into a position of passivity, and God into the role of a manipulator rather than a teacher.

So, on the one hand, in a created universe there is no such thing as 'luck', but on the other hand, in this reality made of beings in relationships, all purposes are not those of The Creator. We need to understand other ways by which life works.  

What follows is one of my favourite passages from the work of William Arkle - and one that has had a major influence on my thinking. 

Whenever I return to it, I find myself struck with renewed force at its discerning wisdom.


Edited (by me, for brevity and clarity) from 
A Geography of Consciousness by William Arkle, 1974

It is accepted that if we cut off the leg of a live bird, the bird feels pain and distress. But we suppose that if we cut off the branch of a living tree, the tree neither feels anything nor is aware of anything. While it is accepted that the tree is a living ‘thing’, it is not considered a living ‘creature’. 

This is because the tree cannot communicate its distress to us. But the fact may be that we are simply incapable of receiving the tree’s communications. 

Out of the thousands of such  assumptions made about our natural background, many will be quite wrong and a lot more partly wrong. 

We have denied real intelligence to most of the animal world; but species like the dolphin are now found capable of a high degree of intelligence, playfulness and co-operation with man. This has not been recognized before, simply because we had not tried hard enough to develop communications with the dolphin. 

It has been too readily assumed that lack of communication implied lack of consciousness; but never in ourselves, always in what we failed to communicate with. While it is not suggested that we can talk to stones, there is some sort of communication which links us with everything

And if the structure of nature is conscious of us, even if we are not properly conscious of it, this structure will express its friendship or hostility - and which will be based upon our attitude to 'the environment'. 

Because we do not get the messages from the background we avoid responsibility for failure to communicate. Therefore, when we suffer from savage storms, we assume that the savagery does not originate from our-selves but from 'nature'. 

[Either storms are meaningless and 'just happen', or] superstitiously, we fear that maybe some God is angry with us... We seldom consider the possibility that we ourselves have upset the structure of the natural background (of which we are an integral part) through the more intangible aspect of our personalities. 

The burden of all this is that a great deal of our ‘luck’ may be caused by the reaction of our background to the quality or attitude of our own consciousness

As this is a collective phenomenon in most instances, we may find ourselves conditioned by unpleasant effects which are not the result of our wrong attitudes but of the attitudes of our fellow men. 

This sort of luck or background conditioning falls equally upon the deserving and the undeserving. In sum; this sort of luck is not luck at all, it is the result of our collective behaviour. 

To put it into a few words, it is a rational proposition to say that if we lived more harmoniously with one another as well as with our background of ‘natural phenomena’, then this background would become more harmonious to us. 

Such a good outcome would not be caused by the intervention of God, but as a direct result of the unconscious effect our attitudes are in creating in the structures on which they impinge.


This, I find a helpful perspective from which to consider the (partly self-willed) end of Western Civilization, and its consequences. 

We may find ourselves interpreting much of what has-happened, and (presumably) will-happen in terms of our 'bad luck' in living here and now, and with such evil rulers. But the fact is that while our attitudes and choices affect our own lives, they also affect others - otherwise they would be merely subjective. 

And the flip-side of the power of our own good choices to benefit the 'collective' situation is that we ourselves are inevitably part of 'the collective' - indeed, typically we are far more collective in our attitudes and choices than we recognize. (as with such phenomena as RUP - Residual Unresolved Positivism; or R.U. Leftism).  

So when we ourselves become targets of environmentally destructive Climate Change politics, or antiracism and the transagenda, or (maybe soon) find ourselves embroiled in World War Three - there are two aspects to the situation: inner and outer; individual and collective. 

Individually, it is usual that some of our own attitudes are supportive of exactly that which is being-deplored. Typically, we support some 'principle' (or institution) that, further down the line, leads to consequences we don't like.

For instance, we act in ways that support agencies, charities, corporations, political groupings etc, who pursue net-evil goals, harm human beings and the natural world, and encourage people to reject salvation and choose their own damnation.  

Therefore; collectively, we have, by our individual attitudes and habits, earned a share of the adversity that falls upon whole communities from economic collapse, totalitarianism, and war. 

This should not be understood as an excuse for fatalism; because we are (if we choose) individuals with a capacity for positive spiritual influence of a general nature - beyond ourselves, beyond our minds. 

But conversely, as part of the same set-up; we are all somewhat responsible for evils of the collectives of which we are part. 

We can and should repent our complicity in evil, but repentance is not reform. 

We may know and reject evil; yet we cannot cease from doing evils; including to the non-human world of beings (whose agency and capacity for communication we typically deny). 

Therefore we should not be surprised when this living, conscious, purposive world of beings - who are as mixed in their nature and motivations as are we - try to 'tell' us ('communicating, sometimes, by various adverse occurrences) that they dislike what we are doing to them; that they react-against us,  

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