The Future of Man’s Possible Evolution

These are very strange, turbulent times; quite unprecedented in some ways. In some ways, also, not so unprecedented. We call such moments and times “pivotal”, which is to say crucial or critical. Past and future, new and old (or “neo-” and “paleo-“), origin and destiny, come into decisive confrontation and conflict. Many paths open up, leading in different directions, all of them contending for our loyalties and for “hearts and minds”.

The ballyhoo of competing propagandas for this way of life or that way of life is an omen, not of the “end of history” so much as of the breakdown and disintegration of the human form — the human psycho-spiritual configuration or “gestalt”, if you will.  Eric Kahler calls it “the breakdown of the human form” in his book The Tower and the Abyss. Jean Gebser describes it as the disintegration of a consciousness structure in his book The Ever-Present Origin. It’s called “crisis of identity” in other circles. Nietzsche described it in terms of nihilism and the death of God. It has also been called “post-modern condition” and “end of the Grand Narrative”. It was the theme of W.B. Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming“.

The “times are out of joint”. What do these things mean?

The whole period of the World Wars, 1914 – 1945, constituted a revolution in human affairs. I don’t believe that we have yet caught up with the meaning of this period. We always seem to come to ourselves too late. It nonetheless was anticipated by Nietzsche as belonging to his “two centuries of nihilism” — decoherence and disintegration of the human form as a prelude to…. X.

Nietzsche nonetheless ardently hoped that this “X” — the unknown possible human — would be the spiritually awakened “overman” — a new psycho-spiritual configuration, “the free spirit” — as a kind of resurrection after the death of God and the crucifixion of the human form that is his “two centuries of nihilism” and the dark night of the soul.

The “overman”, or transhuman — the fully self-overcome human who even in some ways has ceased to be “human, all-too-human” — was also anticipated as a possibility of X by others. Sri Aurobindo referred to it as the “supramental consciousness”. Jean Geber, of course, anticipated it as the emergence of “the integral consciousness“. In Jung, it is the fully realised Jungian “Self”. Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy simply referred to it as “metanoia“, or “new mind”.

This is one pathway, but it is not the only path that is opening up. There are many other probabilities, and the point is that each will be attempted. Many paths will begin and end in desolation and an evolutionary dead-end. There will not be one “human race” per se, but multiple threads and identities, human gestalts, and “species of consciousness”. We are already seeing the divergence, are we not? We are already seeing “cyborgians” and various man-machine hybrids as one example. Gender pluralism is another. Genetic modification is yet another likely probability.

The implications of the “end of the Grand Narrative” is a crisis of identity, and the crisis of identity is a symptom of the disintegration and breakdown of the human form, by which I mean the psycho-spiritual configuration or pattern hitherto called “Man” or “person”. This psycho-spiritual configuration is the meaning of Man, or what some are pleased to call “human nature”. Identity, however, is not fixed. It is merely a definition to which we subscribed and conformed, and that subscription was called “the Grand Narrative”. At root, nihilism is the disintegration of the human form (the human mold or human archetype or psycho-spiritual “gestalt”) and the dissolution of a singular narrative of identity. “Human” has become contested territory. “Human” has become liquid.

Under circumstances of widespread identity confusion, it is necessary to guard against attempts to seduce the human psycho-spiritual configuration or lure identity into new, limiting forms or definitions, or what is called “pigeon-holing”, which is the current function of much propaganda. Much contemporary propaganda is the attempt to manipulate and control the meaning of “Man” or “human”, and thus the identity, and the focus and spectrum of possible human perception. This is what I’ve referred to as “the foreign installation” in the past. It is what William Blake called “the mind-forg’d manacles”.

No one definition of “human” is likely to prevail in the future. There will be different experiments in the psycho-spiritual configuration; different “time threads”, or pathways through time, different arrangements of the psychic furniture, as it were. Different combinations and configurations of Blake’s “Zoas”, perhaps — the constituents of the psychic whole. Some will bear fruit and others will be fruitless. Some will be healthy and others will be dead-ends. All the pathways of possible human evolution and the possible human will be attempted at once and co-exist.

It will be a strange world.


4 responses to “The Future of Man’s Possible Evolution”

  1. abdulmonem says :

    You ignited my poetic proclivity.
    It is a strange world
    The Gog and Magog are released
    waves into waves
    liquidity, the flux of Heraclitus, the formless in order to shape the new form
    all possibilities are available, even ballyhooing and pigeonholing are part of the deal
    close in order to open again
    the grand narrative is in the process of mature becoming, evolving until the prescribed date, the death of everything
    the second coming is heralding the out of joint of time
    the prodigal son and his return
    the termination of vaticination does not mean the death of god because god is deathless
    it means new opportunity as understood but not realized by Nietzsche
    we are researchers in this divine laboratory called earth
    naming and misnaming
    beware the trap and always keep in mind the distinction between the signified and the signifier, without forgetting the divine anchorage
    the who both seen and unseen
    we are already seeing in the divergence
    disconfiguration is a must for configuration
    we learn no black without the antibody of white
    human has always been a contested territory
    a ground battle for the god and the devil
    three for three
    the harmful self, the blaming self and the tranquil self
    who is harming who, who is blaming who and continue the mystery
    the human faculty of resolve
    , either fruitful or fruitless
    and we are pawned by our faith and deed
    what a beautiful journey for those who are aware.

    • Scott Preston says :

      disconfiguration is a must for configuration

      Indeed. There’s the gist of it, or the coincidence of opposites, or… as Rumi put it, “darkness is your candle”.

      Rumi, the great soul, walked the true “shari’ah”. It is called by other names “path with heart”, “the Good Red Road”, the “road to Shambala”, and so on. Knowing Christians call it “the way of the cross”. It’s the path that leads through this world and yet is not really of this world.

      ““Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again , come , come.”

      What a great soul! There are so few like him.

      Under present world circumstances, we can do no worse than follow the great wisdom of “the path with heart” as Castaneda’s teacher described it to Castaneda,

      “Anything is one of a million paths. Therefore you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path. If you feel you should not follow it you must not stay with it under any conditions. To have such clarity you must lead a disciplined life. Only then will you know that any path is only a path and there is no affront to oneself or to others in dropping it, if that is what your heart tells you to do. But your decision to keep on the path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition. I warn you. Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary.

      This question is one that only a very old man asks. Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same, they lead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush or into the bush. In my own life I could say I have traversed long long paths but I am not anywhere. Ask yourself, does this path have a heart? If it does the path is good, if it doesn’t it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere but one has a heart and the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey and as long as you follow it you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong, the other weakens you.

      Before you embark on any path ask the question, does this path have a heart? If the answer is no, you will know it and then you must choose another path. The trouble is that nobody asks the question. And when a man finally realizes that he has taken a path without a heart the path is ready to kill him. At that point very few men can stop to deliberate and leave the path. A path without a heart is never enjoyable. You have to work hard even to take it. On the other hand, a path with heart is easy. It does not make you work at liking it.

      I have told you that to choose a path you must be free from fear and ambition. The desire to learn is not ambition. It is our lot as men to want to know.

      The path without a heart will turn against men and destroy them. It does not take much to die and to seek death is to seek nothing.

      For me there is only traveling on the paths that have a heart. On any path that may have a heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge for me is to traverse its full length. And there I travel looking, looking, breathlessly!”

      There is a doorway and a gate. It could be any doorway or gate. Yet, right here and right now, in this very moment, it can become THE doorway or gate to “the other world” — the “mystical path”, as Rumi calls it. Every doorway is a transit point; every gateway a threshold; every moment is pivotal. The Logos is every moment and each grain of sand. “Heaven in a Wild Flower and Eternity in the hour” as Blake puts it. It is every step you take. The next step you take and you may suddenly spring into the Infinite. It has happened.

      Why are human beings satisfied with so little?

  2. abdulmonem says :

    You disheartened me when you mentioned men and forget the other important half. The path of the heart knows no gender.I am heartfully with your cry at the end of your comment and sorrow wears me, as how can one deprives this aspiring self with its multi-varied doors from meandering in this ever expanding cosmos and accompany Blake or Rumi in their journey from the finite to the infinite. As they say when the eye of the heart goes blind the eye of the face does not help.

  3. LittleBigMan says :

    “Why are human beings satisfied with so little?”

    It seems to me it’s because human beings have not quite understood – or the vast majority of us pay any in-depth attention to – the various aspects of ego (e.g. the senses, emotions, thoughts, intentions, etc.) Everything is really lopsided in the direction of the senses which are very poor indicators of the true nature of reality.

    It always makes me feel good to read the words of Seth or don Juan Matus. Thanks for that excerpt above. The wisdom in those words never quits.

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