Politics of Peace, Politics of War

If there be any lingering skepticism about our fundamental thesis — that the modern mind, intellect, or “mental-rational consciousness structure” (Jean Gebser)  is presently in the throes of its own disintegration, fracturing, and decoherence — and if the abundance of compelling evidence for this examined in this blog, and evident in current events, still fails to convince that the personality and character structure of “modern man” is disintegrating or losing integrity, consider what is happening to the meaning of “politics”.

It is not alone the decay of the university into the “multiversity” of overspecialisation that reflects the decay of the unity of knowledge (and thus of the consciousness structure of Late Modern Man), or “the post-modern condition” we now refer to as “the New Normal” of “post-rational, post-truth society”. The commonplace assumption, today, that politics is “war by other means” — a gladitorial contest, a bloodsport such as assumed by Mr. Bannon and his circle — belongs also to the decay and degeneracy of the consciousness structure we refer to as “modernity”. Politics as war is just another aberrant symptom of the disease of post-truth society. It’s here, in this equation of politics with warfare, where the proverb “live by the sword, perish by the sword” finds its proper interpretation and meaning.

Politics as war is true only of decadent ages, and of civilisations and societies in crisis. There is an effective form of politics and a defective form of politics, just as there is, in Gebser’s terms, an effective mode and structure of consciousness and a “deficient” mode and structure of consciousness. Where “politics is war” is the common or prevailing belief and assumption, it becomes self-fulfilling prophecy. And even the notion of “compromise” or of “tolerance” is deficient politics.

An effective politics, which would be a politics of peace, aims, rather, for unanimity, and unanimity is something beyond compromise and tolerance. It’s the consciousness of shared and encompassing truth that transcends our petty everyday partisan self-interests. Politics as war reflects an excessive individualism and a hyper-trophy of the ego-consciousness in a reified “point-of-view” orientation of consciousness. What differentiates us, what “distinguishes” us, in such terms is considered of more consequence than what unites us, or what we share in common, which, in broad terms, we might call “the commonwealth” or “commonweal”. In a sense, every self-interest, every partisan “point-of-view” becomes the overspecialisation and the over-speciation that we call myopia or tunnel-vision.

The politics of peace involves just as much a struggle. But the struggle here is to discover the means, the language, for the proper representation of a compelling and universal truth. All effective art, literature, and science is this struggle, and it was the original meaning, in fact, of the word “technology” — reasoning about the techne (the means or the art) by which to represent universal truth within language and an idiom of symbolisation that so often seemed to resist adequate representation or revelation. This was the purpose of the original “Trivium” of grammar, logic, and rhetoric, which were the original “logos of the techne“.  Technology, and technocratic logic today, is less concerned with this universal representation of truth (and therefore with the politics of peace) than with propaganda, deception, and perception management, and correspondingly with the politics of warfare, as described by Carol Cadwalladr.

There’s little doubt in my mind that this “meme” — this assumption — of politics as war, rather than the perpetual quest for unanimity through shared universal truth, is preparing the way for, and is an overture to, Gebser’s anticipation of a “global catastrophe”, and will be our danger until such time as people are prepared to repudiate this aberrant and false understanding of politics as warfare. Unfortunately, it has become a vicious mental tautology and, in those terms, a constantly self-reinforcing self-fulfilling prophecy — the reality of William Blake’s “dark Satanic Mill”.

An effective politics of peace for the global era, an authentic globalism, would be the revelation of a shared truth — an unanimous truth — about the human experience of the Earth, and it’s for that reason that more enlightened thinkers — like Jean Gebser, like Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, like William Blake or Sri Aurobindo — were working towards a “universal history”, one in which all the nations and peoples of the Earth could recognise themselves. That such a truth is possible as a basis for “universal history” was also shown in Jill Bolte-Taylor’s TED talk on her “stroke of insight“. Today, however, there are demonic, diabolical, maniacal, fanatical and inhuman forces — forces of the “New Normal” of “post-truth”, of anti-universality, of duplicity, falsehood, and deception, of inequality, of war and terror — that are working against such universal truth and against the unanimity, not just of human life, but of the solidarity of all Life. And these forces, as is quite evident, are in the ascendancy.

And all largely because of an aberrant and perverse misconception and assumption that “politics is war”. which belongs to the evils of greed, malice, and ignorance.



14 responses to “Politics of Peace, Politics of War”

  1. donsalmon says :

    It’s interesting to look at the inverted attempts to create a universal history. I’m thinking in particular of Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd’s “Great Story.’ I met Connie in 1996, when i was asked to facilitate a 6 week discussion on Science and Spirituality at the New York Open Center.

    At the last moment, I was informed that Connie would be joining me. Connie had a masters degree in biology, though no research experience. She was a passionate materialist, and was absolutely incensed that I kept talking about consciousness as having any relevance to the Great Story.

    She insisted, with great “authority,” that my “way” was what she dubbed the “Way of Transcendence,” despite my repeated attempts at explaining the profound embodiment at the root of Gebser, Aurobindo and others i was referencing for discussion.

    Interestingly, everyone at the discussions except Connie knew quite clearly what I was talking about. Since then, I’ve kept track of her travels around the country with her husband Michael. Michael himself admitted that he was keeping the metaphysical basis for his views deliberately ambivalent so as to appeal to fundamentalists as well as liberal secularists. This was superficially an attempt at “unity,” but ultimately (as others familiar with his work have noted) a profoundly dishonest approach.

    I spoke with people involved in Vedanta, mystic Christianity and other spiritual paths who hadn’t been able to think through the implications, and they were generally taken in by this.

    David Korten has struggled with his Great Turning metaphor to put forth a new vision of a universal story, but he seems to end up with the old spiritualist/idealist view which ultimately denigrates the material world (which perhaps was the original trigger for the modern materialist rebellion).

    Joanna Macy has taken up Korten’s view without changing it much. Thomas Berry, at the end of his life, admitted that his “New Story” gave in far too much to the modern materialist ethos, and his coauthor, Brian Swimme, doesn’t appear to have done much to change this. Richard Tarnas, a colleague of Swimme’s at CIIS, has done some to improve this, but to my mind has borrowed too much of the rather bizarre occult ideas (and overly “germanic,” if I may say so without sounding too prejudiced) of Rudolf Steiner.

    Dark forces indeed – there is much that is opposing the forward movement of evolution. I find it utterly fascinating that Trump’s intestine (I refuse to call him Trump’s brain!), Steve Bannon, is in love with the Gita, yet completely fails to understand “dharma,” thinking of it as some kind of militaristic Spartan ‘duty” (he loves Sparta also – the Spartans who Sri Aurobindo, a great Latin scholar, described as probably the most extreme example in world history of a purely will-oriented culture with hardly a scintilla of leavening by the aesthetic soul).

    The asura – the Indian word for the demonic forces – tends to see spirituality through an inverted lens. In Bannon’s mind, dharma – the holding together of the universe in the Spirit – becomes a means of divisiveness. Yet, if we persist in presenting the true understanding of dharma – and in the penultimate stage of the Gita’s sadhana, the abandonment of all Dharmas to the Divine, allowing ourselves to be penetrated to the very depths of our being and utterly surrendered to that Infinite Divine Reality – perhaps it may percolate through the world culture and contribute to the awakening of a truly integral consciousness.


    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      David Korten has struggled with his Great Turning metaphor to put forth a new vision of a universal story…. Joanna Macy has taken up Korten’s view without changing it much.

      I don’t suppose it very much matters, but unless I am mistaken, it was Macy who coined the phrase, ‘The Great Turning,’ which she leaves open-ended in the sense that “there are, perforce, many ways of going about it.” She names a few of them in the video accompanying the introduction on FacilitationForLifeOnEarth.org.

      Korten borrowed the phrase and designated it a possibility whereas Macy simply sees and comments on it, in all its forms, as it has happening now. By her definition, the local presencing project you mentioned would be an excellent example.

      My question would be: What need have we for a new vision of a universal story (or history) when we already have a perfectly unobstructed vision of a universal (hi)story, obscured only by the abject refusal of so many of us to see and recognize it through the cultural lenses through which it shines? There’s nothing new about it. Contrary to popular belief, it’s never been forgotten. It’s as easily to be found in ancient manuscripts as it is in contemporary tomes. Many of us (as Bolte-Taylor) can recount the personal and lived experiences that have led us each to our own unique understandings. What it hasn’t been is at the forefront of the vast majority of human endeavors throughout history. Macy describes the sense of Interbeing and Interconnectedness of which we are all aware as being “on the fringes,” waiting for a “critical mass” to make it “mainstream.” I would describe it as lying at the heart of every human culture on earth, as it has all along.The expression of it certainly tends to get lost in translation. (Or should I say, transition?) Is that by the design of various “emissaries” seeking to utilize it to their own ends? A simple inability to understand what our hearts have known all along? Something else? What?

      • donsalmon says :

        Hi IW a-few-hours-from-here!

        The last time I addressed this on this site – I think it was more than a year ago – Scott and I got into, well, a bit of a heated argument (or it seemed that way from this side – I may have misperceived it).

        By some act of Divine Grace, I have – probably for the first time in 20 years – gone 3 months without an online argument, and before that, I had gotten through most of 2016 with less than one online argument a month. So I’m a bit hesitant to broach what could be a bit, well, let’s see, prickly?

        having said that, I’ll give it a go.

        If the universal story you’re referring to, the one we already have, is something along the lines of “the perennial philosophy” or “the unity of religions,” I’d actually mostly go along, perhaps with a few caveats but mostly I don’t have a problem with that.

        So what is this “new” vision? Given that the Spirit is eternal but we live in the ever changing manifested world, one way to say it – one which i think is more acceptable than the one I’m going to give in a moment – is simply that the universal story needs to be expressed in a way which the people of each era can understand. So the Buddha and the Christ both said that “my teaching is nothing new; it is the eternal Truth,” but the form in which they presented it was different from each others and different from what had gone before.

        But I’m saying something a bit more radical than that. I’m going to make an intention not to argue about it, just offer it and leave it at that, though I’m willing to answer any non argumentative questions about it. (yikes – now that i’ve written this, I’m opening myself up to any number of AHA’s! as people point out to me my argumentativeness in any upcoming responses – oh well, I’ll continue….)


        I first heard of Sri aurobindo’s evolutionary vision in 1975. I was intensely vehemently, dogmatically, passionately opposed to it. The Vedantins had pretty much articulated the eternal truth in the Upanishads and other scriptures as well as it could ever be articulated – at least, that’s what I thought. The idea that it could be presented in new forms was not a problem to me, but the notion that the evolutionary vision was in some essential way “new” was outlandish to me. I was pretty much in agreement with Nasr’s appraisal of Sri Aurobindo’s evolutionary vision as possibly the most extreme manifestation of the utter darkness and maya of the Kali Yuga.

        However, because of some dim faith, I persisted, and by 1996, when I read through The Life Divine twice, something opened in me, and I actually saw I had been almost deliberately yet unwittingly ignoring or actually completely misreading every single passage in the Life Divine which even vaguely hinted at something “new.”

        Nothing I’ve heard or seen or experienced since that opening in 1996 has suggested to me that this vision is not new. As Gebser himself wrote about his awakening in the early 1930s, all that he presented in EPO is only a tiny fragment of the vision that Sri Aurobindo presented (Gebser actually attributed his integral vision to having been in the “force field” of Sri Aurobindo)


        If you want to see a half way decent presentation, you can look at Michael Murphy’s “Evolutionary Panentheism” http://www.itp-international.org/files/Murphy_EP_April16.pdf

        But probably the best presentation is Satprem’s “Adventure of Consciousness’ (well, the best is The Life Divine, but Satprem is MUCH easier!:>)) http://www.aurobindo.ru/workings/satprem/adventure_of_consciousness_e.htm

        Of course, I read it in 1976, and it took me 20 years to get what it was about. But you’re probably a quicker study than me:>)


        • InfiniteWarrior says :

          the universal story needs to be expressed in a way which the people of each era can understand

          Thus, The Matrix, et al. Not a new ‘vision,’ per se, though perhaps a new (or contemporary) way of expressing it. I see what you’re getting at.

          You kind folks must think I’m off my rocker a’times, but of particular interest to me is how this “universal story,” as well as ‘deficient’ or ‘defective’ forms of it (yes, I’m looking at you, ME3 ending), is being expressed in the “mainstream” both consciously and, perhaps in the case of the somewhat defective, subconsciously. It’s not out there “on the fringes,” but as much a part of the “mainstream” as everything else.

          Thanks to all.

          • donsalmon says :

            well, at the risk of appearing ornery (or, with Infinite warrior, off my rocker!) I would say that, at least Sri Aurobindo and the Mother themselves were quite adamant that there was indeed a truly new story. The full manifestation of the Truth Consciousness on earth, something that has never happened before.

            In Sri Aurobindo’s view, the Vedas hinted at it, but declared it impossible – at least, at the time.

            The time may be ripe for it now, or it may be a few thousand years from now, but whatever it is, from their view, it’s utterly new, a “virgin forest” as the Mother often referred to it.

            abdulmonem got it wholly – the human formulation of this – or more specifically, the mental formulation of it is quite literally impossible. the words i just used are completely useless, at least, in a way, but “new” is something worth mulling over. at least, over some hot apple cider

            • InfiniteWarrior says :

              “new” is something worth mulling over

              I tend to think of this in terms of the “Eternal Now.” God knows enough books have published about it in the last decade. One would think we would get the hint. Unless I’m mistaken, this is the “irruption of time” of which Gebser speaks.

        • Scott Preston says :

          It will take me a while to work my way through those links.

  2. abdulmonem says :

    Before speaking of a universal story one should ask about the narrator of that story and ask is it appropriate to speak of human formulation of a universal story away from the original story. It is such misguided step is the key that opened the door to all this mess. There is one basic starting move that, if it is engendered appropriately, will open the door to the divine presence that is as Don mentioned ,the utter surrender to the divine truth. It is an experiential story. We are participators in his knowledge once we open the door of surrender to him and only to him that is why he negates any god beside him and considers any association with him a fatal road that makes the human loses himself and goes astray. We are all equipped with faculties that enable us to read his cosmos without the intermediary of any other human thoughts but only the pointers thoughts of his prophets, that is to look into his actions and be aware that his essence is beyond reach and our only connection to him is through the vibrations of the words which are themselves are supplied to the humans to facilitate his and His errand on this earth. Complete freedom from the slavery to other idols is only obtained through our surrender to the one who is supreme in his cosmos. It seems the processes of naming are the openers to understanding the message of the divine and the message of the human. It is an inner personal journey that manifests itself in the outer manifestations which are already divinely designed. Remember that He has created you and created what you do and He has created how you know and what you know. Let us be humble in his presence and do not allow other thoughts to disperse us fragments fragments and forget our whole with the whole. We are living in a time of pretensions and claims and one has to be alert to the corrective divine measures that are going to be unleashed on our oppressive and lying world, top and bottom.

  3. Scott Preston says :

    For all practical purposes, what is called “universal history” and what is called “Perennial Philosophy” are the same, or at least convergent. Not much point in discussing “integral” without appreciating the philosophical and the historical as aspects of the one process, for otherwise we simply repeat the habits of mind-body dualism

  4. Charles says :

    Good ideas as usual. Thanks to Scott, Don, IW, abdulmonem and others. My perspective tends to accept ideas that resonate. Let us say that behind the veil of appearances is an unity in diversity that seeks wholeness. There is an initiation in process that is happening on planet earth. All the sages that are mentioned Aurobindo, Gebser, Macy are profound as far as they inspire each of us to action. If one can imagine “light at the end of the tunnel” one is called to cross that bridge into the unknown.

  5. abdulmonem says :

    The eternal one never changes our understanding of him that changes in light of the expansion of the human consciousness and in light of the divine program to make his divine truth be known to humanity. Of course the divine truth always delivered in the prevalent language of the time,however its expression in words is a personal matter that is unique to everyone in light of the person transparency, receptivity,sincerity,devotion and his expressive power that has been bestowed on the seeker. We are given and all that we possess are given together with the engulfing cosmos,yet we have been gifted with a free consciousness to participate in the formulation of our personal story in relation to the giver and other human companions. Yes it is a process of mulling over our understanding that can not reach anchorage as far as the eternal one is concerned, that is why he is eternal and demands our constant search and watch. Life is an exercise in soul balanced building and not in misbalanced body building . Extremes is deplorable in the path of the seeker. It is a battle within the self that tells the human that you are many that needs to move to oneness that is to be one with one or as one sufi said alone with alone.

  6. donsalmon says :

    I’m not sure how worthwhile it is to go any further along the same lines…. but….

    here’s an article by Ashramite/physicist Ulrich Mohrhoff which has some striking and colorful descriptions of the new world being born:

    Click to access 38-33-1-PB.pdf

    Here’s a fairly long passage which gives some inkling of this. I’m not aware of any spiritual tradition in the world which speaks so specifically of replacing the physical organs of the body with centers of conscious-force; and doing so on the basis of a supramental or integral consciousness.


    Supermind, as I have explained in yesterday’s talk, is by definition the one and only force in the world. All other forces are its fragmented workings, which are automati­cally integrated into their parent dynamism whenever that manifests itself in its own right. Supramental force is the wholly effective will-power of an infinite and integral consciousness, and whenever that manifests itself, all limitations of consciousness are automatically annulled. The forces active in the body are liberated from their blind, automatic, habitual modes of working and the consciousness presently locked up in the cells and particles of our bodies (or in the determinisms governing their behavior) is released. For this reason the supramental consciousness will be the consciousness of the body. But to liberate the force at work in the body from its automatisms is, in the Mother’s words,

    “such a dreadful and gigantic fight against all the laws of nature, all the collective sugges­ tions, all the earthly habits, that unless you are a fearless warrior ready to go though anything, you had better not start the battle. . . All the automatic habits of millennia must be changed into a conscious action directly guided by the supreme Consciousness. (14 October 1953 and 22 January 1966)

    The following notes concern this rather trying aspect of the process of supramental­ ization.

    “Every time the rule or domination of Nature’s ordinary laws is replaced at one point or another by the authority of the divine Consciousness, that creates a state of transition that has every appearance of a frightful disorder and a very great danger. (3 February 1968)

    “Everything has to be changed. It’s no longer the heart that must pump the blood, it’s no longer the stomach that must digest the food — the whole functioning has to be changed completely. And every single one of these cells tries to make sure that everything should work as usual! (9 January 1963)

    “If it were a matter of stopping one thing and starting another, it could be done fairly quickly. But keeping a body alive, making sure it continues to function, while at the same time pursuing a new functioning and a transformation. . . that makes a kind of very diffi­ cult combination to realize. . . In ordinary life, you think things, and then you do them — here it’s just the opposite! You must first do things, and then you understand them, but much later. You must first do without thinking. If you think, you don’t achieve anything; you are simply back in the old rut. (6 October 1962)

    “The whole solid base that makes a corporeal person is gone, pftt, removed!. . . You see, everything we do, everything we know is based on a kind of semiconscious memory of things — that is gone. There is nothing any more. And it is replaced by a sort of luminous presence. . . Things happen, they come effortlessly, just what is needed at just the right time. There is none of that baggage we constantly drag around with us: just the thing you need. (4 May 1968)

    “Suddenly the body finds itself outside of all habits, all actions, reactions, consequences, etc.; and that’s. . . (the Mother opens her eyes in wonder), then it goes away. It’s so new for the material consciousness that, for a minute, it panics. (20 May 1970)

    For years, the Mother witnessed the cells of her body oscillating back and forth be­ tween their old subconscious automatisms and this new fully conscious spontaneity.

    “In one position everything flows like a river of quiet peace (it’s truly marvelous): the whole creation, all of life, every movement and every thing is one single entity, and this body feels like a very homogeneous part of the whole, and everything flows like an end­ less river of smiling peace. And then, oops! You trip, and you find yourself again situated, you are in a certain place, at a certain moment in time; and then a pain here, a pain there. . . (31 May 1962)
    It’s as though the consciousness were pulled or pushed, or placed, in a certain position, and then those improper functionings [of the body] appear instantly, but not as a conse­ quence; the consciousness just becomes aware of their existence. And if the conscious­ ness remains long enough in that position, there are what we usually call consequences; the improper functioning has consequences. . . But if the consciousness regains its true position, it stops instantly. (8 September 1962)

    Here the Mother touches upon an extremely subtle relationship between conscious­ ness and fact. The improper functioning mentioned in this passage is at first not a fact but the misrepresentation of a fact: it is the new functioning as perceived by the old consciousness. However, if the consciousness persists in its old fragmented way of see­ ing, the functioning too becomes fragmented: the one and only force actually disinte­ grates into the usual congeries of forces, which are once more subject to their old laws. Yet one has only to regain the unitary consciousness and, with it, awareness of the one force behind all forces, for the now factually improper functioning to cease instantly, without anything to be remedied, without leaving a trace. The following two notes throw further light on this extraordinary phenomenon.

    “The education of the physical consciousness (not the body’s global consciousness, but the consciousness of the cells) consists in teaching them, first, that there is a choice:. . . to choose the divine Presence, the divine Consciousness, the divine Power (all this with­ out words). . . It is a choice of every second between Nature’s old laws, together with some mental influence and the whole life such as it is organized — a choice between that, the rule of that, and the rule of the supreme Consciousness. . . And it’s every second of the day (it’s infinitely interesting), with practical examples — for instance, the nerves: If a nerve obeys this or that law of nature, together with the mental conclusions and all that — all that machinery — then the pain starts up; but if it obeys the influence of the supreme Consciousness, then a curious thing happens: it isn’t like something getting “cured”; rather, it’s as if it disappeared as a sort of unreality. (26 June 1968)

    “What we call “concrete,” a “concrete reality” — yes, what gives you the sense of a “real” existence — that particular sensation has to disappear and be replaced by. . . It’s beyond words. . . It’s all-light, all-power, all intensity of love at the same time, and a fullness! It is so full that nothing else can exist beside that. And when “that” is here, in the body, in the cells, it’s enough to direct “it” onto someone or something, and everything falls im­ mediately into place. So, in ordinary terms, it “heals”: the illness is cured. No! it doesn’t cure it: it cancels it! That’s it, the illness is made unreal. . . For it isn’t the action of a “higher force” through matter, into others: it’s a direct action, from matter to matter. What people usually call “healing power” is a great mental or vital power imposing itself despite the resistance of matter — that’s not at all the case here! It is the contagion of a vibration. So it’s irrevocable. (12 July 1967)

    At any moment, in any condition, the one Consciousness-Force can revert from its fragmented, unconscious and automatic mode of operation to its original unity: instead of all the usual vibrations of the body, there is only one single vibration, as the Mother observed (11 May 1958).

    When this reversal to the wholly integrated and inte­ grally conscious mode of operation takes place, all oppositions are immediately an­ nulled: there no longer exists anything that could resist, anything that needed to be mastered or cured.
    Nor are the effects of the reversal confined to the individual in which it takes place. When the forces at work in one body regain their unity, they also regain their unity with the forces at work in other bodies. It is therefore not surprising that many times the Mother experienced the illness of a disciple as if it had attacked her own body, and that when she put things in order in her own body, things fell back into order in the disciple’s body as well.

    For Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, the eventual appearance of a new species of supra­ mental beings is inevitable. It is, moreover, a sufficient guarantee for the ultimate transformation of all terrestrial life into a thing of beauty to us as yet inconceivable. The Mother’s notes also afford some tantalizing insights into the modus operandi of this transformation.

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      Let me see if I can, at least, partially put into words what cannot possibly be put into words.

      I completely understand what you’re saying. It’s what I meant when I said that “what it hasn’t been is at the forefront of the vast majority of human endeavors throughout history,” which corresponds to the quote included in one of the PDFs linked:

      One is a world of truth and the other is a world of falsehood. And it is this world of truth which must come in front and take the place of the other.

      This notion of “two worlds” — the false and the true; the illusory and the real; the mundane and the heavenly; the normal and the supranormal — permeates all our wisdom traditions. The Western Christian “thing to do” that is widely and, often purposely, misunderstood is “hating the world for My sake.” Well, we can certainly see just how egregiously that one is misunderstood. What it doesn’t mean is literally “hating the world” along with everyone and everything else in it, though that’s usually how the misunderstanding goes. Particularly troublesome is that one word, “world.” What do we think of when we think of “the world.” The earth itself? The “world” human ego-consciousness has plastered over the face of the “real world?” (Well, that might be a bit closer to the actual meaning, but still not quite right.) This, I think, is rooted in a misunderstanding of John 12:24-25. He didn’t write, “hate the world for My sake.” He wrote, “anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (Such a weird word to choose and use to describe this, though: “hate.” Somehow I doubt that’s a proper translation. I’ll have to trace it to the original source.)

      In the Christian tradition, “heaven” is understood to be “the real world.” Why, by contrast, “hell” (which is best understood simply as “suffering,” in my book) is not then understood to be the false one is anyone’s guess, but it isn’t. These two worlds are, of course, generally misunderstood to exist sometime and somewhere else. Ergo, millions of people — as in the time of Jesus himself — typically spend their lives waiting or even pining for “the real world.” It’s “somewhere” they will “be” after physical death as opposed to the here and now in the true eternal sense or it’s a “kingdom” that will be established on earth at some point and time in the future.

      I gather an awful lot of Christians miss the hint Jesus introduced into the mix: “The ‘kingdom of heaven’ is within [and among] you,” i.e. right under our noses — right here; right now; every moment of every day. The difficulty of which “the Mother” speaks, methinks, is bearing that in mind every moment of every day, much less keeping it at the forefront of our thoughts every moment of every day because — let’s get real — that’s ever been nearly impossible to do other than in solitude. Furthermore, our efforts to understand and be understood by other human beings ever has been quite the exercise in frustration both historically and presently. This is no doubt why it’s said, “Seek to understand, then to be understood.” [Dr. Stephen Covey] Or, a better variation of it, “seek to understand before you are understood.” After all:

      It is easy in the world to live after the world s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. ~ R. W. Emerson

      Right. I’ve yet to meet or even hear of anyone who can actually do that 100% of the time, though a few of us — generally those “monks” and “nuns” who have the luxury of spending so much of their time in solitude — come awfully close. Solitary? Of course, and quite naturally at that. One on one? No problem…usually. Groups? Oy vey! (For the sake of our host, I think I’ll forego an appropriate Carlin quote on that last, hilarious though it is.)

      This is the task before us as I see it. It’s not “replacing” (though I’ve used that term myself in the past) what Morpheus refers to as “the world that’s been pulled over eyes to blind [us] from the truth,” but to transform it in the sense of bringing “the real world” to the fore both personally and “organizationally,”if you will. (This is often stated as “integrating the shadow” these days.)

      This “new world” you speak of, Don, will not be realized tomorrow or even 1000 years in the future in my view. This “world” is within and among us as we speak. Macy actually sees it whereas, perhaps, both Macy and Korten, et al, think that it’s off somewhere in the distant future waiting for “critical mass” to be born. This “new” world is not “new” as most of us presently understand it. It is, perhaps, “new” in the sense of the “Ever-present Origin.” My point is that it doesn’t require a “new” story be told to come to fruition in the here and now.

      Now, if we could just get past that whole ‘frustrated understanding’ thing, perhaps we’ll also understand that we don’t need “new structures,” in Macy’s terms, or “new institutions” or “new” what-have-you for “the real world” to come to fruition — here and now, every day — on a grander scale than it already does and as it always has on one or another scale.

      For Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, the eventual appearance of a new species of supra­-mental beings is inevitable. It is, moreover, a sufficient guarantee for the ultimate transformation of all terrestrial life into a thing of beauty to us as yet inconceivable.

      Sounds a lot like what another commenter proposed: that it will take some kind of biological event to transform human beings into…well, an entirely new species. “Star Children,” maybe. (I’ve read The Life Divine, but am not at all sure that’s what Aurobindo himself had in mind so much as “the Mother’s” interpretation of what he had mind. I’ll have to re-read it.) Either way, I’d have to say (as Mother Abigail might), “Mayhap so.” Then again, “Mayhap not.” I wouldn’t know. As for the “ultimate transformation of all terrestrial life…” I don’t see a problem with “all terrestrial life.” In fact, I think “all terrestrial life” is an inestimably perfect “thing of beauty” as it is…with the exception of the human ego-consciousness incessantly being plastered over the face of creation…thing…we’ve got going on.

      Speaking only for myself, of course, I’ve consciously chosen from this day forth to focus on those aspects of our cultures that are actively engaged in doing “the real world” here and now as opposed to incessantly staring at, writing and talking about either “the real world” or its inverse. It’s one thing to be aware of and even be “abysmal,” in the truest sense of the word, about “the shadow world” currently at the forefront and quite another to be so obsessed with it that, in all our perpetual digging, we fail to realize “the light at the end of tunnel” isn’t actually at the end of a tunnel or, especially, an “arrow of time.”

      I don’t think I’ll concern myself with whether or not that is understood, though I will say that no in the room, so to speak, should take it personally.

  7. donsalmon says :

    and an interesting comparison by Ulrich between Gebser and Aurobindo: http://anti-matters.org/articles/74/public/74-67-1-PB.pdf

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