Sunday 23 May 2021

The Fork in the Road

There might be some people who, looking at the previous post, would say something along these lines. "You may not like the modern world, and there may well be many things wrong with it, but what's your solution? Do you just want to return to the past, a past in which there were all sorts of evils and injustices, some of which modernity has tried to correct?"

And my answer would be no, I do not want to return to the past. There was much that was better about the past, most notably a belief in God, a concern with truth and an appreciation of beauty, but it was far from perfect. To criticise the world today does not mean looking at the past through rose-tinted spectacles or imply we would be better off living like that now. Human beings are meant to progress but they are meant to progress spiritually, in terms of consciousness and understanding of life. About 200 years ago we reached a point at which we were supposed to start living more from within our own minds and individual selves, becoming captains of our own ships and growing through imagination and thought. This should have been done from within the context of the recognition of divine being and the spiritual reality of Christ. But the process was hijacked and diverted away from spiritual ends into material ones. There was a fork in the road and we progressed but we took the wrong path. We had reached a point at which the goods of the spiritual path should have started to be internalised rather than taken from outside. But instead of doing that, we just rejected them altogether. We responded to the new influence of greater self-awareness by focusing on the self in its earthly form instead of the self as as a spiritual being and a vessel of divine consciousness. And then, having taken the wrong path, we proceeded more and more down that road into illusion and spiritual forgetfulness. The new attention to the mind and the self was correct. Those who seek to reject these positive developments and return to some kind of atavistic spirituality in which we remain children are wrong. But mind and self do not exist for their own sake. They are there for the greater fulfilment of the soul which we have either abandoned or shrunk to fit its earthly counterpart.

The solution is not to return to the past even if that were possible which it is not. The genie has escaped from the bottle. The problem is we are bad magicians and this genie is controlling us. That's a risk all those who conjure up forces from the psychic worlds understand. The powers they release can consume and even destroy them unless these powers are mastered. And we must master the genie of the self, the ego as it is in phenomenal terms, and submit that to the overlordship of the spiritual soul. This simply means that intellect and ego should be put to the service of God and divine being. We have been too spiritually weak to control the forces unleashed and they are, quite simply, destroying us.

We must not return to the past but we must return to basics. That means the fundamental realities of life. These are spiritual and nothing can be understood from a non-spiritual perspective. The further we are from that, the more we will fall into darkness and chaos. This is happening now. We have no roots in anything and so drift wherever the dominant forces in the world wish to take us. We must find the strength to resist this within ourselves and the only reliable and lasting place is in God, the Creator whose spiritual purpose is for us to become like him. Do you know what that means? One day, if you follow the path destined for you, you will be a god. Spiritual fulfilment is not just wandering around heaven singing hymns in a beautiful world. It is for you to become a creator yourself, perhaps to create your own world with beings who you then guide in the fullness of time to become gods themselves. This, of course, is in a future a long way ahead and it may not be the path for everyone. But it could be for those who wish to take it, and a writer such as Tolkien gives us a hint of what I mean. He created a world in literary form which came from his mind (inspired, I would say, by God or higher beings acting in loco parentis), and in this way he was the creator of Middle Earth, a literary world that has inspired millions. But imagine if he had done this in reality. Imagine being the god of a world or universe, creating it from your mind and peopling it with beings whose life comes, of course, ultimately from God (or Iluvatar in Tolkien's legendarium) but whose spiritual progress is in your care. This, I believe, is a path potentially open to those who wish to take it.

But that lies far ahead. Our immediate task is to start to know God in this life, to get back onto the right road and continue travelling onwards towards eternal life.


Francis Berger said...

This very well sums up my own outlook and beliefs. I appreciate the approachable and comprehensible manner in which you touched upon theosis in this piece. I think under-emphasizing theosis played a big part and continues to play a big part in the wrong turn. It appears the absolute necessity of salvation dulled in the hearts of men when they failed to recognize the creative potential salvation provides.

Bruce Charlton said...

William and Frank - Yes. To reduce human mortal life to only the matter of salvation, actually makes that life irrelevant. Indeed, for some - it reduces life to a person's state of mind at the exact moment of death. Nothing else matters - ultimately.

This is an impossible basis of life - being almost wholly negative and avoidant, a spirituality of trying to to be 'safe'; and it opens wide the door to Satan to take over all the specifics of human living, all the functions. As indeed happened.

William Wildblood said...

I agree. Salvation, though absolutely essential, is just a beginning. What are you going to do with your salvation? That's something we should be working on even now. Salvation in itself is purely passive but we are meant to become partners with God (albeit junior partners!) and that means to engage with life creatively.