Monday, 7 November 2016

The way forward - spritually - is not to weaken nor to lose, but instead strengthen and expand the individual self

From a perspective of Owen Barfield's descriptions of the evolution of consciousness, given its properly Christian basis - a great deal about the failed spiritual awakenings of the past 200 plus years becomes apparent.

There is a lot of experimentation, twisting and turning, and seeking for pre-existing solutions - but while all have contained essential truths, none of been satisfactory and all have been self-sabotaging.

For example, CG Jung's idea of Individuation was a partial insight - but being lodged in a materialist and Godless world view it was useless except as a (feel better) therapy. Or; the attempt to restore the fullness and integrity of pre-modern religions addressed many of the problems of modernity - but failed to account for the weaknesses, immaturity and stultifying aspects that led them to be so comprehensively displaced by secular modernity - and in such a feeble and helpless fashion.

In sum, nothing that has been tried will suffice; and if we regard it as possible to have a future; then it can only be something unprecedented. 

One problem is that the theoretical discussions of such matters takes place in an over-complex fashion, which takes for granted that human analysis and understanding is capable of complex balancing acts... I see no evidence that this is true, and much to suggest that the actual operation of spirituality and religion is very clear and simple and resistant to nuance and complexification.

Indeed, trying to make things complex either fails altogether - with complex theory being unpacked into simple practise; or else merely weakens faith, as we see all around us.

So, I conclude that The Answer we need (and seek) must be both simple and unprecedented; and the fact that Life is 'an adventure full of failures' means that unprecedented does not mean some complex new synthesis of what went before - but some simple and new principle/s. 

Such things are easily misunderstood by the human propensity to deny the unprecedented, by reducing it to merely combinations, selections and extrapolations of familiar past things. Genuine creativity is seldom recognised nor acknowledged as such - perhaps because it is so individual and personal and unique (we only perceive the results, but the creativity comes from the process and is only indirectly known from the outcome).

The destined (that is, divinely hoped-for) future of Men is not through any return, but through taking the modern isolated self and not diminishing or subordinating it - but intensifying its self-awareness, its divine awareness, its individuality; while opening-out its perceptions, perspective and natural powers. 

As William Arkle understood; we need to live as God (our Heavenly parents) hope for us to live; which is ultimately not in terms of living in a psychological state of dependence, worship or perpetual thinking-about God but rather in terms of living how God wants us to live.

(We are God's children - and can understand that as a good parent He does not - ultimately - want His children always to be thinking about Him, nor modelling ourselves on Him as a template; but rather to live well as unique autonomous mature grown-ups - each of us to live an unique path, and from his or her unique nature to develop towards eer-more unique and unprecedented contributions to the whole loving and growing situation that is eternal Heavenly Life...)

And this living is to quarry-out, elaborate, our own unique destiny, in practise, with trials and errors, and not according to a standard pattern or mould; guided by an increased awareness of the loving divinity within, and the objective reality of God's creation without.

Modern Man cannot but regard a life subordinate to external guidance as passive, hence negative - and this is correct; such a life is merely a temporary expedient (albeit sometimes necessary, especially in a state of immaturity).

But, just as we should not pretend to children that they will always be children and living under authority; so we must recognise that our spiritually mature goal is a situation of extreme individual autonomy and agency, in increased knowlede-of and the maximum possible harmony-with the loving world of God's creation.

We must not be afraid; in particular we must not be afraid of Life - and indeed there is no reason why we should be afraid, given our exalted status and the safety-nets provided by Christ.

So, in confidence, but also the humility of knowing we will err and need to repent, we each of us should tackle Life, starting now and from here and without awaiting the go-ahead or permission from anybody else - not needing it; and with complete confidence that this will be effectual and significant, when viewed from that larger and spiritual scope of true-reality. 

Note: For more on the ideas of Barfield, you could start here: 
http://www.owenbarfield.org/articles