Monday 8 May 2017

England's Failure. Another Chance?

I believe that England was intended to be, or, at least, it was hoped that she might be, a pioneer for a revived form of spirituality in the late 20th century but this failed. It failed through a combination of social and political actions that came about in the 1980s but had their roots earlier, sometimes much earlier. We are still living with the consequences of that today.

At any one time there is always a jostling mass of thoughts and ideas lying beneath the surface, seeking concrete form in the future. Most of these can take a good or bad turn. They can manifest themselves in human consciousness positively or not as the case may be, sometimes both together. It all depends on the receptivity and ability to translate the sensed concept both of individual human beings and of groups. Ideas of love and freedom are obvious examples but there are many others. These ideas can be encouraged in a positive form by spiritual forces but they can also be manipulated and perverted by demonic ones and, sadly, humanity at the moment is often more prone to respond to the latter since this will usually be more in line with its desires and weaknesses and require less effort on its part to bring into expression. (As a brief aside, let me say that if I could ask for one thing to come about in the modern world it would be the recognition of the reality of the devil and his fallen powers.)

So, many ideas pertaining to a fresh spiritual understanding rose to the surface particularly in the 1960s, though pinning a time to these things is always problematic since nothing comes from nothing. These ideas had been around for decades if not centuries in some cases. But in the '60s they broke through to a greater extent and became more embedded in general consciousness. And what was the central idea around which all the other ones revolved? It was that God was not just the transcendent law maker out there but that he was within us as our very being and that we could individually realise that. In essence the idea was that we were divine beings with divine potential. Of course, this idea wasn't usually understood in those terms, people responded according to their own capacity and within the limits of their own understanding or pre-existing ideologies. Nevertheless, realised as such or not, this was the fundamental root idea behind all other ideas to do with freedom, increased democracy, exploration of consciousness, artistic innovation, living in harmony with nature etc, etc. Man can become a god. It has to be said that there was nothing intrinsically new in this. But it was at that time brought out more than before and potentially available to everyone. It was in the air. The possibility of spiritual renaissance existed.

Unfortunately however whenever there is something new that promises to expand our horizons, the corruption of that thing follows closely behind. This is the consequence of us being fallen beings living in a fallen world. The potential for rebirth that was there in the '60s ran aground. It was diverted away from spiritual ends into social and political ones on a much lower level of consciousness. Even when expressed spiritually, as it should have been, it fizzled out into the often narcissistic banalities of the New Age movement. England, which had the chance to be a pioneer in new understanding, failed to take up that opportunity. She was not alone in this. Other countries, most notably America, were jointly involved in this destiny but they all failed and were sidetracked into lesser preoccupations by their own shortcomings and by listening, once again, to the voice of the tempter, always seeking to lead astray.

But from failure can come success at a later time if the lesson is learnt. Might it be that we have another chance to awaken to the realities of the spiritual world? Could the current ferment in the world lead to something like that as people react against all the absurdities of the modern world? Politics has failed us, science has failed us, art has failed us, pretty much everything has failed us. Spirituality might seem the only option now. However if this does happen and significant numbers of people turn to God then every effort has to be made to ensure that this revival is not poisoned at source as happened last time, and that any nascent spirituality is not contaminated by a human-centric perspective as it was in the '60s but submits itself to the wisdom of tradition. True spiritual tradition is never outmoded. Christ came to fulfil the law and the prophets not to replace them.

For any new spirituality cannot really be new. It can only be a restatement of what has always been. Spiritual truth does not change though it may grow, or our perception of it may grow, but if it does grow, it does so organically. And we must never forget, as previously we have forgotten, that although we truly do have the potential to be gods ourselves this must always be on God's terms and never ours. Satan always offers the same temptation as he did in the garden of Eden and all too often we succumb to that temptation.

By complete coincidence I wrote this just before Bruce Charlton's last piece here which covers a similar theme. Maybe that indicates that thoughts about a new chance of awakening are in the air!


Bruce Charlton said...

@William - I hope the chance still remains. I felt that there *was* a chance, never large, merely an opening - but it was a small and temporary window of opportunity.

I fear this is now closing, although not quite closed - and I don't perceive anything at all to suggest the necessary change of heart.

There are several ingrained habits preventing awakening - habitual dishonesty, waiting for 'someone else' to do what is needed (avoidance of responsibility), and the national reflexive facetiousness which kicks-in whenever serious matters arise.

William Wildblood said...

I tend to agree with you, Bruce, certainly as regards any large scale response. Inertia and spiritual irresponsibility will prevent that not to mention the enormous power of the forces ranged against it in both the outer and inner worlds. But still there will be individuals here and there who will react against all that and it is to them that we must appeal. If and when external conditions deteriorate the situation could change.

Bruce Charlton said...

"any new spirituality cannot really be new"

In one sense this is accurate - and we do not seek new truths; in another sense, from our unprecedented situation in modernity, any spirituality is bound to be new in some repects - perhaps major ones - because our persepctives are now so different from the past.

Probably we should try not to be concerned about whether and in what sense it is new - but simply taht it be good and true and viable.

'Viable' because it may well be that *some* of what was good and true in the past is just impossible now, or harmful (because we know it to be suboptimal) - so that we cannot realistically (and should not idealistically) aspire to restore the entirely of the past unchanged.

The future surely will be different from the past - but that is neither a good nor bad thing in itself, simply an inevitability.