In which the author ponders if he has wasted time chasing political and historical facts, while other things worth knowing have gone unnoticed…
Travel broadens the mind. Home is where the heart is.
Every person can assert, I know my own truth and I originate my reality. Ideology does not include all possible realities.
Politics is the art of the possible. Politics is a necessary evil.
The foregoing statements will be the bones of my column this week. Around these bones I hope to attach some observations that amount to a coherent body.
Having just returned from a visit to childhood haunts and significant family ties in Ontario, my mind naturally turns to the meaning of roots and our various ways to grow in different directions from our origins. This leads me to think about my own intellectual preoccupation with politics and history over my lifetime. And I never stop thinking lately about the ways you and I and everyone else inhabit a world we construct as much by our habits of mind as by the material environment our bodies move through.
It is perhaps tediously obvious to my regular readers that I think about the present situation of the world as a critical, perilous threshold. Not precisely doomy, but decidedly in a key of “vast transformations are about to happen very quickly; many dark possibilities hang over us.”
I have conversations about this world situation frequently with my friends because we share a perspective. We are friends because we share values and attitudes in life. It is this collective vision of how things are unfolding on the planet, in human and ecological matters, that is the “created reality” I and others like me, inhabit.
In Ontario, I spent much time with people who do not live in my reality. This present moment in history, politics, environment, economy, climate, and so forth, does not occupy the front and centre of their awareness or consciousness. They pursue careers, raise children, invest money, discuss Olympic sports, read novels, plan for vacations, retirements, or new accomplishments, in a state of mind not dissimilar from my parents’ or grandparents’.
Summed up, this attitude might sound like this: “Life will go on. Tragedy will strike in various mysterious ways around the world, but less so in the rationally-ordered part of the globe called Canada. We will do our best to have a secure life, have our families, resist evil, be good to people as much as we can while we take care of our loved ones, and stay healthy so our lives will be long and we can see our grandchildren grow. The economy will rule our choices. Science and technology and democracy will do what is needed to control the future for us.”
Who am I to say to them, “You are in denial. You are out of your minds to think things can go on. The world is in crisis and you are living like we still have solutions!!!’
But I wanted to say that.
Who am I to claim my truth and reality are more substantial than others’? Who am I to say that a Chinese or Indian person’s ambitions, to rise from poverty into the middle class in their homelands, are insane?
At this point, it is apparent that travel has certainly exerted force to widen my mind. Loving Nelson and my life here as I do, still I will not allow myself to drown my mind in my personal story of what is real; I will constantly remind my internal Witness that I am not the only person telling himself he understands what is going on. I will enjoy these differences and accept that everyone believes they possess understanding.
“Everyone” is not, however, equally conscious of the way the cosmos operates.
In esoteric teaching, only initiates of the Mysteries, spiritually-disciplined hearts and minds, the wise and the enlightened, really are conscious. In exoteric, mundane affairs, many expert people claim to know better than most what is happening; politicians in democracies cannot say so, but they do not hold the intelligence of the ruled masses in high regard. Elite minorities, whether ruling classes, philanthropic secret societies, or cabals of higher consciousness, claim to ‘lead the sheeple’. Knowledge feeds elitism.
Please, reader, indulge my understanding of reality, and accept my truth that we are in a perilous place. Dangerous waves are poised to crash over us with ever-higher force. The economics of our global system, our climates, diseases, famines, wars, and political chaos in several shapes, will overwhelm us and kill tens of millions, before another era of relative calm.
For an experiment, wrap your head around that.
Now perhaps you ask yourself, “Has evil been unleashed upon us?”
Probably you recoil from the concept of evil. Postmodern Western minds are not educated in any tradition for speaking about evil, except in our enfeebled religious traditions. Evil is a word for clergy, for Christians or other faith communities, but not for everyday parlance. Some find the idea quaint, or outmoded, or irrational, or childish.
Charles Eisenstein, a writer I have been trying to popularize with anyone who might listen to me, has written about the issue of evil, but for once I find his insights not as penetrating as I would like to read. He is a relativist, and in his understanding, evil comes from perspective and situations. Unlike Eisenstein, I think evil might indeed be a principle, a force, an entity, or a phenomenon with intent. (To grasp his view, read his online essay, “Synchronicity, Myth, and the New World Order,” which he specifically recommended to me when I emailed him to ask about his view of Evil.)
I also am not comfortable with the notion that evil has an actual motivated intentional-directional quality. Satan, Lucifer, Ahriman, Seth, Loki, Saturn, Moloch or any other named superhuman entity in our histories, seem to me to belong to the childhood of human consciousness, not to our maturity.
Nevertheless, as I have written in another column, the starting point of understanding in esoteric tradition is the reality of God. I do not agree with exoteric critics, that belief in God is part of the childhood of human consciousness, not its maturity. Notwithstanding the rants of aggressive New Atheists like Chris Hitchens, God has to be included in our cosmic comprehension. The god of your understanding, by all means, but god must be there. Leave open the doors of perception; entertain hypotheses of spirit, soul, deity.
We confront the problem of understanding how humanity has gotten itself to this place in history. Why have our best individual intentions, our bright prophets of love and beloved teachers of compassion, not dominated mass politics, cultures or economies?
Are humans victims of evil, or its authors? Are some of us good, and others not? – the very notion that Eisenstein most dislikes.
I have tried to comprehend humanity through the lens of politics. My first column weeks ago was determinedly political, an angry analysis of Harper and his effect on Canada. But politics in our culture has lost any intimate connection with spirituality. Politicians are dismally average materialists. Spirituality, not materiality, will be the quality that brings humanity through the crises ahead. Consciousness must become reacquainted with spirit in political culture. Then we can talk meaningfully about evil, but not before.
And thank-you for indulging my reality. Please return to the story of your own choosing.
Charles Jeanes is a Nelson-based writer. Click here to read Mr. Jeanes previous column.