Thursday 31 January 2019

Spontaneity, selection and training ('initiation') in the developmental-evolution of consciousness

1. We begin spontaneously in contact with the gods, with the spiritual realm - dwelling immersed-in it; passive to it. Such is early childhood.

2. The gods recede as self-consciousness develops - spiritual specialists begin to be selected from those who have a spontaneous 'gift' for contacting the gods and spirits: shamanism among 'animistic' hunter-gatherers.

3. As well as selection, there is a period of training (or 'initiation') leading to a profession of god-spirit specialists: the priesthood among the 'totemic' religions of agriculturalists (including herders).*

4. Self-consciousness reaches a maximum and the gods and spirit realm become inaccessible: the alienation of modern materialism.

5. The conscious-self deliberately-chooses, again-spontaneously, to interact with gods and spirit beings: this is Final Participation (the aim of Romantic Christianity).

*Totemism is what most modern people know as 'traditional religion - that which grew and reached its peak among literate agriculturalists; indeed some would assume that this is the only 'real' religion since the founders of the great world religions all emerged in agrarian societies. Yet such religion - although better than the alienation of materialism - is far from wholly-satisfactory. Its basic stance is one of an intrinsically hostile world, with hostile gods and spiritual beings that require appeasement; and this appeasement can only come from a 'priesthood'. Therefore, there is absolute dependence on priests to avert the innate malevolence of reality. The laity may crave contact with the gods and spirits, but the deities are leaving man's consciousness because in order to gain freedom consciousness is creating a barrier against direct perception and knowledge. The state of absolute dependence on an organised and initiated priesthood leads to growing-child-/parent-like state of resentment and superiority variably mixed-with gratitude and an ethic of service. In such a situation of at-least-partial hostility, religion often darkens as self-consciousness increases: religion becomes based around the management of fear.