The Future of Civilization, a response to Bruce Charlton and Amo Boden

    Bruce Charlton has written a post, "What will be the political system of the future? A prophecy" to which Amo Boden responded with "In Defence of Civilisation."  The theme of the first post is that large-scale politics will decline.  Charlton writes: 

    "There will be no future politics in the same sense that (as far as we know) there is no such thing as politics in small scale, nomadic, tribal societies. That whole level of things will cease to exist."

    The second post expands on this by discussing how the organization of society comes from consciousness: 

    "For the great civilisations of the past were not 'experiments' invented in the minds of social theorists - they were the expression of a divine order that people experienced within consciousness. People participated in civilisation according to principals that were immediately real to them - not abstract. The Ancient Greeks philosophised about politics and society in the sense that they wanted to fully comprehend the divine order behind these outer phenomena. They were not social reformers, setting out to plan, abstractly, a utopian society along utilitarian lines like we moderns do.

For this reason it would also be meaningless to suggest that ancient civilisations were 'authoritarian'. They only appear that way to our modern way of thinking. Once one accounts for the evolution of consciousness it becomes necessary to attribute the god-like leaders of past civilisations as an expression of that reality.

    In this post, I want to expand on both of these themes.  I agree with Bruce Charlton that (assuming it survives in some sense) civilization will become less organized.  The trend that we see over time is society becoming more and more organized and at larger and larger scales, moving from small tribes to larger tribes, to nation states.  And this increasing organization has proceeded at a faster and faster pace.  Furthermore, even within society more and more aspects have become organized and specialized at larger and larger scales.  We have moved from a time when most industry was at the household level to modern society where there are hundreds of jobs all performing highly specialized functions.  

    The mainstream view is that this will continue indefinitely.  But there is no reason to think that.  In fact, as Amo Boden's post points out, to understand the past correctly, we must realize that the societies of the past arose from the consciousness of their inhabitants.  The societies of the past ran on entirely different principles than the modern world.  We need to understand them in their own terms, not simply as modernity with technology subtracted.  

    And in fact, this is what we do see in our society.  Large scale groups no longer have motive force on their own.  Many exist in name only.  But it was not always this way.  One example is that it was not unheard of for many workers from 3 or so generations ago to hardly take a day off.  The reason was not because they didn't have anything better to do, but because their job was a real thing, not just an arbitrary creation of bureaucratic rules.  And people felt this intuitively even if they could not articulate it.  '

    Bruce Charlton provides an excellent analysis of the decline of groups in his post "The dwindling of willed telepathy: recent changes in the evolutionary development of consciousness."  In this post, Charlton suggests that angels were attracted to groups and human beings were telepathically receptive to the influence of the angels.  I am not sure that all groups were formed this way (by angels specifically), but I agree with his analysis that groups were held together by spiritual forces.  There are two elements: the spiritual forces which provide cohesion and human beings who are receptive to these spiritual forces.  One example would be the monk Johannes Trithemius (1462-1516), who sheltered from a snowstorm in the Abbey of Spondheim and then decided to become a monk.  Groups really worked like that back then.  

    But, if human consciousness now has shifted, then the spiritual forces have withdrawn and most human beings are not receptive to them.  So, groups will be formed from the bottom up, not the top down.  

    In a comment on my earlier post, Amo Boden quoted Owen Barfield's saying, "the interior is anterior."  I had to look that up and found that the meaning was: 

"[that] man's 'inner world,' his subjectivity, is in fact the mirror, the microcosm, of the forces of the external, objective world, the macrocosm"

or, conversely, the macrocosm is the mirror of the microcosm.  In other words, our external culture reflects what is inside human beings.  I think this is an excellent way to encapsulate the situation.  And it shows us what we need to do.  Develop what is good within us.

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