Thursday, September 4, 2008

Man and only man can be higher or lower than an animal

Spiritual Warfare at the Leading Fringe of Cosmic Evolution
from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob

Our work is not political per se. For us, there can be no political solution. Rather, nothing short of a transformation of consciousness can alter the present course of history. History is not just a horizontal stream of time, being that it is composed of humans (and cultures) of differing developmental -- which is to say, vertical -- levels. I think about this all the time as it pertains to my three and a-half year old.

I well remember that eternal, magical space that I lived in when I was his age -- about the natural mysticism of childhood -- and about how he is in that identical space, despite all the historical differences. They are all obliterated in the mystery of his pure consciousness, which is being and bliss. When he's getting his way, that is. When he's not, he suddenly transmogrifies into a whining and entitled liberal. Same conscious-energy. Different result.

History, like man himself, is just a middle term linking two ahistorical realities. If we think of history as the residue of, or the tracks laid down by, the Adventure of Consciousness, what is most important for us is not its horizontal meandering but its vertical ascent. In other words, profane history is merely the "stage," so to speak, on which the army of man makes forays into the vertical and slowly colonizes it -- just as some 40,000 years ago, proto-humans slowly began colonizing the a priori space of humanness and all its various "mansions," both high and low.

To put it another way -- and this is a critical point -- the acquisition of humanness was not merely an evolutionary ascent. Rather, it simultaneously -- and necessarily -- involved opening up a space which was lower than the beasts. This is why man and only man can be higher or lower than an animal, depending upon the choices he makes. This is also why history is so surreal and subreal.

Imagine an advancing army, only moving upward and inward; as Sri Aurobindo put it, it is like "a tide or mounding flux, the leading fringe of which touches the highest degrees of a cliff or hill while the rest is still below," or "an army advancing in columns which annexes new ground, while the main body is still behind in territory overrun but too large to be effectively occupied, so that there has to be a frequent halt and partial return to the traversed areas for consolidation and advance of the hold on the occupied country and assimilation of its people."

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