Martin LeFevre: Averting Spiritual Extinction
Averting Spiritual Extinction
It’s chilly, partly cloudy, and thought-stoppingly beautiful in the parkland. The creek rages by like a wild green animal. Though the mind falls silent without too much difficulty on such a day, one wonders, is thought-consciousness just too deeply entrenched on this planet?
Tiny buds are erupting from the branches of large and small trees all around, and the green banks and groundcover pierce to the heart. The chilly air on the skin contrasts with the spring-like scenes to the eye, and that adds to the uniqueness of the day.
The atmosphere is without precedent in the park as well. Not only because the past can find nothing to attach itself to on an afternoon like this, but mainly because it’s one of only a few such matchlessly pristine days per year.
The existence of a movement of collective darkness in human consciousness is beyond reasonable doubt. As the saying goes, the greatest achievement of the devil in the modern age is convincing people he doesn’t exist. But the actuality of evil does not necessarily mean there is a movement of intelligence in consciousness, much less that there is a cosmic mind that ‘cares’ (to use an anthropomorphic term) about the fate of humankind.
My question in this column is not about the origins and nature of evil however. The really interesting question has to do with whether there is anything besides darkness and its negation (which brings an awareness of infinite wholeness and goodness). In other words, does a third movement exist, an intelligence working within human consciousness as a whole, coming from beyond the ‘mind of man’?
It’s obvious that evil is man-made, a by-product of thought-consciousness rather than some preexistent force in the universe (as “good vs. evil”). That means humans are doing something, or neglecting doing something, that generates evil and continues to sustain and increase it. Since darkness is a growing force, overwhelming all but the strongest individuals now, the question of whether there is a movement besides darkness and negation in the individual is a crucial one.
For if there is nothing but darkness and potential negation in the individual, then it seems clear that humankind won’t survive. Darkness and evil simply have too much momentum, and are simply too powerful, for all but the very strongest individuals to inwardly survive and flower.
What probably began in North America—the extinguishment of the spirit of entire peoples—is quickly spreading around the world. That’s the true threat of globalization.
Because humans are such extremely adaptive creatures, people are adapting to the deadness--by becoming dead themselves. Therefore even as it becomes increasingly intolerable to swim in the sewage, it’s increasingly difficult to go against the current.
The belief system of individualism is an excellent conductor of darkness because the powerful idea of ‘my uniqueness’ utterly blinds individualists to how identical they are to millions of others. Advertising caters to the illusion of uniqueness in a hyper-personalized culture of consumerism, and conditions people further to think of themselves as separate individuals.
But since human consciousness is a single thing, operating much like the Internet, the more unaware one is of its pervasiveness, the less unique one is, and the more easily one is manipulated by physical and metaphysical forces behind the pretty curtains of positive thinking. So when you hear someone say, ‘I’m an individual,’ it’s an admission that they’re like everyone else.
The movie “Fallen” with Denzel Washington chillingly captures the principle of conduction of evil through indistinguishable conduits, though it also holds that a person can’t do anything to prevent it. In the central role played by Washington (the actor not the city), the character is powerless to prevent the demon from overtaking and using him. The truth is that collective darkness can only consistently flow through and use a person who remains willfully ignorant of themselves and the polluted sea we all swim in.
In the global society, culture in the old sense of the word (distinct patterns of practices and traditions shared by particular peoples) no longer exists. And though not all cultures are dead, all are quickly becoming moribund.
Ironically, it’s up to the individual (as opposed to the individualist) to save humankind from spiritual extinction. For if one is aware of one’s darkness (fear, hate, anger, hurt, sorrow, etc.), and remains with and thereby negates it, collective darkness cannot enter and use one. That stops its spread. Of course this means one has to want to feel, rather than run away from feeling, as countless conduits are doing.
So is there a movement of intelligence at work in human consciousness beyond the movements of darkness, and its negation? Perhaps there is such a movement, but clearly, it flows out of self-knowing and the negation of darkness within.
- Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He has been publishing in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe (and now New Zealand) for 20 years. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The author welcomes comments.