Which is to say, beliefs that I have to put in quotation marks so that I can look at them more directly. Notebooked because they are kind of instructive about what goes on in my head around issues that I treat on this blog and because they are more working speculative hypotheses than anything else.
(1) “You had one job”: Early Modern Europe had a destiny, namely, to put put the entire human species in contact, to create a situation in which it would be possible for a Mayan to drop by the court of a Chinese emperor. Europe executed this task more poorly than could have been imagined.
Global colonialism’s violence toward many peoples and the profound wounds thereby delivered to their spiritual, intellectual, and technical resources, greatly diminished humanity opportunities. May, in fact, have brought the next point (2) into play earlier than we should have–
(2) “Right here, Right now”: The sheer number of people living right now has to be taken into consideration when we talk about our spiritual inheritance and the legacy we might leave. I think the estimate is that something like 7% of all the humans who have ever lived are living right now. Stretch that out to include a century to either side of us and, well, it is kind of crazy.
This may well be the knot of human existence, the thickest point in the thread of our species’ existence, a knot that has already been mangled by the botching of a world network. The resources we have in attention alone, the number of eyes we can put on our own history, may not come again. We may have no better opportunity to understand ourselves as historical, biological, and spiritual beings.
Even if it isn’t that thickest point, what comes after will have to see the past through the dense knot of humanity that we represent, a tangle that will take so much time for them to see clearly, that the past beyond us will be even more dim.
If there is a residue of the early modern European destiny to be salvaged, it is around this point, at being to help establish a sense of the lineaments of human being. Scraping the barrel of this or that people’s mythology, especially with an eye to putting them back into use…not satisfying when so much of what exists now will necessarily die with the wealth of this era.
I want the forms of thought that allow us to better negotiate the interconnections between personal spiritual experience and the historical-biological-cultural-evolutionary patterns through which that experience manifests. I want those forms of thought that capture the possibility of communicating across the differences of that experience.
I want some densely packed but somewhat portable philosophical occultism, an engine that gets us beyond talking about syncretism and eclecticism, orthodoxy and heterodoxy.
God help me, that is crazy, I know. But, hey, maybe I’m the right nut for the job. Probably not, but I like the work.
(3) “It may already be too late”: The game may be over, we may have botched a key moment in our destiny as a species. This one eats at me more than others, of course. In some ways, though, it matters the least. Even if it is too late, acting like it is not may still allow us to salvage more, to maintain some greater portion of what could have been.