|Prometheus observing Athena giving reason to his creation, Man|
"(...) Most of what we perceive in the human environment is made up of concretized ideas. Look again at a human community; you are seeing the historical human mind manifesting itself.
All ideas are not equally good, of course.
This is why John Ruskin, a century ago, tried to introduce a distinction between wealth and illth. This distinction did not become accepted and incorporated into our language because people, at that time, were not ready for it.
Wealth, in Ruskin's sense, consists of all those artifacts (concretized ideas) which enhance human life, or life generally. Illth consists of those artifacts which destroy, demean or degrade life. A factory that pollutes the air or water is illth in this sense, so is a bomb, a sword, a pistol, a tank of nerve-gas.
The Westward migration of Capital noted by Brooks Adams was a migration of both wealth and illth.
Obviously, under primitive planetary conditions - finite space and finite resources - the illth was perceived as necessary to protect the wealth. Territorial politics are much the same among domesticated primates as among other mammals; the primates are just smarter at building more omni-lethal weapons faster. This was originally a survival trait, an Evolutionary Relative Success, because primates are born without the physiological inbuilt weaponry (lethal teeth, claws, horns etc.) of other mammals.
Since the Age of Reason in the 18th Century, the exponential increase in wealth (life-enhancing ideas manifesting) has led to more and more Utopian yearnings. At the same time, the equal and opposite increase in illth has led to more and more dystopian and apocalyptic fears.
One's expectations about the future - utopia or dystopia - are always based on what one thinks is the dominant force in evolution. This whole book, not just the present chapter, is based on the belief that an overview of evolution shows beyond all doubt that wealth-producing faculty (the search for higher coherence) is the deciding factor. The illth-producing faculty is an archaic mammalian survival system rapidly becoming obsolete.
The highest historical concentration of wealth (real capital, and ideas generating new capital) now co-exists with the highest concentration of evolutionary advanced nervous systems.
In California, Oregon, Alaska, British Columbia, Arizona, Texas, the Hawaiian Islands, Japan and all around the Pacific, where East meets West, the world of 2000 and 2010 and 2050 is being created by persons who are veterans of a gigantic Neurological Revolution - the psychedelic pioneers of the 1960's, the graduates of the Consciousness Movement of the 1950s-70s, the synthesizers of modern psychology and ancient Oriental mind-sciences. These persons are called the Aquarian Conspiracy by Marilyn Ferguson, one of their spokespersons. They are denounced as the Me Generation by Tom Wolf, a time-traveller from New York, i.e., from the neurological past, from a culture crystallized before 1950.
This "Me Generation" is the temporary high water mark of the time-binding function. Moving steadily Westward - away from Tradition, away from Dogma - they are the products, as Edmund Burke said of the first Americans, of "the dissidence of dissent and the Protestantism of the Protestants". Every heresy that left Europe produced newer, wilder heresies in the Eastern Seaboard, 1600-1800. Those that were "too far out" had to move further West and produced the 1000 Utopian communities (anarchist, evangelical, free-love, etc.) that were attempted in the mid-west during the 19th Century. Those who were even further "out" - out of the traditional mode - moved further Westward in the last 30-70 years.
All of the fallout of this migration seems weird to the Eastern states, and even weirder to Europeans.
It all became much weirder still when it hit the Pacific and began to interact with Oriental neuro-sciences and brain-change arts, like yoga and Taoism and Zen.
It swallowed the Oriental lessons whole, without becoming Oriental entirely. It remained Western - the dissidence of dissent etc. - and it has been gaining momentum and direction for two or three decades now.
It aims at Higher Coherence and Higher Intelligence.
This is the new Power Elite.
As youngsters, these Aquarian Conspirators made the Youth Revolution of the 1960s, which - whatever its excesses and blunders - permanently changed and improved student-administrator-teacher feedback in our universities; liberated our Puritan culture for some healthy hedonism; imported a dozen varieties of Oriental neuro-science (and two dozen varieties of Oriental humbug, alas); launched the ecology movement (the first planet-wide perception of the difference between wealth and illth); recreated a true love of the wilderness and of wild creatures: pioneered flex-time and other liberations from economic robot-hood; launched Women's Lib, Gay Lib, Child Lib and generously supported Black Lib; ended the Vietnam War; spread holistic medicine throughout our culture; etc.
The same group is now leading the computer revolution; spearheading the drive toward Space Migration; supporting the Hunger Project, which will abolish starvation in our lifetimes; leading the Longevity revolution and the search for immortality; etc.
And they are all very conscious of being part of the Intelligence Intensification explosion which is the major topic of this book.
This type of "Western progressivism" (or Utopianism) came out of the mid-East and is the distinct contribution of the Jews, which is why all reactionaries are intuitively anti-Semitic. As William Blake wrote of this tradition:
The Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel dined with me, and I asked them how they dared so roundly to assert that God spoke to them; and whether they did not think at the time that they would be misunderstood & so be the cause of imposition.
Isaiah answer'd: 'I saw no God, nor heard any, in a finite organical perception; but my senses discover'd the infinite in everything, and as I was then persuaded & remain confirmed that the voice of honest indignation is the voice of God, I cared not for consequences, but wrote.'
This vision of the infinite in everything is common to East and West; what is distinctly Western, out of the Jews, is the voice of honest indignation against every institution which would deny or demean the infinity within each human soul. The release of our full human potential - to let the light of Prometheus shine everywhere - is the distinctly Western mystic tradition and does not appear in Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism or any Eastern religion.
Thomas Jefferson developed his view that "all men are created equal" from the perception of the infinity within each of us, which he learned from the Scottish philosophers, Reid and Hutcheson. (It was also from Hutcheson that Jefferson got his idea of "unalienable rights," which Congress in the interest of stylistic elegance altered to "inalienable rights".) The Scotish Enlightenment, like the French and English Enlightenment, was the beginning of the materialization and manifestation of the Judeo-Christian vision of the Heavenly City.
It was also this 18th Century Illuminati circle which introduced the concept of progress - the conscious formulation of the symbolism of Prometheus. This vision has been under so much attack in recent decades that to defend it at all will seem archaic and eccentric to many readers.
Nonetheless, evolution is real: quantum jumps do occur throughout the biosphere and throughout human intellectual history. We are riding a mounting tidal of rising consciousness and expanding intelligence which is accelerating whether we like it or not.
By and large, most people - and especially most ruling elites - have not liked this acceleration factor. The migration of capital (i.e., ideas) Westward has been largely a flight from oppression, an escapist movement - as critics today describe Space as "escapist". Everywhere, everywhen, the rulers of society have tried to put a brake on the third circuit, to the acceleration function, to establish limits on what was printable, discussable, even thinkable.
The Greek myth of Prometheus Bound - the Titan who brought Light to humanity and is eternally punished for it - is the synecdoch, the perfect symbol, of how the third circuit has been handled in most human societies. (...)"
Howard Beale - Mad as hell speech by dreaming in the void