Discover more from Stillness in the West
The Path Ahead.
Walking together (virtually, and otherwise) through unclear times.
First of all, I want to say thank you for joining this substack. It is good to have you all along for the ride. Together we can hopefully find a way to negotiate these dark times in a new/old way. I think it is going to take all we have, and surely far more than we think we even have the ability to offer.
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I have only been at the monastery a bit shy of two months now. In that time though, I have grown more hopeful for our prospects in this dark time. This doesn't mean what we will go through is going to be easy, or even pleasant. I am fairly certain the way in front of us will be dark, and difficult and it will often seem as if we are completely lost. But there is light in the darkness, and the darkness does not comprehend it.
It is my belief that we have the opportunity to stop shoring up the Imperium, and put away our allegiance to the utopia of control, even though it may seem to benefit us. In many ways it does, but at what cost? And can it possibly be sustained? What will the Metamachine Algorithm have to become, and more importantly, what will we have to become, for this current dispensation to continue?
What are our options? The standard answer is that it is either this “progress’ or a life that is nasty, brutish, and short. I firmly reject this false dilemma. What I do think is that what is in the works for us to get us through this convergence of catastrophes—should we make it that far—is technological transhumanism, whether we want it or not.
By that is meant, I think AI, genetic manipulation, cybernetic biotechnology, social engineering, and all the rest. In short, to continue on our current path of “development” is to relinquish humanity as we have known it. Some may say good riddance to what we’ve been—and maybe for good reason—but I don’t think it is likely to succeed.
As T.S. Eliot so aptly framed the utopian impulse:
They constantly try to escape From the darkness outside and within By dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good. But the man that is will shadow The man that pretends to be.
The idea of creating a system so perfect one doesn’t need to be good is the very thing we must put away, once and for all. Instead, it means, as T.S. Eliot also phrased it, we can find a “condition of complete simplicity”, but parenthetically warns us, that it will, alas, “cost no less than everything.” Are we willing to choose it?
Perhaps we need to propose a kind of transhumanism of our own. A Transhumanism that, finally, can allow us to be radically and fundamentally human. Call it seeking the Way of Return. Call that the return to the Original Harmony. If the survival of the human species means ending the same by turning us into controllable hybrid, networked machines, I say no thank you. Instead, we can follow a new/old path, knowing it can never be a utopia. But rather, truly, the best we can ever hope for on this beautiful earth. Can we learn to accept what we are and the life we have? Because if we do, it is something far greater and far more beautiful than we have been told to believe.
I hasten to add that this alternative is itself no age of Aquarius. The hope for a “final solution” to the mortal human condition is always a dangerous temptation. And it leads where it has always led. Rather what lies before us is a path out of the darkness of control and consumption, through it, and into different darkness. Into what I will call, without apology, A New Enlightened Dark Age. The age of theosis.
I think at this point, given the current trajectory, it is a far better path. It may be the only path. We can’t avoid what’s coming, and it is vanity to think it is going to wait for us.
Let us proceed…
My hope for this substack is to have a conversation about the times we are in. A practical conversation, ultimately, but not only that. I am absolutely sure that everyone has something to contribute to this. I invite you all, should you be so inclined, to join the conversation.
If this substack is successful—an outcome still yet to be determined—it will necessarily render itself obsolete. The hope is to find a better way to live and to live it. May God make it so.
Thank you. I hope this finds you all well.