Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
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Salvador HarguindeySalvador Harguindey MD., PhD., Institute for Clinical Biology and Metabolism, Medical Oncology, Neurodegenerative Diseases and Endocrinology. Former Member of ATP (Association for Transpersonal Psychology), USA and Honorary Professor of Medicine, Madrid University, Spain. blog: (Books and novels in Amazon published under the name of Salvador Harguindey)

The Regrettable and Terrible Brave New World

Salvador Harguindey

Dedicated to Spinoza, sub specie aeternitatis.

From 'Democracy to 'demoncrazy'. Narcissism and stupidity.

Given the fast and anxious pace of life in society, as well as its increasingly impoverished cultural situation, nowadays people read short all kind of news and lies in social media, a way of communication that has killed Plato and Dostoevsky. Otherwise, material values prevail and, with them, vulgarity, decadence, superficiality and hypocrisy, with reality television shows being at the top of the head of popularity, but a head without a brain.

We must not forget the usual mediocre level of consciousness and culture of professional politicians - Einstein dixit - that democratic format of universal suffrage, which is nothing else but a degeneration of the original pre-Socratic and Athenian democracy. A modern interpretation of democracy that so many times degenerates into a kind of demoncrazy that is in a dark collective madness. In that context, the desire for power has taken over the entire nature of the modern human being, that 'man in search of a soul' that psychologist Carl Jung defined so well decades ago. Unfortunatly, that limited kind of human being has not yet found its soul or has lost it forever.

To fully understand any disease, we must try to get to its origin; that is, to its etiology and, from there on, to its pathogenesis. Today, a serious pathology - the most dangerous social disease of modern civilization - called narcissism and false pride has buried many of the great older wisdoms, eastern and western, and with them any sincere humility and the possibility of an increase in spiritual self-knowledge of one's higher inner nature. Along this descending spiral the human spirit has descended vertiginously, like a new Lucifer reincarnated in his own evil pride, to infest and dominate an increasingly aggressive, violent and dehumanized world. To all this, the American film director Robert Altman once said about his country's society, probably the best example and paradigm of the two great sins of humanity today, egocentrism and narcissism: "The United States is heading towards total stupidity". From there, the imposed monetization and Americanization of the increasingly superficial life in the Western Hemisphere, in its unstoppable paranoia that swallows everything, has dragged behind it psychological and a life of sharing and compassion ad inferos.

As a parallel example of the 'cultural' situation made in the USA, is what was published Time magazine: the fact that only one in six hundred Americans is familiar with Tolstoy and, further, that only one in every eleven thousands of them had ever heard the name of Count Vrosky, the co-star character of the universal novel: 'Anna Karenina'. This may represent ignorance, but it does not yet reach the level of being considered innate stupidity. For instance, the blind stupid being is one who, always showing a great degree of self-confidence, maintains that, in response to a direct question asked by this author to a New York City lawyer, for him Dostoevsky was a Russian spy and Goethe a well-known Nazi. As I say, I experienced this atrocity firsthand. Similarly, when asked where Italy or Spain is, the average American typically answers something like Italy is a neighborhood of NYC and Spain is a part of Mexico. Saying that one does not know where Italy or Spain are, only is ignorance, but answering such idiotic things already falls within the highest level of stupidity and lack of culture sub humanly imaginable. Finally, as the usual narcissism of the absolute fool makes him to consider himself as an absolute and believe that he knows everything, even dares to recommend inhaling or drinking bleach as a treatment for Covid disease. The ego is always infra-human. On the contrary, his opposite, the wise man or woman, humbly accepts that they know little, like Socrates, when he admitted that he only knew that he knew nothing. Paradoxes of life.

Hence, all unpredictable dangers and uncontrollable disasters come from stupidity. As Buddha said, "Selfishness, greed, fear, evil and unhappiness all come from stupidity. Thus, stupidity is the worst of poisons". Therefore, under those circumstances, there is no possibility of salvation, present or future, for any society, no matter how powerful they are or believe themselves to be. Furthermore, it would be enough to have 51% of stupid, uneducated or evil people to win any election based on a universal suffrage. In this situation, the vote of the Dalai Lama and that of a child sexual predator or mass murderer are worth exactly the same. Philosophically and politically unacceptable.

First published in 1835, Alexis de Tocqueville's book: 'Democracy in America', succinctly warned us of some of the dangers of the democratic system to counteract the ascent of human nature toward intellect and spirit. These higher ethical values have been replaced by an all-powerful materialism and superficiality, which ends up leading modern humans to the present-day unhappiness and an increasing number of different mental disease. Thus, the average human being has become the victim of what Abraham Maslow once described as 'cosmic loneliness'. This is a solitary stage of the soul that is poorly disguised by technology and narcissism, as the two proud flags and pseudo-spiritual banners of the 'Brave New World', that depressing prophesy that Aldous Huxley ironically depicted as a 'Happy World'.

Briefly, it is worth recalling three paragraphs that faithfully summarize the equally prophetic book by Alexis de Tocqueville on American way of life, which already in the 19th century warned on some of the dangers of democracy for the human soul and spirit:

About the good life:

"Democracy encourages a taste for physical gratification; this taste, if it becomes excessive it soon disposes men to believe that all is matter only; and immediately, in its turn, hurries them on with mad impatience to these same delights; such is the fatal circle within which democratic nations are driven around. It were well that they should see the danger and hold back".

About loneliness:

"Not only does democracy make every man forget his ancestors, but it hides his descendants and separates his contemporaries from him; it throws him back upon himself alone and threatens to confine him entirely within the solitude of his own heart".

About money:

"Men live living in democratic times have many passions, but most of their passions either end in the love of riches or proceed from it. The cause of this is not that their souls are narrower, but that the importance of money is really greater at such times."

The great philosopher Benedict de Spinoza wrote about similar and other self-imposed limitations about democracy, although he declares himself to be a democrat in his book: 'Theological-Political Treatise'. For this great man of spirit, the religious problem and the political one are two aspects of the same problem, as it unfortunately happens in Israel and other nations nowadays.

Regarding human values, the last paragraphs above can be summarized in a critical quotation by Albert Einstein, when he says: "The desire for fame, riches and external success have always seemed despicable to me". Everything in life depends on the level and stage of evolution of individual and collective consciousness.

On the path that leads towards the increasing social idiocy of modern civilization, global existence is progressively sinking in a descending spiral towards a bottomless pit (the Biblical 'bottomless pit'?), which is driven by the neuroticism in which both the Western world and, by extension and contagion, Eastern civilization have irremediably succumbed. The unstoppable advance of technology, the practically infinite power of money, the often-cruel competition of 'kill or die'. This goes along a banality that becomes unbearable for any sensitive and developed conscience, that ruthless tyrant of a merciless world without compassion for others and for any other sentient beings.

The consequence is that loss of meaning corrodes modern man. Triumphant modernism, despite its undeniable successes in many areas, has lost its previous meaning in the hidden hell of the omnipotent ego. While the human being, its scapegoat, has lost its true essential being, which is beyond any personal ego. The hope still lies beyond and above all this; namely, living in the consciousness of the mystical and transpersonal spirit instead of undauntedly growing into a spiritual confusion of a stormy and tormented psychic ocean.

The world of the ego was born in Eden

This modern being, still human, although less and less each day, thanks to its hydra-headed triplets of ego-tism, ego-centrism, and ego-latry, lives his life jailed within a symbolic but, at the same time, truthful and real Edenic fall. This state of his mind, on one hand keeps on sliding towards the dark emptiness of a purgatory, if not into the mortal sickness of an emotional hell, dragged down by his incurable and mortifying narcissistic hedonism. This downward dynamic has turned our societies into a swarm of progressively mechanized and robotic beings who feel increasingly alienated, both from their own lives and from the environment, while they try to deceive their serious illness with a thousand false gadgets. The purpose of all this is to prevent, by any means, that the center of our truest being and nature explodes in a thousand schizophrenic splinters before drowning in the quicksands of an increasingly terrifying and moribund Brave New World.

As Dante Alighieri said, heaven can only be reached by going through hell, a similar thought to Hölderlin's 'goodness can be found in the center of evil', or Sri Aurobindo's quotation that 'one must overcome the darkness of chaos to create a new order from it'. That is, bring to life a new picture and beauty of the external and internal worlds, something known as 'meta cosmesis'.

Taken together, all the previous considerations convey that, no matter how windy and difficult the initiation road that we have undertaken seems to lie ahead, there is still a certain hope for us human beings, deeply hidden within ourselves. A ray of spiritual light that is patiently waiting to illuminate a humanity when given a chance to emerge and that, unfortunately so far, it continues to seek its present and future exclusively in the visible and external, while the answers so desperately needed, at least a large part, are already written in the past and within himself. This confirms that the essential is invisible to the eyes, Saint-Exupéry dixit.

Towards one universal wisdom for all beings and all times.

Wisdom is like a pyramid that must be ascended towards an illuminated summit that only a few chosen beings have managed to achieve throughout history. At its highest peak it becomes something nondual, this meaning that at that level of self-realization, clairvoyance and enlightenment, there are no more confrontational dualisms or ignorance of ourselves and souls. Up there, there is no more suffering, crises or conflicts, because everything has become 'One'. That is why also human wisdom, in its highest consideration, can be only 'One'. It is not surprising, therefore, that a small cluster of elevated beings, possibly the same, although not only those, that Abraham Maslow defined as 'self-actualizers' - whether they were scientists, philosophers, religious or spiritual mystics, literati, artists, or even, very occasionally , politicians -, in their thinking and feelings seem to arrive to very similar conclusions about the meaning that human beings can discover and contribute to life.

It can thus be understood that Goethe, inspired by a mysticism of Christian extraction, ends up praising a natural religion as the highest one, something that sounds very Taoist, if not pantheistic or panentheistic. In the same vein it can also be understood that the Christian mystic John of the Cross seems like a philosophical twin brother of the 'atheist' but, in his own way Buddhist, Schopenhauer. It is not wrong to consider the historically vilified and misunderstood Benedict of Spinoza as advaitic non-dualist, to Einstein and Nietzsche as Spinozists - by themselves confessed - and to Tolstoy, Carl Jung and Hermann Hesse as Christians and Taoists at the same time. Finally, last but not least, we can include in this group to our longed Raimon Panikkar as a Christian and a Buddhist simultaneously. Among a less defined mysticism, we find certain scientists and creative intellectuals, such as Aldous Huxley, Krishnamurti, the taoist Abraham Maslow, as well as some of the pre-Christian Greek philosophers, reaching back in time to Plotinus and Hermes Trismegistus somewhere in the same path and ascent towards the summit of unity, the transcendent and the coincidence of all opposites. At the end, this is what the word and concept of mysticism means: union, fusion, transcendence, enchantment, plenitude, love and peace. The kind of peace that is only reached after all disunity and ambivalence have been confronted and overcome, as Buddha himself teaches.

Also, at the same time that the human spirit ascend towards the summit of the pyramid of wisdom, a parallel concept of a stairway to Heaven, it seems, that it also insistently looks not only backward, but also towards the East, to be able to drink in its perennial philosophies and non-dual religiosities.

In the meantime, most of the humanity keeps trying to overcome, consciously or not, the present deadly situation. The aim is to reach a peaceful consensus from the plague of hyperdualisms and confrontations of religions based on a personal deity - be he called God, Yahweh or Allah - who throughout their own history (except that of their supersensitive and esoteric founders and mystical followers) have set out to continue forever an endless war between them. Three religions with similar exoteric strategies, such as the always profitable exploitation of fear, subjugation, dogmatism, prejudice and the mad desire for power. They all use these weapons to distance man from his divine center and diabolically interpose themselves between him and that Divine Spirit that is the true foundation of his being. To this end, it should be remembered that the word devil precisely means that: separator, accuser. An attempt to separate the human being from that living and timeless center, called consciousness, soul, Atman, inner Tao, or essential being, that 'far out there, but also here so close', hides in the depths of each one of us, while desperately searching for a slit that may allow us to glimpse a glimmer of light and breathe a new and unpolluted air. In this way, we will be finally able to leave Plato's dark cave and head towards a luminous and timeless eternity. Perhaps, toward that "instant that encompasses all times", as Wilber has defined the nature of the eternal.

It is likely that only the arrival of an ascending and drastic change of consciousness, the so-called 'metanoia', is the only ascending evolutionary way to change the world, the only holy path that offers a possibility of salvation, both on an individual and global level. Even without having to wait for a redemption in any future life, in the manner of the (outdated?) dualistic religions, but even in this existence, in the 'Here and Now' of another Brand and Brave New World. A metanoic change that can helps us, as individuals and as a global civilization, to get out of a hell that, if it exists, only exists in this life.

Acknowledgments: To Stephan J. Reshkin Silvia San Miguel Asensio and Daniel S�nchez-Harguindey, for suggestions and corrections.

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