It is time to consider how to cultivate a right relation to the things of this world. That is, we should recognize that there are conditions specific to our physical existence – to matter-reality – that may not need apply to our existence as a human being if we can cultivate a particular inner state and relation to that which exists beyond physical reality. As Jesus is quoted as saying: ‘Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.’(Matthew 22:21) There are those relations that exist (and often ‘must’ exist) with the outer physical world – we can call this the realm of Caesar. And there is the connection that a person can cultivate in relation to that which is beyond the physical – what we can broadly call the realm of spirit, or the transcendental impulse. There has been a growing tendency in outer life to deny the existence of anything beyond the physical. In Western societies especially, even the talk of ‘life after death’ is received with sniggers and smirks and is rejected by the mainstream consensus thinking. In this sense, human society has degenerated in its perceptive understanding. In terms of metaphysical comprehension, we have become as little children. We are conditioned to laugh at tales of ghosts; we scoff when we hear of UFOs; we grin when hearing of so-called ‘near death experiences’ (NDEs) out-of-the-body. The list goes on and on. The fact of the matter is that external conditions have made it so that there is no respect or recognition for the truth – and very few people make an effort for expanding their perceptive understanding. The outer garb of our lives has usurped aspects of fundamental understanding and replaced them with superficial substitutions: power, celebrity, wealth, and the rest. Or worse, aspects of modern ideological dogma – the new ‘wokism’ – infiltrates our attention, and conditions our capacity to truly express ourselves. In such circumstances, a falsehood of existence is permitted where such substitution is considered not evil but, on the contrary, as the new social good. As Russian philosopher Nicolas Berdyaev put it: ‘Falsehood is affirmed as some holy duty for the sake of higher purposes.’1 It is the human condition today that what goes by the name of ‘consciousness’ is a structure of thinking and belief that has been adapted to the conditions of an artificial reality and delivered to the consumer (the individual). And we need to recognize that the average person interprets the world around them, and attributes meaning, through tainted lenses. As it is said: Everything that pours from a poisoned vessel must itself be tainted. It is the astute and aware individual who strives to make the distinction between that which belongs to the material world (Caesar) and that which relates to the metaphysical realm (the spirit). And it is a fallacy to ‘think’ that each individual lives in the same objective world. We do not: we each live within our subjective perceptual bubble that, in general, is outwardly steered by the dominant consensus narrative.
The human being is never quite ‘normal.’ There is no normality within this state of affairs. For this reason, many people find it difficult to attribute meaning to what they perceive as a meaningless world. And from the mass perspective, there is much within the world right now that appears maddeningly absurd. It seems that human life lives under no universal law and is only subjected to the local laws that govern the socio-economic life of each specific region. Freedom has come to mean the ability to access those desires and wishes that arise in us. It is a freedom that gives satisfaction whilst not questioning the perimeter that keeps us fenced into a life of restricted understanding. The general masses have been permitted to seek for their ‘gods’ through certain religious structural institutions yet are steered away from seeking genuine self-gnosis. We only have to look at the history of the Cathars (the so-called Albigensian heresy) to see an historical example of this. The denial of greater knowledge has been quite successful through the substitution in self-interest and the power-play of the Game of Life. Unless we have knowledge – real knowledge – to work upon ourselves, there is little hope of liberation from the servitude to a mechanized existence. We live in a time where the principal focus for progress is with the development of external techniques, hardly realizing that the more important work is to discover the techniques for changing oneself. The situation we are in is not only about the liberation of oneself from a life of automation; it is a question of how a changed person can live an effective outer life. We live in a world of disunity and hostility, of inequality and greed. Yet another condition of the world is possible, and it requires another type of knowing. A human being has always carried a deep secret within; it is the secret of belonging to an existence beyond the physical realm, and that the human being was born with the ability to overcome its earthly limitations and can access a greater understanding. But effort is required. As Berdyaev put it: ‘Man’s freedom lies in this, that beside the realm of Caesar there is also the realm of Spirit.’2 It is the contestation between the ‘realm of Caesar’ and the ‘realm of spirit’ that can provide the impetus for discovering and refining our truer relations. In other words, it is the denying, negating forces that can act as catalysts to spur those active forces within us. The material world around us – the realm of Caesar – is a necessity for confirming to us that a means, a path, exists that can connect us to a realm beyond the physical. This gives us the outer confirmation that humanity exists under more than just physical-material conditions; that we are related to an order beyond that of our earthly existence.
This contestation between the realm of Caesar and the realm of spirit (the metaphysical realm) has been the cause for the continual historical clashes of power and the motivation for the drive towards totalitarianism. There has been a constant effort to diminish humanity’s ties with the transcendental impulse and to cage the individual within a physical and perceptual prison. The race to technocracy is a race against humanity’s development of increased cognition and perceptual awareness:
‘The power of technics is the final metamorphosis of the realm of Caesar. It no longer demands the sanctification which the realm of Caesar demanded, in the past. This is the last phase of secularization, the dissolution of the centre and the development of various autonomous spheres, where one of them claims totalitarian recognition.’3
The current crises we are facing is a heightened manifestation of this historical clash of forces. There is a strong hand of physical organization and control that is ramping up the realm of Caesar into a modern machine of technique and automation. A new reality – an artificial one – is under construction, and it is going to be different from the past realities of organic or inorganic nature.[i] The new reality of Caesar is going to be merged into a digital apparatus, a civilization of machinic regulation and technique, which will distinguish itself from nature and carbon-based life. And along with this detachment from a carbon-based ecosystem will be a detachment from all things of the spirit-consciousness. The metaphysical realm will be banished and substituted by its avatar – the Metaverse. Future modern life will cease to be modern for it will have fallen back into a time where existence was devoid of a genuine centre of spirit. A time when through controlled information and education, people were conditioned to recognize the authority of the state as above and beyond all other law or order. We may be witnessing the emergence of a new Dark Age. Only that it will be a Dark Age dressed up in the Emperor’s Clothes bought with shiny digital non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
With technique, or the modern ‘smart technics, fast becoming the foundations of a ‘new world order’ we are witnessing a world moving into rationalized darkness. The whole process of life is becoming increasingly contradictory and absurd, only that this new order of rationalized technique is being sold as the ‘new normal.’ We shall soon be standing on our heads – and resisting calls to be turned the right way up. As one thinker put it: ‘it is hard to agree to be turned upside down when one is convinced that one is already the right way up.’4 Through this upside-downness – this inversion of life – a new mode of authority is being granted to the realm of Caesar. The inner freedom of the human being is fast being eroded from without as the masses unknowingly succumb to a devastating psychic environment of manipulation and subtle (and also not-so-subtle) control. These modes of authority will seek to extend their power to become all-pervasive – these shall be the reign of the negating forces that the transcendental impulse will face in the coming years. The realm of Caesar shall become the Realm of Falsehood where ‘good is realized by means of evil, truth by means of falsehood, beauty by means of ugliness, freedom by means of violence.’5 The realization of inner truth, inner authority, does not come from the realm of Caesar directly; rather, it can be acquired only through the limitation of Caesar’s realm. Caesar’s realm may be a world which enslaves people through its deepening materialism; yet it also offers the potential for human evolvement through the very same negating forces. That which holds a person down can become the very same tools for their growth in awareness. After all, the visible world is a symbol of the world invisible. The unseen, or metaphysical realm, never forces itself upon us; yet its presence can be highlighted through its contradictory impulse.
A new birth is always preceded by contortions. A new seed must break through the upper crust of soil before it can grow further. Our task is not to focus upon the resistance of the soil but upon the potential of the seed. That which slumbers shall awaken when the disturbance becomes too great to shrug off. A new birth is not an avenger against the old ways. As it is said: ‘The avenger of past wrongs is not a new creature, he is still the old man.’6 We cannot expect revolutionary resistance to produce the new human – yet a revolution in human affairs can produce the new human. And it is the new human who can reconnect to the realm of spirit and ensure that a denial of metaphysical reality is never again brought to bear within the realm of Caesar. And then, finally, we can hope to cultivate a right relation to the things of this world. And with a rightful heart and knowing conscience, we can say: ‘Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto Source the things that are of the inner life.’
1 Berdyaev, Nicolas. (1952) The Realm of Spirit & The Realm of Caesar. New York: Harper & Brothers, p13.
2 Berdyaev, Nicolas. (1952) The Realm of Spirit & The Realm of Caesar. New York: Harper & Brothers, p41.
3 Berdyaev, Nicolas. (1952) The Realm of Spirit & The Realm of Caesar. New York: Harper & Brothers, p48.
4 Bennett, J.G. (1991) What Are We Living For? Santa Fe: New Mexico: Bennett Books, p18.
5 Berdyaev, Nicolas. (1952) The Realm of Spirit & The Realm of Caesar. New York: Harper & Brothers, p94.
6 Berdyaev, Nicolas. (1952) The Realm of Spirit & The Realm of Caesar. New York: Harper & Brothers, p166.
[i] See my book Hijacking Reality: The Reprogramming & Reorganization of Human Life (2021)