When someone’s ideas begin to provide a less-than-adequate support for his sense of individual integrity and group cohesion, we get a reshaping of them around a new or improved concept: again, if he or she is not psychologically autonomous.
Idries Shah, A Perfumed Scorpion
In the preceding essay,[i] I talked about how an effort is required – a will-to-purpose – so that insight can be acquired and take a person away from automated behaviour. That is, away from the state of the ‘robosapien.’ The exercise of such purpose-driven will is a conscious act, an attempt to break out of conditioned traits, opinions, and the consensus narrative. It is the will to acquire insight, and to perceive those societal conditions that push people to conform and to place their dependency and authority onto external systems. Yet, at the same time, such a purposeful will can be a conscious, secular inner drive, based on rational cognition. It need not be related to an inner impulse or a metaphysical impulse. There is a distinct lack of support in modern societies for pursuing the inner life, and for the inner quest. The denial of the inner life is reflected through increasing materialism; and these material forces then influence and shape the life of the inner spirit or force. The inner life becomes what it is fed upon. And if it is fed upon nothingness? The outer life may be dotted and interspersed with glamorous distractions and entertainments, whilst the inner life exists in a dark void. In order for a metaphysical inner drive, a shift in perception is required, which then alters how consciousness interprets local reality. This shift inaugurates a new centre of insight that recognizes the metaphysical principles that underlie reality and our physical existence. Some people, such as Nicholas Hagger, refer to this awakening perception as akin to a ‘Heracleitus’ Fire’ that unites spiritual and physical outlooks.[ii]
The metaphysical perspective seeks awareness of the greater reality beyond/behind the physical world (the prefix ‘meta’ can mean both ‘beyond’ as well as ‘behind’). In other words, it is the eternal behind the temporal. What is being referred to here are those aspects beyond surface appearances. The immaterial fire, or light, exists as the metaphysical background (radiation) to physical existence; and it radiates, or flows, into physicality through material bodies/forms. That is, the metaphysical light infuses materiality through a vital force of energy, or conscious will power. This non-visible metaphysical fire/light is not perceived by the outer senses, but by the inner being. For this reason, it remains untouchable to the persona, or social ego, of the individual. It can be communed with through inner effort, or through the receptivity of one’s being; yet it remains beyond the grasping senses of the superficial person. It is the controlling social ego – the social personality – that dictates most peoples’ everyday lives. The ‘will-to-purpose’ that is focused upon these external matters may drive a person further into materiality; and thus, further distanced from a metaphysical reality.
The deepening materiality of our modern era has further dissolved the presence and recognition of metaphysical impulses in human life. It has also strived to create societies devoid of metaphysical impulses. The ‘will-to-purpose’ is an aspect of the Creative Imagination that works through an integrated brain hemisphere, rather than being trapped within a materialistic, analytical, cortical, left-brain. The creative imagination suffuses the individual’s inner being rather than being a product of the interpreting social ego/persona. Along with the creative imagination there is the Intuitive Intellect that operates beyond the veil of a rationalized, conditioned intellect. Art, literature, symbols, and the like, can act as portals or gateways for the transmission of metaphysical information into human cultures and societies. In recent years, this medium of transmission has become overtly visual alongside a dumbing down of textual materials. Fewer and fewer people are gaining knowledge and/or information through books and written texts, especially the younger generation. The immersion into textual materials takes time, effort, and attention; contrary to the now famous ‘sound bites’ realm of social media, twitterings, ‘insta-influencers,’ and similar superficial and exploitative modes of expression.
The process of transmutation and transformation takes an amount of intentional ‘will-to-purpose’ aligned with a metaphysical inner drive that is less coveted by our modern cultures. In fact, it can be said that this innate sense of longing that is an aspect of the inner being, and the disquietude and dissatisfaction that can come from this, is often channelled into other superficial needs and temporary social satisfiers. Such ‘social satisfiers’ act as a form of conversion therapy that attaches people to dependency-orientated activities and habits as a way of providing comfort and reassurance, which people then become overly used to. Metaphysical symbols and vocabulary (the ‘transmitters’) have lost their precision and/or function in modern times. Many of them have become slogans, branding, and mostly ‘dead language’ as they have been co-opted by superficial organizations and groups. Language such as: ‘heart;’ ‘spirit;’ ‘psyche;’ ‘eternal;’ ‘self;’ ‘soul;’ ‘transcendence;’ ‘cosmos;’ and many others have become co-opted and colonized by a commercial, materialistic, and often exploitative energy. The patterns of metaphysical meaning and significance that such language once weaved, has been deactivated by a modern social language that vibrates with a flat frequency of materialistic pseudo-spirituality. Perhaps the way forward now is to frame such aspects within a psychological understanding, utilizing a psycho-spiritual lens of perception.
To talk about activating the ‘metaphysical inner drive’ we have to recognize the necessity to dissolve those ties or attachments that prevent further development. These ties often include an over-reliance upon too many of these superficial ‘social satisfiers.’ If people remain within these lower order satisfiers, then they are less likely to be compelled or driven towards possibilities beyond their present state. If this initial energy, drive, or capacity is not found, then it is unlikely there will be a reason to reach towards such possibilities. A person cannot be compelled through insincere, ingenuine, or forced reasons and impulses. This would only be a case of the reprogramming of beliefs – replacing one belief set with another. What I am referring to here as the metaphysical inner drive requires that the individual displays a sufficient degree of psychological autonomy. That is, they have reached a stage where they are sufficiently detached from their previous states of social conditioning that are acquired during the normal course of their upbringing and maturing years. It is a sign of our times that few people consider the state of their own psychological condition or even question the notion of psychological autonomy – or whether such autonomy is good or even possible.
The general human psyche becomes attached to those impacts and influences that touch them emotionally, or which they like or are excited by. Yet these are the very impulses which, most of the time, are the type of influences least needed. The regular inner drive can be fuelled and energized by following particular likes and personal orientations. However, the metaphysical inner drive is more likely to require input and stimulation from those impulses not immediately recognizable as such, and which are often far away from entertaining and emotionally attractive. As it is said, such influences are more likely to find the person when they are ready for contact, rather than the person finding the contact through their own means when still within a conditioned state. As it has been noted:
We may at once admit that cultures which seek to highlight crudities, things which immediately appeal, and to project them in attractive forms and endorse and sustain them are unlikely to produce, on the whole, people with appetites for other than more of the same thing.1
These appetites that have been shaped for crudities – the superficial ‘social satisfiers’ – are likely to perpetuate the same behaviours within people that feed these desires. The recognition of this is part of the first stage in shifting to a will-to-purpose that is internally driven. For many, this will offer a formidable barrier to surmount. And it can be surmounted, if the phenomena and its associated behaviour traits can be observed in action; and then conscious action taken to comprehend these influences and impacts. It is no use to immerse oneself in commercial systems of well-being – such are nowadays classed as ‘spiritual pursuits’ – and then to wonder why no real progress has been achieved. As the saying goes: reading does not change people unless they are ready to change.
The metaphysical inner drive is not an impulse for well-being or ‘spiritual satisfaction.’ It is an inner impulse for heightened perception, understanding, and ultimately knowledge concerning the human condition and humankind’s role in this reality. The person of inner perceptual understanding is able to stand aside from the context of their environment, so that it has minimal effect on them, yet also blending with it when required. It is the superficial ‘will-to-purpose’ that seeks to dominate the environment and those within it – yet it is this style of behaviour that is both encouraged by consensus society as well as rewarded by it. This is the distraction onto transient things as if they were constant. The will-to-purpose of the metaphysical inner drive seeks to take the individual out of, and beyond, the constraints of a life in which they have no understanding of or control over. Without this metaphysical perception and comprehension, a person remains bound within the limitations of what is sometimes referred to as an ‘accidental life.’ This can be described as:
‘He does not live very long, he can control very little of his circumstances, and the things which happen to him, even in the most highly structured environments, may have far more effect on his life than the things which he causes to happen: however much he may strive, and irrespective of whether or not he believes the reverse to be true. 2
In order to change their state of consciousness, a person may first need to face the situation of their physical reality. The core of the current situation is that whilst humanity may collectively be experiencing a moral, political, financial, and existential crisis, this is not the central crux. The essential characteristic of these times is that humanity is experiencing an evolutionary crisis. This is why so many aspects of our lives appear either broken or in breakdown. All that has once been splendid is now in disarray and dissolution. And yet without these multiple breakdowns and death throes, human consciousness will not gain the impetus to shift into another perceptual state. And it is the metaphysical inner drive that will not only assist this transformation but also will be better suited to the future post-transition. Furthermore, it is this transformative process that is currently creating such an intense anxiety within the world. We may ask ourselves: when everything collapses, what remains?
Without sufficient insight, all focus gets placed upon the transient and the superficial. These are the external factors that hook and pull people into a controlling consensus reality with very limited understanding. In this condition, little or nothing is known about the processes unfolding within our reality. Without understanding, people are quickly drawn into analysing, criticising, and commenting upon external factors that are several steps removed from the metaphysical truths of what are occurring in our environments. It is the will-to-purpose of the metaphysical impulse that can stop a person from being manipulated and suffocated under conditions they do not understand. By not comprehending these external processes and their influences, people can be drawn into states of anxiety, frustration, and anger. As the saying goes: Did the philosophy of the fish ever help it to become an amphibian?’ This is why there is much to be said about gaining one’s psychological autonomy, which is disengaged from the persistent conditioning and programming of the exterior world. The real catastrophe of our times is not the upheaval and chaos that plague our societies, or the criminal acts of the psychopathic ‘elite’ few, but that the human individual is being lured away from the potentials of their own innate creative forces and into a state of servitude. Now is the time not only for perceptive cognition of the forces operative in our world but also for activating the metaphysical inner drive within enough receptive individuals. What is needed is transformative change.
Permanent transformative change is what transfigures the human ‘being’ rather than just talking endlessly about consciousness and methods for attaining so-called ‘higher’ consciousness (not that consciousness was ever a vertical property!). To transfigure the human individual (establish a new, developed state) marks a difference between a world of ideas (mental and/or emotional) and a world that is perceived and comprehended from a distinct degree of perceptive understanding. Modern life is largely cultivated from the world of ideas rather than a world conducive to metaphysical truths. Thus, modern life only accumulates upon the externals, but does not utilize its resources for the possibility of transmutation. This systematic and consistent accumulation ultimately becomes a burden upon an energetically heavy, materialistic world. Similarly, any form of psychology cut off from an inner vitality and spirit is ultimately materialistic. What is required is a recognition of, and contact with, a psycho-spirit vital energy, and not just separate disciplines of ‘spirituality’ and ‘psychology’ – but both to work on the inner being. It is this lack of a psychological approach to inner work that has allowed many current practices of ‘spirituality’ to drift into a commercial ‘well-being’ marketplace that caters for those seeking easily absorbed ‘spirit satisfiers.’ What is necessary now is for enough able body-minded people to work towards the potentialization of the human condition before human civilization either is dragged into a technocratic transhumanist future or falls into a mire of spiritual wishful thinking.
1 Shah, Idries, (1978) A Perfumed Scorpion. London: Octagon Press, p.138-9
2 Shah, Idries, (1978) A Perfumed Scorpion. London: Octagon Press, p.140
[i] The Will to Purpose: Activating our Inner Drive & Intentionality – https://kingsleydennis.com/the-will-to-purpose/
[ii] See A Metaphysical’s Way of Fire: Collected Poems by Nicholas Hagger