Ancient Astronauts – And The Search For History

               ‘Beliefs do not need to be coherent in order to be believed.’                Zygmunt Bauman – In Search of Politics – Page 1

The likelihood of any event happening is often greatly revised in the light of its actual occurrence.  Looking backward into history and perceiving a determining pattern of unfolding development is exactly the basis of how history as a subject is created, preserved and perpetuated.  A definite objective is used as a point of observational anchorage upon which the entirety of history hangs.  History is presented as an objective reality when in fact it is a purely subjective creation masquerading as a concrete fact.  History represents the thoughts and emotions of the human mind gathered at a particular time and place, which are used in a self-perpetuating interpretive manner.  History is nothing more than what certain human beings think at a particular moment and who possess the social, cultural and political power to make what they think the dominating paradigm.  History is an exercise in human psychology that has over the years assumed a certain objectivity that in reality it does not possess.  History is a story created by the human mind that weaves events together into an over-all narrative that seeks to establish an interpretative viewpoint that is assumed ‘a priori’ to be the only correct and acceptable way for the experience of humanity over-time to be both assessed and recorded.  Historical narratives, of course, differ from country to country, political party to political party, and class to class, etc.  Established historical narratives often compete with one another for precedence in the minds of ordinary people.  History does not only record events, but also instructs the reader of that history how to think about the events recorded, and how to interpret current events in the light of that history.  Conventional history is a form of psychological conditioning that limits human perception to a particular set of interpretive factors, and which simultaneously renders any other way of viewing the same events as redundant or irrelevant.  The history taught in the official educational establishments reflects the dominant trend evident within that society.  This trend is inevitably dictated by the middle and upper classes within a society who numerically represent a distinct minority, but one which has acquired for itself complete political power. 

The majority of people within society who exist outside of the middle and upper classes are controlled through the education system which instils within each individual the ideology and historical narrative peculiar to the middle and upper classes, and which represents their interests.  The majority of the members forming a society possess limited political power and are educated through a system which has been created and maintained by a politically powerful minority.  Through the study of history, and other academic subjects, the mentality of the powerful minority is instilled in the minds of those who form the majority within a society and is viewed as the only natural way of interpreting reality.  This effectively conditions those who could be troublesome to the powerful minority by training-out any notions of viewing history (or society) in any other way.  As a consequence, and considering that history is not an impartial record of events, it is obvious that as a subject it is riddled with class interest and political bias and can not, therefore, be reasonably expected to convey the entirety of events as they unfold.  History as it stands today only conveys certain recorded events – ignoring all else as irrelevant or of no concern.  Those events that are recorded are so loaded with an over-lay of opinion from elsewhere, that they are rendered virtually useless for developing an effective over-view.  Interpretation of events is very important if balance is to be restored to historical narratives.  The gathering together of all the available facts is an important process that has gathered momentum as levels of literacy have increased in the world.  Whereas only the upper echelons of society were able to read and write in the past – and establish their historical interpretation – today the ordinary people, by and large, are now able to study historical narratives and see clearly how they are formed, and judge whether the histories themselves may be considered fair and impartial.  Furthermore, historical narratives that exclude large parts of the population, or that deliberately obscure certain viewpoints and interpretations, are clearly seen as the fabrications that they undoubtedly are.  Learning a historical narrative that demeans the individual studying it, only leads to a spreading of officially sanctioned educational ignorance throughout society.  Although the status quo has been maintained throughout the ages using this method of propaganda, in post-modern times this is no longer the case.  Education is not simply the possession of the rich or politically powerful – the internet has the potential to transform every living room into the best university in the world.  Ignorance can no longer be used to keep people in a psychological or physical state of servitude.  In the post-modern age any and every possible way of interpreting history is available.  It is all equally valid at the point of encountering and as a consequence potentially equally invalid, but this does not render post-modern history ineffective, on the contrary, it strengthens its purpose and presence.  Post-modern history disposes of the partiality of the modes of history developed in pre-modern and modernistic times.  The human mind is truly freed to explore reality in any and all of its possible manifestations.  What is apparent today is the occasional (but often venomous) clash between modernistic and post-modern modes of historical interpretation, and the patterns of psychology premised upon on them.  Interpreting the world is as much a philosophical process as it is a matter of history.  Current world view and psychology are intimately entwined, particularly the world view wedded as it is to the modernistic interpretation of history. 

Questioning the underlying foundation of the defining narrative is tantamount to questioning an individual’s self-perception of their personal identity.  To question the former is viewed as undermining the other.  Science in its modern aspect weighs-up the evidence and declares what appears to be the correct interpretation of events and processes.  It is a matter of collecting correct and verifiable data in a systematic manner.  History is not like this, and has never been subject to the kind of scrutiny of the facts implicit within the scientific method.  Science considers the facts it gathers as being of an independent nature, separate and distinct from the observer who collects them.  A ‘fact’ found in history is nothing of the sort.  The historical process of assessment and recording of data tends to create facts to fit the general (and assumed) narrative implicit in the mind of the historian.  In this regard facts are synthesised to suit the interpretation.  Unlike scientific processes known as ‘experiments’, the gathering of historical fact depends heavily upon the building of what looks like a coherent story.  Historical facts do not, and can not stand alone, as they are part of a rich mosaic of creative thinking that assumes the ‘objectivity’ of authority once it is created.  Historical narratives are created with very little evidence when compared to the scientific method.  Within Western scientific academia it is assumed that ‘nothing is happening’ until proven otherwise.  This is known as the ‘no’ hypothesis.  Conversely within the construction of the historical narrative – everything is believed to be happening and as such it has to be arranged into some kind of logical order.  This ‘arranging’ is a conditioned process that is not impartial but dependent upon the mind-set of the historian, who represents a particular ‘official’ view if the history he presents is to be taken seriously by the officialdom of his society.  To deviate from this prescribed standard of historical narrative is to run the risk of being accused of not being ‘academic’, and of practicing speculative or pseudo history.  This situation creates an almost religious situation where certain ‘orthodoxy’ dictates how history should be created, maintained, and perpetuated.  As often found within religion, those who question the teachings, or who attempt to explain history from another perspective, are branded as being ‘unorthodox’ and their writings attacked and vilified.  Ironically, it is the practice of common sense that expands the interpretive basis of history so that it involves a far greater and inclusive framework of analysis. It is ironic because the so called orthodox narratives of modernistic history often accuse any paradigm that diverts from their own, as being illogical, or lacking in common sense.  The post-modern condition that allows for this multifaceted approach is also creating the situation whereby the gathering process that compiles history is developing into a much more efficient and inclusive mechanism that has the potential to further human understanding beyond the confines of the modernistic boundaries that limit logic and stifle debate.  It is interesting to note that science, although presented as beyond question in its findings, every so often has to change its opinions when new evidence becomes apparent.  Virtually over-night, theories that were once defended to the hilt are abandoned and treated as if they never existed.  Dominant historical narratives tend to be more robust than scientific theory in as much as they are not subject to the same level of scrutiny.  History is not produced under laboratory conditions but is actually plucked out of the air and raised-up to the status preferred interpretation.  This is because in essence history is actually the ability to create a convincing and entertaining story that appears to be objective and a fair treatment of its subject, rather than a means for collecting reliable, objective information. 

In pre-modern times Christian ideology defined social history that was based upon the literal interpretation of the bible as defined through the development of theology.  In modernistic times theology was eventually usurped from its position of dominance and superseded by the philosophy of science which was based upon rational observation and logical assessment.  The imagination of theology was transcended by the use of the intellectual assessment of physical matter.  Matter and not spirit became the dominant factor in the minds of modernistic humanity.  Following the Industrial Revolution the church in the West slowly began to lose its influence.  The human body became controlled and ordered by work in a factory that adhered to physical processes of manufacture that necessitated a subsequent re-structuring of thought patterns within the mind.  This re-structuring of the mind allowed for a lack of spirituality to become evident in society and facilitated the development of materialist logic as the dominant thought process.  Nothing either within the human mind or outside of it escaped this transformation that went beyond the mere use of the imagination as a means to define existential reality.  The modernistic (logical) state of mind finds the religiously inclined mind-set to be dangerous, corrupting, and ultimately misleading in its imaginations.  Religion, (attempting to adhere to a pre-modern mind-set within a modernistic condition) often enters a form of conflict with modern science whereby the stories contained within the bible are used as a means to understand and define creation and humanity’s place within it.  A dichotomy has opened which sees logic on one side, confronted by imagination on the other.  In the condition of modernity, religious thinking is declared ‘old’ and as such is viewed as being in constant opposition to logical science.  Both have existed side by side within the condition of modernity in a time that has necessarily favoured materialist rationality.  By way of comparison, however, the post-modern condition accepts and allows for human imagination and rationality to occupy exactly the same place at the same time.  The contemporary condition is that of post-modernity; this means that the perceived argument between that of pre-modern religion and that of modernistic science is essentially over – although many still invest time and energy in attempting to perpetuate its dichotomy.  The post-modern condition has a contingent base that gives equally to all and any human traits of creativity and interpretation.  A new paradigm has become established that removes the necessity for the creation of either/or dichotomies, as there is no longer any conflict generated from a one-sided bias created upon the (modernistic) factory floor and reflected within the human mind.  The conventional factory model is falling away within the state of post-modernity, as is the psychology based upon it.  Things no longer have to be lined-up to be considered rational and organised.  Science, although still preferring the ‘cause and effect’ observational method of organisation, has changed within the post-modern condition.  It may appear the same as it did during modernistic times, but in the post-modern condition its predictable outer appearance obscures a fluid foundation that is forever shifting.  This change can not be understood through the auspices of modernistic thought patterns.  The entire edifice of how humanity perceives time and space has altered dramatically, together with how human beings view one another. 

The many racisms that were developed during modernistic times – which purported to compare the favourable as ‘like with like’, and the unfavourably as ‘like with other’ – still exist as modernistic echoes living out their existence through the minds and bodies of those tainted by its presence, but its existence is purely contingent and illusionary in its manifestation, despite the obvious and very real damage it does to individuals and society.  This pseudo identity crisis makes fools and enemies out of all it touches.  It is not that race does not exist as a biological certainty (‘race’ is not biologically real), but rather that the notion of race is a thought-pattern created in the mind, and lived out through the body in an environment moulded by modernistic notions that demand the measurement and quantification of all ‘difference’ assuming to exist in the physical world.  The notion of race is the product of measuring and recording the human body as if it were a rock, plant or interesting animal.  These recorded differences, once they are ascribed a purely arbitrary scale of value serve as the basis of one shade of skin colour being considered inferior or superior to another, with the exercising of political power and cultural force over those presented.   This process is historically controlled and perpetuated by those existing at the top of the social scale, over those considered to be of a lesser racial value and lower social class.  This psychological illusion is ascribed a certain reality because the skin colour of a person is used as a physical justification for the perpetuation of the psychological thought pattern termed ‘racism’.  Within modern racism, this has been a relatively simple affair perpetuated by Europeans spreading imperialism and colonisation around the world as part of the global spread of the productive forces of the Industrial Revolution, seeking out new markets, resources, and exploitable populations.  The post-modern condition, following as it does in the wake of the collapse of empire, has facilitated the equalisation of racism whereby any person of any ethnic background can assume a racially dominant attitude and deliberately set out to persecute those considered racially inferior. 

This problem is further transformed by the idea that people of the same skin colour can express race hatred towards one another because they happen to originate from a different country or ethnic group.  This may be termed colour prejudice that does not actually involve the use of colour to justify its presence.  Colour prejudice is present but expressed through an innate hatred toward another’s religion, language, culture and perceived behaviour.  The former historical victims of European racism, in the post-modern condition, often exhibit a form of counter-racism against the descendents of Europeans that appears to contain within its formulation the very racism and injustice it is designed to fight and over-come.  It is a mirroring of racism free of the stringent economic and political powerlessness experienced within the colonial situation experience by those who were once physically dominated and conquered.  The multicultural social space brings many different peoples together into a close proximity.  Although in many ways the injustices of the modernistic condition of racism undoubtedly still exist within Western societies, with Europeans in general still exercising a form of political and cultural power over those considered foreign or some how out of place, nevertheless the strictures of counter-racism that is some times used by minorities and ethnic groups is often accused of being ‘racist’ by those who experience it.  Although the post-modern condition does allow for the existence of modernistic historical trends, these trends still exist in a fading form inherited from family and community.  To the individual these trends and traits are experienced as absolutely real and inalienable and much stock is invested in these manifestations with regard to the formulation of personality, character, culture, and a sense of self-worth.  The issue of racism is emotive and powerful for both victim and perpetuator.  Racism is nothing short of being a historical force being played out in the minds and bodies of those subject to it.  The post-modern condition does not affirm or deny the presence of racism, but what it does do is give the opportunity for the individual to choose to be free from the tyranny of history and live anew in a state of pure freedom.  The issue is one of human identity as viewed through the prism of history, but identity as defined by history is contingent upon many factors, factors that are often contradictory in nature.  In the post-modern condition all identity is open to interpretation and dependent upon choice or personal preference as it lies outside of the conditioning of modernity.  Pure post-modernity, free as it is from any taint of modernism, opens up a world of continuous free thinking that spirals onwards with no beginning or end.  All eventualities are possible in essence, and no one idea contains an inherent superiority over any others.  Reality is open to interpretation and is momentarily defined as time unfolds.  Reality is not set into a monolithic theory that purports to explain all things; it is developed and defined only as required in a process of perpetual self-creation.  This constant state of flux unleashes creativity in all directions, with the necessary caveat that everything that is created has the potential to fall back in upon itself – into a state of pure ambiguity – the moment that its forms into a recognisable theory and/or social construct.  The human mind has historically sort to define itself and its place in the world through thought forms that are recognisable by a highly constrained ‘logic’ based upon the replication of the measurement of external matter – excluding as it does the actual mind that conceives of such a scheme in the first place.  This is the practice of ideas impersonating matter and appearing to take on the attributes of physical matter. 

Of course such an approach to reality creates the bizarre and illogical situation whereby ‘thoughts’ created in the mind are deliberately misinterpreted as existing ‘outside’ of the mind that has created them.  In this materialist model of the mind, the interior of the mind itself is denied as existing, even though it is exactly this interior of the mind that is the most obvious and evident to every human being that is consciously aware.  Objectifying ‘thought’ so as to create the false reality that an internally produced thought process occurs only in the physical environment serves to separate the observer from the observed – this is the basis of the subject-object dichotomy that has plagued the Western mind for thousands of years – it has even permeated religious thinking through the Judeo-Christian tradition, and other similar theologies.  The materialist mode of observation, regardless of the exact interpretation of what it means to be ‘materialist’, excludes the interior of the mind from consideration in the act of conventional logical assessment.  The mind which is aware of all things is excluded from its own awareness (in theory) of an attribute it has created, as materialism as a philosophy is nothing more than a contrivance of the mind, a contrivance that ultimately seeks to deny the actual psychic foundation of its creation.  In short, materialism is an illusion that has been proven to grant certain benefits during the development of humanity – culminating in the industry of modernity and the technology of post-modernity,  but which is now experiencing a crisis of relevancy in this new condition.  Materialism, in the post-modern condition, is continuously being contradicted through the presence of ambiguity which sees its once apparently permanent structures and ideas fall away back into the nothingness that serves as the basis of all creativity.  The premise of logical materialism is still used as a methodology toward the development and sustainability of human culture and technology, but with the presence of ambiguity now forming part of that creative process.  Modernistic materialism has finally lost the undisputed position of scientific certainty it once held and has been replaced with a tacit uneasiness associated with the present moment.  Therefore, acknowledging the usurping of materialism has led to a necessary re-examining of all modernistic knowledge based upon the materialist premise.  This includes all notions of human history to date.  The post-modern condition frees the human potential to ‘free think’ out of the shackles of modernistic, materialistic logic, and to explore other avenues of creativity utilising new methods of logical assessment that break apart the old, limited modernistic boundaries of perception and understanding.  Human origins, although dominated by the modernistic thinking of Darwinian Theory have been radically re-examined in recent times by a number of post-modern thinkers, such as Erich Von Daniken, Graham Hancock, Richard Milton and many others.  The post-modern condition has also witnessed the collapse of institutionalised religion and the rise of secularism, atheism, and a very popular upsurge in the belief in the paranormal.  In the West, which includes Europe and the United States of America, Asian religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism have become very popular amongst Europeans.  Academics such as Dr Rupert Sheldrake (of Cambridge University) and Dean Radin (of the Institute of Noetic Sciences) and the great post-modern philosopher Zygmunt Baumam (Leeds University) have redefined the place of the mind in relation to reality, and even Edinburgh University in Scotland is offering academic courses in the study of the paranormal.  Former Harvard academic Richard Alpert – now known as Baba Ram Dass – pursued a path of consciousness expansion and development which took him beyond the formal psycho-physical boundaries of materialist modernity and firmly into the free psychological space of the post-modern condition which he equates with Hindu and Buddhist notions of enlightenment.  It is ironic to think that as the world enters the post-modern condition, the forward thinkers, and those very much aware of the present moment and its implications for human knowledge, are generally viewed as periphery actors at best, or out and out cranks at worst.  This limited mind-set of criticism is nothing more than modernity looking at its own demise in the face of the post-modern condition. 

Human society and advancement has always been subject to those who ‘see more’ when others accuse them of heresy or unorthodox thinking.  This is the case today as the modernistic models begin to fall away and the post-modern models (and non-models) are not yet fully perceived in the minds of the general population.  This is not to suggest that everything that is scene is true, but is rather saying that truth is a multiplicity of possibilities at any given time, and as such no one strata of truth should hold precedence over another at the point of the formulation of ideas.  The post-modern condition, at the crucible of the manufacture of ideas, concepts and theories, ensures an absolutely even and equal base of production that can not be defined (or predicted) through the use of out-moded forms of analysis.  The post-modern condition can free humanity of extremism because it has moved beyond the polarising methodology prevalent in modernistic societies.  Extremism and immorality are the products of a ruthless modernity as it destroys pre-modern values and existence, and plunges all and sundry into an uncaring and highly exploitative class system that exists only to acquire monetary profit regardless of the human cost.  Transcending this duality of exploitation, the post-modern condition penetrates to the essence of this polarisation – effectively uprooting modernistic structures as it does so.  This conditioning is nothing more than the sudden and dramatic physical and psychological re-balancing of the entire human biosphere.  Modernistic historical interpretation, with its simplistic narratives and ‘either-or’ choices no longer can be sustained adequately within the post-modern condition.  It is not that history is dead, as much as it is the case that history has lost its narrow definition and has now been ripped open as a subject.  An unlimited history is subject to continuous restructuring and adjustment in the search for a stable truth that can not be found.  The loss of a one sided certainty has paved the way to an unbounded creativity that has led a number of thinkers to radically re-conceive history, and suggest – as Erich Van Daniken does – that human development upon the physical and psychological planes has not been the product of a straight forward Darwinian evolutionary process, but is rather the consequence of interference at the genetic level, carried out by technologically advanced alien civilisations who visited the planet Earth hundreds of thousands of years ago, and who, whilst finding human beings in a very primitive state of development, improved their DNA and bequeathed certain clues for the future development of advanced technology.   Van Daniken expressed this ‘ancient astronaut’ theory in his 1968 book entitled ‘Chariots of the Gods – Was God an Astronaut?’  This book has sold millions and has been in print ever since with many reprints occurring in the early 21st century.  This book was written at the height of modernity as it was about to transition into the post-modern condition.  Indeed, Van Daniken’s theory that human development has been caused due to the interference from outside and advanced alien civilisations, exhibits aspects that can be described as simultaneously modernistic and post-modernistic in simultaneous construction.  At the time the USA and the USSR were locked into a space race designed to prove which method of human organisation – the Capitalist or the Communist – could produce the greatest advancements in science.  It was the Soviet Union that led the way throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s – using their technology to places dogs, men and women into space, in crafts that orbited the Earth before returning to the planet.  However, it was the USA who finally achieved the landing of human beings upon the surface of the Moon in 1969.  It is interesting to note that Van Daniken uses the archaeological record to suggest that spacemen in suits have visited the Earth many of thousands of years ago.  Not only this, but proof of this visitation has been claimed by Van Daniken to exist in certain tribal clothing used in ceremonies and rituals, whereby garments that might be described as vaguely resembling the space suits of the 1950’s and 1960’s can be seen.  The problem with this assessment is that there is no reason for an ancient astronaut to have worn clothing that resembled in any way the garments of either the Soviet or American space programmes dating from the mid 20th century.  What Van Daniken’s theory actually achieves is a limited breaking away from the conventional (Darwinian) arguments associated with modernity, and establishes a partial post-modern statement that human development was not due to a theistic entity or a natural biological process, but rather was the result of a technological intervention initiated by an advanced alien civilisation.  Of course Erich Van Daniken did not invent science fiction, but what his work does show is an attempt to prove what might be considered a scientific fiction by many, to actually be a science fact in reality.  The continued output of Erich Van Daniken has spanned the exact transition between the modern and post-modern time periods and as a result has lost much of its shock value in contemporary times.  The fear associated with the dangers of post WWII space travel has been replaced very much with a sense of technologically inspired indifference toward the entire subject.  Space travel has now moved away from an emphasis upon manned flights toward that of unmanned space probes able to travel vast distances and send back information, with little or no risk to people on Earth.  Despite all these probes sending back information, no evident signs of advanced life have been discovered. 

Erich Van Daniken, however, represents far more than just a modernistic crank spouting badly thought out science fiction.  Whatever his actual motivations in persisting with his theory in the face of extensive and often withering criticism, his continued intellectual presence offers an example of the free thinking state associated with the post-modern condition.  The reason his work sells millions is because in reality ordinary people would rather read his theories than those created by members of a modernistic establishment that no longer has any relevance in the contemporary world, and is irrelevant to the minds of those fully inhabiting the post-modern state.   Van Daniken’s work today revels in the full glow of post-modern creativity.  Whereas modernistic science must be seen to be correct all of the time, for Van Daniken’s theory to be considered correct, he only has to be proven right just once and the ailing edifice of modernistic science will come crashing down as a result.  In reality what Van Daniken says is as likely (and as unlikely) as any other theoretical statement formulated within the post-modern condition, to be true.  As nothing is certain, all statements have the potential to be equally true and false at the same time.  Ancient astronaut theorists are of the opinion that conventional history is wrong.  This viewpoint is very much a necessity considering the nature of their theory.  However, conventional history as a narrative, as it is only a snap-shot of what might have happened, is in essence incomplete, and it is this ‘incompleteness’ that condemns modernistic history to be considered generally inadequate and incorrect through omission.  The post-modern condition is firmly existent within the present moment allowing for the theoretical presence of all moments.  History is no longer some thing that happened ‘then’, but instead is that which is happening and not happening in equal measure in the ‘existential moment’ as humanity exists and is ever more aware of its own existence.  The idea that ancient astronauts have visited the Earth, when viewed within the conceptual freedom of the post-modern condition, should be considered no less likely than a theistic god creating the universe and every thing within in it a number of days, or that an unseen and mysterious force called evolution through natural selection has slowly but definitely created change in the physical structure of the human species, more or less by accident.  Erich Van Daniken’s work combines both of these concepts – but in so doing replaces the ‘god’ concept with an advanced alien civilisation, and evolution’s ‘natural selection’ with technologically led genetic manipulation.  For Van Daniken, it is science rather than nature which is the key.  In this sense he agrees with modernistic science that advocates the continued advancement of society through a permanent technological improvement over time, but he disagrees as to the nature of the beginnings of intelligent human life which he believes only exists as a product of genetic manipulation from an outside alien source.   A higher science created modern humanity and Darwin’s evolutionary theory – Van Daniken believes – had nothing to do with it.  What Darwin might have been seeing is this alien inspired genetic manipulation playing out its physical implications through the fossil record.  Like modernistic science, Van Daniken is creating a long narrative that purports to explain everything that has ever happened to date.  It is true that he has radically re-written the ‘why’ with regards to exactly what might be happening, but as modernistic long narratives no longer carry any currency within the post-modern condition, Van Daniken no longer has to try too hard to push his theory.  The post-modern condition is far too tolerant of ‘difference’ to dismiss the unusual or the out of place.  In a very real sense it no longer matters if god was an astronaut, or if ancient astronauts the ever visited the Earth – it is enough just to consider the possibility that one or more may have done.

Freedom In The Post-Modern Age

Waterloo Station

The Post-Modern Condition

The terms pre-modern, modern and post-modern, are constructs solely of Western thinking in relation to the observation of history coupled with that of economic development.  In many ways, and typical of philosophical speculation, these terms are contemporary in nature and projected backward creating a perception of history defined around the Industrial Revolution which occurred in England between 1750 and 1850.  Every thing before this date falls into the definition of ‘pre-modern’ and for a time after this date – ‘modernity’ holds sway.  Following World War II, and the subsequent development of the technological age, the ‘post-modern’ era is believed to have been entered by advanced economic countries.  The definition of what exactly is meant by the terms ‘pre-modern’ and ‘modern’ varies from one academic discipline to the another, but all tend to agree that the current age is post-modern in nature.  This is to say that certain wealthy countries have created a distinct psychological and physical environment that has significantly changed the way the human mind perceives and creates reality.  It is defined by a presence of freedom that is not based upon the individual owning of wealth, or upon class privilege.  It is present, but not usually perceived by all within a society, due mainly to inherent inequalities with regard to education and employment.  This freedom, although theoretically equal for all to perceive, does not wipe away social inequalities, as these inequalities are the product of a system that is artificially created by the human mind which deliberately and inherently maintains these unjust imbalances exactly in the pursuance of individual power and class privilege.  Inequality within society is the product of the human will, whereas post-modern freedom manifests independent of the will, even though it is as much a psychological, as it is a physical phenomenon.  Post-modern freedom appears as if out of nowhere, whereas the structures of conventional society are very much the product of a contrived human behaviour pattern that is perpetuated in cycles.  Ironically, post-modern freedom has its origins in gross economic development, but it manifests independent of the means of its creation.  This observation has dramatic implications for a spiritual development that may be defined as being free of religious influence, but nevertheless provides a very real sense of ‘wholeness’ to the individual.              

Post-modern freedom is essentially an economically created freedom that is unbounded by the institutions of state, country, and international structure.  As a freedom it is not imposed by a body of law-makers from above within a political organisational, but rather appears to spontaneously manifest from below within a society.  The post-modern condition, once it is attained, continuously sprouts new, original and thoroughly unpredictable freedoms that in their very nature can not be regulated or controlled by the usual organs of state censorship, or influenced by any parliamentary procedure.  Post-modern freedom exists outside of the usual social and political constructs that have guided humanity’s cultural development for thousands of years.  In this respect this kind of new freedom is not new at all, but its apparently sudden and dramatic appearance upon the international scene is proving to be one of the biggest challenges to contemporary governments for a very long time.  This freedom is spreading forever outward from below and represents both a physical and psychological ‘space’ within which these new areas of unbounded creativity arise.  Post-modern freedom can not be adequately defined – as such a definition would render the post-modern process obsolete, effectively destroying the new freedom and reducing it to its modernistic predecessor.  Furthermore, the continuous and spontaneous manifestation that is also expanding beyond the realm of immediate understanding, actively prevents the human mind from performing its usual lazy habit of mediocre intellectualism, and demands that as the new freedom expands outwards, the human mind, that is to say the human consciousness, should expand with it.  Physically, these new freedoms generally have no state developed law forbidding their appearance, procedure, or application.  This is human conscious expansion on a remarkable level that is not induced by any mind-altering drug, or achieved through the practice of any apparent religious path.  Post-modern freedom manifests for all beings, equally, here and now.

The nature of post-modern freedom, although equally applicable to all, does not necessarily mean that it is immediately perceivable to all those who exist within its condition.  Its condition is the product, generally speaking, of advanced economic development, although on occasion such philosophies as Buddhism have been interpreted as being of a ‘post-modern’ nature.  Obviously ancient India was not in the advanced economic state that western Europe is in today, but the Buddha’s philosophy marks a stark break with the traditions of his time, and represents a clear manifestation of one particular aspect of the post-modern condition, namely that of dismissing the long narratives of history that had previously dominated Indian philosophical and spiritual thought.  West Europe, the United States of America and to a lesser extent the emerging central and eastern European states, are the product of hundred of years of economic development that has created nothing less than a revolution in the material structure of outward society that has seen the remarkable establishment of science and medicine over that of the theology of monotheistic religion.  This state of industrialisation and technological development, regardless of its inherent inequalities has nevertheless created an extensive collective wealth that has raised the level of physical and psychological existence.  Indeed, the initial period of this development is viewed as modernistic, and represents a time of radical extension of logic into all realms of human endeavour, added and abetted by the pursuit of monetary profit.  Modern logic, through its ingenuity, easily dominated the peoples of the world as it spread throughout the globe, as their societies, existing as they did in their pre-modern forms, were unable to cope with the encountering of this new human development in organisation.  Traditional modes of behaviour, coupled with the use of traditional weaponry, were unable to defend the pre-modern human groupings from the sheer combative forces of modernity at the point of first contact.  Organised logic, with its inherent over-view of events, gave an advantage that superseded the local mindset that defined pre-modern society.  Pre-modern societies were predictable in the eyes of the new modernistic thinkers and organisers.  The limited logic of the pre-modern human groupings was not able to predict or understand the scope of modernistic thinking.  Local logic was, of course, capable of many interesting and essential developments (developments referred to as ‘traditional thinking’ today), but these developments remained both psychologically and physically of a very limited nature.  If a human grouping could be beaten in open warfare, then the modernistic approach could rule with an unquestioned authority.  Indeed, this perception became justifying premise behind western European imperialism.

Even with cultures such as those of China and Japan, which saw pre-modern organisation developed to a very high degree of physical and psychological sophistication, the encountering with the West, particularly in the case of China, was ultimately disastrous.  Japan responded to the corrosive presence of European military and business interests by ‘banning’ all contact with the West, at a time when the West was unable to militarily respond effectively.  In China, it was a different story.  Even Japan behaved like an imperialist power when it participated in the European invasion and occupation of commercially profitable areas of China’s coastline and interior.  The pre-modern stasis of cultural equilibrium that had produced startling technological innovation in China suffered a terrible blow from the speed and efficiency of European, industrialised technology.  It is interesting to note that many later Western technological innovations were actually created at a far earlier date within the cultural milieu of pre-modern China, and that the mind-set permeating Chinese self-awareness was actually one of organisational and spiritual superiority.  Chinese traditional culture was very much viewed as the accomplishment of perfected organisation upon the earth that could respond to any eventuality through its wise appreciation of the natural flow of events.  Natural events that can be understood, of course, can be predicted and controlled.  For thousands of years this appeared to be the case, until China encountered the modernistic West.  The reason that the traditional Chinese response to external threats did not succeed against Western imperialist forces is due not to the superiority of the West, but is rather the consequence of China being ruled by a foreign power – the Manchu Qing – for over two hundred years, that instigated an imperialist system that outwardly mimicked the old Chinese order, but which at the same time actually pursued a policy of undermining and eradicating the spark of Chinese genius that had inspired thousands of years of Chinese cultural innovation.  In reality the old Chinese order had already collapsed in 1644 – the official year of the establishing of the Qing Dynasty, and when the Western forces finally clashed with those of the Qing, the Qing forces were no match, and due to their inherent weakness created by Qing policy, even appeared ludicrous and uncanny.  It is an interesting speculation to consider what might have been the case had the West encountered a fully functioning Chinese imperial system that was at the top of its game and ruthlessly efficient.  The chances are that being far away from home, and working from a finite set of resources, the Western forces would have been thoroughly defeated and the cultural integrity of China left intact.  In developed pre-modern cultures such as China and Japan, it is questionable whether modernistic culture, with its over-arching logical organisation, should be considered naturally superior – indeed there is much evidence to suggest the contrary.

The post-modern condition of existence and being that is in a state of continuous becoming and in this sense may be interpreted as inherently unstable.  This instability, however, is not destructive in the manner that is often thought of as being obvious.  Post-modern instability is the condition’s greatest strength.  It is not to be interpreted through the filter of ‘modernistic’ understanding, but rather represents a continuous state of creativity that is unbounded by conventional social and political constructs.  In the modernistic sense the term instability represents the state of atrophy that sets in when a society or political construct is on the brink of collapse.  It is the condition of collapse whereby familiar structures are both observed and experienced as beginning to lose their coherency, predictability and function.  Modernistic instability is nothing less than the prelude to social and political chaos.  Post-modern instability may be viewed as being defined as the exact opposite.  It is a state of high creativity that exists due to the ending of the old certainties associated with modernistic thinking.  Post-modern instability, whilst appearing unstable is in fact nothing of the kind.  It is true that its outward appearance seems to be ‘indefinable’, but it is this indefinability that gives the post-modern condition its greatest strength of presence.  From the psychology associated with modernistic thinking, the post-modern condition is often mistakenly associated with the state of chaos as no observable stability in social conditions appears to be present.   In the modernistic environment choices are limited to supporting the prevalent social order, or rebelling against it, in the post-modern condition this kind of limited thinking is no longer relevant to humanity.  The socio-economic conditions of the post-modern state create an inner and outer environment where the either/or dichotomy no longer has relevance.  The post-modern condition is ‘free’ in every direction and can not be harnessed by the constructs of conventional society.  These constructs were developed to support and control a completely different set of psychological and physical conditions and as such are unprepared for post-modernism and unable to effectively respond to it.  Modernity is out of date and no longer has any relevance to humanity in reality, despite the fact that post-modern development is currently asymmetric around the world and is limited to geographical zones that have historically experienced dramatic economic development.  The other areas of the world, therefore, can still be interpreted as pre-modern and modern as a consequence, but due to the post-modern condition having been achieved by a human grouping in the world, it is inevitable that its influence will spread and that eventually the entire globe will be affected by its presence. 

Post-modern freedom manifests in many ways.  This manifestation to date has proven not to be predictable.  Modernistic scientific methodology has been unable to define, or observe exactly what the post-modern condition actually is.  Of course this has led to some people denying the presence of the condition at all, although there is much to be said for the comparison of the thinking associated with quantum theory, with that of the philosophy associated with the post-modern condition.  In a sense ‘nothing is certain’ in either approach and this statement serves as the hinge that the respective interpretations of reality move around.  Nation states and national governments are the product of modernistic thinking and as such do not possess the psychological and physical constructs to come to terms with a post-modern presence that renders obsolete the very philosophical underpinnings of their existence.  In many ways the modernistic state experiences the post-modern condition very much as the pre-modern societies experienced the modernistic imperialist forces.  When modernity encountered pre-modernity, it was simply a competition of the use of resources.  By and large, as the modernistic forces used resources with a greater efficiency, the pre-modern societies were over-whelmed, dominated and eventually converted to modernistic living.  The post-modern condition does not need to openly conflict with modernity.  Indeed it is modernity that has given birth to it.  Post-modernity does not physically conflict in a social environment, on the contrary it completely dismisses and does not accept in any way the strictures and conventions of modernistic expression.  The post-modern condition dissolves the certainty of modernity as it appears and thus sweeps away the foundational apparatus that once supported modernism in its unquestioned superiority.  The post-modern condition causes the modernistic state to fall back in upon itself in a way that enables a continuous multifaceted generation of freedoms in all directions to be produced.  Continuously new ideas are formed beyond the boundaries of current conventionality, which often lead to complementary developments within the physical environment, such as new technologies that harness this creativity and freedom.  More than this, however, the requirement to think in certain and specific orientations is no longer present.  This frees the mind from the requirement to either think or not think.  Nothing has to be accepted from the past as being existentially valid or of any kind of relevance.  History and the pooled knowledge of humanity become means of explaining how the current destination has been arrived at, but is collectively unable to explain the destination itself, just as a map only leads the way, but can not elaborate upon the complexities of the desired objective.          

An individual is born into a society that ascribes psychological and physical patterns of identification.  This identification is premised upon a perceived history of that society, and is refined through the political, religious, historical and cultural organs of that society.  The society itself has a pre-conceived social scale that is defined by the amount of wealth the parents possess, as wealth buys influence and access to prestigious education institutions and political positions of influence.  Lack of wealth equates to a lack of choice in this regard, and condemns the child to a life of mediocrity at best, or suffering and poverty at worst.  Influence is denied to an individual who does not have familial access to monetary resources and the opportunities the possession of such resources entails.  This serves the requirement of the Capitalist society as masses of individuals are condemned to a life of drudgery and hardship by their humble beginnings.  The masses of individuals become workers for the system which perpetuates itself mercilessly in the continuous search for profit.  This accumulation of wealth over many hundreds of years has transformed European society out of its pre-modern situation and into the condition of modernity – a state that has seen tremendous social and psychological development.  This situation of continuous and relentless exploitation of the vast majority of the individuals within a society has created a transformative effect that has permanently altered the way life is lived and intellectually analysed and understood.  In many ways the mass exploitation of the workers has been transcended through the arrival of the post-modern condition.  This is not to say that exploitation has ceased – it definitely has not – but rather that the nature of the exploitation itself has changed.  Individuals are still institutionally oppressed within the Capitalist system but what has changed is the amount and extent of freedom available to the individual occupying the social role of exploited worker, a freedom that was unknown to the working class that existed within the state of modernity.  The working environment of the lineal factory dictated by the hands of the clock has by and large given way to an amorphous working environment where the individual defines and chooses to a certain extent the working conditions that are to be used to create the product at hand.  This is true despite a political environment in the UK (since 1979) that has seen the ‘management’ given untold power over the workers.  This political shift to the right has coincided with the emergence and establishment of the post-modern condition which has rendered by its presence, the irrelevancy of such notions of the political ‘left’, or ‘right’.  The workers have become freed through the fruits of their collective labour over many hundreds of years but the problem at the moment is one of perception, as not every one is able to clearly see this new condition.  Capitalism has transformed itself from within and it is only a matter of time before its outer structures collapse completely and are replaced with a new kind of social and political interaction.  In the meantime, the psychologically and physically freed worker must exist in an environment that is ambiguous and contradictory.  The oppressive social structures of employer-employee still appear to exist, but are now occupied by a worker who is inherently ‘freed’ from the role he inhabits, as he inhabits it.  The worker is freed from being a ‘worker’, even when the function of labour is being pursued.  Whereas Karl Marx envisioned a transformed Capitalist society into that of a Communist society via the agency of physical revolution, what has actually happened is that a new equality has entered the social and psychological space inhabited by each individual which renders the old certainties obsolete, and frees the individual from the tyranny of the past.  It is ‘equal’ in all directions because it has no modernistic boundaries to hold it in check.  Post-modern freedom is not dependent upon the forces of history despite the fact that it has been created by those very same forces.  The post-modern condition has transcended the very social conditions that have created it.  All identity in this state becomes purely a contingent, a temporary demarcation of meaning that serves to briefly define one set of circumstances over another.  As soon as a definition is achieved it is rendered useless in the post-modern condition, as the premises such a definition is based upon become like shifting sands under foot – there is no where that the modernistic mind can get an anchorage to deploy its old certainties. 

From a spiritual perspective the post-modern condition is very interesting.  Of course, it does not rely upon a theistic entity and can not be considered religious in any conventional sense, and yet it does present a freedom of mind that although not achieved in the same manner as that advocated by the ancient Greek and Indian philosophers, nevertheless certainly approaches the ideal of the accomplishment of a freedom based upon an expansive and thoroughly understood consciousness.  The point of the post-modern condition is that all definitions based upon previous knowledge, regardless of the reliability of that knowledge, are rendered obsolete and out of date.  This is not to say that the accumulated knowledge of humanity is no longer valid, far from it, but rather that the nature of how that knowledge is perceived, understood and developed has to be radically re-thought.  The post-modern condition is not a negation of human knowledge, it is a stage of furtherance of the human capacity to ‘perceive’ clearly exactly what is occurring in any frame of reference from a point of view that is continuously refreshing itself through the auspices of the contingent situation that is no longer kept in place by artificial restrictions that are typical of modernistic thought structures and their corresponding outer functionality in the physical world.  A certain type of ‘certainty’ is lost, and is replaced by an enhanced understanding that does not require the straight-jacket of modernistic interpretation to justify its presence.  This is the ‘freeing’ aspect of the post-modern condition that deconstructs as it creates in equal measure.  Whatever is created from now on must take into account the fact that all is contingent and subject to instant deconstruction – regardless of the ingenuity or stupidity behind the development.  The essence of the post-modern state is an exact and balanced fusion between construction and deconstruction, not because these two words represent separate and distinct modes of being, but rather because the post-modern state is both these aspects at the same time and can not be arbitrarily separated into either definition.  All is creative and destructive at the same instant, with neither attribute holding the upper hand over the other because as soon as one aspect appears to be dominating it turns immediately into its opposite.  Therefore ‘struggle’ to break free of the post-modern condition, and presumably return to the predictable security of modernistic thinking becomes an impossibility.  Fighting against this perfect balance only serves to create energy that is used to maintain its inherent structure.  The post-modern condition cannot be returned to any previous state of being, as any attempt to do so only feeds the non-structure of post-modernity and is directed into the post-modern process itself.  The giving-up of unnecessary models of certainty that are one-sided in their structure, is the way to understand and accommodate the post-modern condition fully as both a psychological and physical manifestation of being.  The problem at the current time is that human society is still in the process of transition between the modern and the post-modern state of being, and as a consequence, old models of relevancy and behaviour are clashing with the new condition that does not require the presence of the mechanistic certainty associated with modernistic thought.  Freedom in this sense is not necessarily freedom from any one particular ensnarement, or set of hindrances, but is rather the realisation that reality is not dependent upon a dichotomy that decides choice through an either-or format, that operates through a materially defined agenda.  Freedom in the post-modern condition is not freedom from any one thing – instead it is a recalibration of reality as it is perceived and experienced as it resolves all contraries into an all-encompassing understanding that stands mid-point at the centre of creation and destruction, always self-cleansing, renewing and free from the negativity associated with the arbitrary one sidedness of modernistic organisation.

Although in itself the post-modern condition is not generally associated with religion or spiritually, nevertheless it is true that if ‘spirituality’ is defined as the ‘transcending’, or ‘transitioning’ away from the requirement to experience life bound to a deterministic inner and outer dichotomy, then the post-modern condition certainly appears to contain qualities that might be explained as being ‘spiritual’ in nature, whilst maintaining its distance from organised religion.  Whereas organised religions have created more or less mutually exclusive paths purportedly granting certain followers freedom from worldly bondage, the post-modern condition does not require a distinctive path or set of disciplinary instructions to be realised.  It is forever present, forming the basis of all experience, dismissing continuously any structures of knowledge that appear to enslave the individual mind and body.  It is imminent and existential, it is becoming into being, and already present.  Although dynamically present, and due to the fading continuation of modernistic structures, its presence is not fully realised by all who live within its precinct.  Living within the freeing paradigm of the post-modern condition does not necessarily guarantee the perception of its presence.  For many, the post-modern condition is the inner response to outer circumstance, dulled by familiarity.  Freedom often becomes boredom, creativity becomes pointless destruction, stability becomes terrifying, freedom becomes hindering and contentment the basis for hatred.  Human psychology is often dominated by out-moded, modernistic thought patterns that create inner turmoil and emotional suffering.  This is the obsession with the concept of a feeling individual that senses an outer material world as separate to itself.  This perceived separation is the basis for human suffering in all its forms.  In pre-modern societies human beings experienced their respective social systems as being part of a functioning, organic totality.  The arrival of modernity ripped this sense of completeness apart, creating societies that although being materially enriched, nevertheless separated every one and every thing into a commodity of relative worth, thus reducing the value of human existence to that of monetary accumulation.  The post-modern condition moves from the division of modernity into a state of ‘completeness’ that has no definitional boundaries.  This sense of completeness is very close, if not identical to the mystical states of union or attained states of mind that purport to be both peaceful and wise.   The problem with pre-modern and modernistic notions of religiosity is that the ultimate states that are described in the oral traditions or written in texts, is that such states have become tainted by the particular religious paths that have led individuals to the objective.  In short the spiritual objective has become so entwined with the path that leads a practitioner to its achievement, that the two distinct aspects become indistinguishable.  This confusion of the mundane with the supramundane renders pre-modern and modernistic notions of religion redundant, and explains why in virtually all the religions of the world, very few practitioners are acknowledged as ever reaching the prescribed spiritual goal.  The obvious outward show of following the path of rules and regulations associated with conventional religion has replaced the actual ability to realise the highest state of being as suggested within each religion, simultaneously placing the emphasis upon the inherent ‘differences’ contained within each path, over that of the potentially ‘similar’ experiences of the highest developmental state itself.  The agency of human ignorance seizes upon the apparent differences that define each of the worldly religions, and as there is no longer the reality of realising the highest spiritual states, often it is the case that anger and hatred become the motivating force for religious practice – such is the psychological cultural baggage that has followed humanity from pre-modernity state, through to modernity and into the post-modern condition.

For a religious or spiritual path to be effective, it must propel the aspirant from the mundane to the supramundane level of being, and in the process render the propelling apparatus (i.e. the religious or spiritual path) completely obsolete and irrelevant for those who have already benefitted from its teaching.  The post-modern condition is both mundane and supramundane all at once, accommodating all those whose minds abides within the pre-modern and modern states, whilst simultaneously presenting the boundless post-modern condition for all to equally access at the point of contact.  Like the religious lore that guides the spiritual aspirant, the post-modern condition is made known through a certain kind of education which may be acquired either formally (through the educational establishment), or informally through the art of self-study.  Such post-modern innovation such as that of the internet has rendered the apparent difference between the two methods of knowledge acquisition ever more difficult to discern.  The point is that once the reality of the presence of the post modern condition is realised, there can be no back-sliding into any previous states of psychological awareness.  Once the post-modern condition is attained, such knowledge supersedes all other modes of perceptual analysis.  Until complete perception, however, human beings are able to inhabit more than one state of perceiving at the same time, a condition of transition that can be highly confusing and destructive on the physical and psychological planes.  Of course, the depth of awareness of the post-modern condition can be deep or shallow.  It is not perceived merely as an idea passing across the mind’s eye, but is rather an instantaneous realisation of space both within and without the mind that is so powerful that the boundaries of modernistic habit of thought analysis are completely and permanently struck aside and the mind is created anew into a reality that is all-embracing of its existential reality.  The post-modern condition does not allow for modernistic notions of analysis, extending even to that of how individuals perceive their own personality.  The personality as it is perceived is a cultural construct, and therefore ‘relative’ concept that presents itself to the mind’s eye as if it were separately ‘real’ and its existence beyond question.  The post-modern condition exposes the notion of personality for what it is – purely arbitrary.  Humanity is no longer limited to being trapped inside a culturally conditioned notion of ‘self’, a notion that contains within its programming all the pain and suffering associated with physical existence.  The post-modern condition is the fulfilment of all religious, spiritual and philosophical endeavours, and may be interpreted as an ecstatic realisation of the state of reality that whilst containing all the conditions of enlightenment, nevertheless does not lose touch with the reality of material existence.  The ordinary world experienced through the senses is fully integrated with the human mind that perceives senses and no difference can be found.  Such a freeing state of experience unlocks the potential of the human mind to think beyond its culturally programmed boundaries and to manifest a wisdom that is both unique and extraordinary.

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