THE IMMEDIATE LIFE AFTER DEATH
THIS PETTY, PUNY AGE
THE Greek ideal of soundness in mind and body, the Greek reverence for beauty and strength must come into their own again. I perceive the earth now as from a mountain top. I perceive the swarming multitudes, who give no real or considered reflection to the future of the coming generation. You may argue that conditions are perfect if compared with those prevalent in the Victorian era. It is true that there are degrees of darkness in every night. The world draws a little nearer to the dawn and there is a dim pallor in the east. Perhaps it is the portent of a splendid sunrise—of rose coloured clouds, of the coming of a great yellow orb, which, with its life-giving rays, will yet dazzle and delight mankind; or perhaps that ghostly pallor suggests the squalid depression of a fog-bound and imprisoned sun; or more awfully, suggests an angry day of tempest, with the sweep of grey clouds across the sky from west to east, with the sound of the wind raging, tearing and breaking over the hills and hollows, over the wide, tremendous spaces of earth.
No man is permitted to know in full the secret of the coming time. But we souls who dwell in the After-death, we, who live in kindled bodies, with quickened intensity and with fiery delight in the first heaven-world, Eidos, dimly see the trend of man’s thought and therefore, presage his endeavour in the coming times.
It is in the thought and fancies of the children that the future is being imaged. Created before it be flung into the potter’s furnace to be hardened into the mould of the age, it takes on the indestructible sculpture of history and again, an era called “the present” passes, to be recorded in God’s time, in Eternity.
I ask the men and women of your generation who, even now, in their children, are carving and shaping the morrow, to bear in mind the old dream of the Greeks, to remember their ideal—soundness of mind and of body, to recollect their devotion to beauty and to strength.
It is in no cavilling, destructive spirit that I beg of the men and women of the day to consider the human being apart from machines, to consider life apart from gold. Within the restless jangle of those monstrous cogs and wheels which now turn ceaselessly and bear your so-called civilization upon them, there is little leisure or quiet for the calmness or philosophic meditation out of which knowledge is born; and what sombre destiny may not await the children of the morrow if they, too, are caught in the grip of that creature without a soul, which is known in your age of steel as “the machine”—that last and final embodiment of the god of Materialism.
Christ, the Son of the Father, descended to earth and took on flesh and, in so doing, He drew down to men, the beauty that is not of this world. In the twentieth century the Machine, the son of the Golden Calf, the son of all materialism, descended to earth and took on body and substance. In these latter days, his creed is practiced in every comer of the globe. Men worship passionately, feverishly at his shrine.
Into many and various sections these ant-like human beings are divided, and these sections are called “nations” and each nation is baptised with another name for the machine which is briefly—Insulated State.
In a highly civilized country the state today runs with the automatic smoothness of any engine that drives the looms in Lancashire: that gives power to the mills—to the vast industrial enterprises which supply the needs of the swarming lives of earth. The state must necessarily control this multitude with something of the soullessness of the machine, else its population may lessen in numbers, may become the victim of fever and want.
But, because the state has now the character of a very delicate mechanism, there is grave danger of the mechanism running away with the man. The nation may plunge down the hill into war, or it may, in a slower manner, produce and propagate misery by an increase of its millions of human beings, and above all, by its increase of the ineffective, the weaklings, the degenerates and the insane. Always, the blind purpose of this god of Matter—the State Machine—seems to be quantity and not quality, always its aim is the automatic multiplication of numbers and thereby the multiplication of distress.
With the exception of the thoughtful and sincere minority, men are not capable, as yet, of understanding or grasping the implications contained in the words of Christ. But they may dimly comprehend the Greek dream and they will be acting wisely and well if they turn back the pages of history, if they study the old Greek world and, eliminating the primitive elements of that hellenic adventure, take to heart for their children’s sakes the lesson of soundness in mind and body, of reverence for beauty and for strength.
These precepts represent at least human values. They suggest to the soul a conception of idealized form: they declare a reverence for the loveliness of life which is so sadly absent from the feverish thoughts of the men in power who control or are controlled by the cogs and the wheels of State. Further, this Greek vision dimly reflects existence in that world beyond death which I have called “Eidos.” It conveys, in a shadowy way, the spirit of that splendid world, where the subtle body, in glowing perfection, expresses form in its greatest and in its highest intensity, where the mere act of living may be accompanied by an exultation that transcends the lofty ecstasy of the greatest earthly artist.
If men and women will turn their eyes away from the machine, if they will instil into their children the idea that this State Machine and all those other lesser machines in its control, are as dangerous as are wild animals to primitive man, then will there be hope for the future of the race, then will there be a shaping and a moulding of an image of peace for the morrow. If, too, they will remember that judgment is impaired when machine grapples with machine, when economic war impoverishes, and wars of aggression devastate the land; that neither beauty nor health can survive and flourish when nation destroys nation and machine destroys machine, then the spirit of revolt against this monstrous automatism will awaken in their hearts. More and more it directs and rules men’s destinies, dethroning the soul, the kindly understanding of the intelligent, average man.
Once contempt and the spirit of irreverence are roused the god is in danger, the people no longer invoke him, his oracles are no longer heeded. Dodona’s oak,1 in time, is hewn down and cast into the fire.
That god, the State, or Super-machine, will thus have to be removed from the dreams and from the hearts of men. And, in its place, there must be set up the Greek view, which, though hedonistic, has a sanity that is wholesome and contains in it a respect for the temple of the body, which will eventually lead man to remember that he is essentially a spirit. And so he will, from that issue, be led at last to an understanding of the Words of Immortality and he will then grasp the significance of the Sermon on the Mount.
Man, each separately and privately by his own fireside perhaps, will have to come to the knowledge that the world today should envisage the ideal of quality not quantity; the development and creation of a civilization which represents the finest flower of the reigning generation, which does not, any longer, permit ugliness to be bred; suffering, broken bodies to be born; enfeebled and unsound human beings to enter into a world which can be, if man masters his present god, as lovely a paradise as any dreamed of by seer, poet or inspired and illumined philosopher.
I do not advocate the destruction of the machine. I merely ask that its true character should be recognised. A mechanism without a soul should be the servant, not the master of the thinking human being. Man must learn to control and check the mechanical powers that now so gravely influence his life and mentality, and for the sake of his spiritual evolution he will be well advised if he seeks, in the adventures of the mind and in the healthy exercise of the body and the senses, the pleasures and instruction which he now derives from the army of machines with which an alleged civilization has so abundantly provided him.
Publisher: White Crow Books
Published December 2012
Size: 229 x 152 mm