8 November 2017

Soul-Science and Social Change - Wilberg on Wednesday

Social-Revolutionary Aims of Soul-Science

The soul dimension of socialism has to do with the intrinsically social character of the individual soul as such. We have not one personal identity but many. Our soul identity is itself a group identity. The soul is itself a family group or community of selves. The personal self we know and identify with is but one part and one expression of this inner society of selves.  As souls we are multi-persons.

In the social world, each person is the hub of a wheel of dyadic relationships with others. Part of the meaning of these relationships lies in the way in which each person we relate to in our social world symbolises and links us to another self of our own – to a specific part of that group or society of selves that makes up our whole self or soul. In the social world, we are taught to feel our personal identity as the private property of our ego.  In the soul world on the other hand, personal identities can mix, merge, meld and overlap with those of others, without any loss of essential spiritual individuality, which has to do with the group nature of our whole self or soul.

If two individuals linked in a dyadic relationship can sense the specific aspects of their own souls linking them with the other, and feel the ways in which their own identity overlaps with that of the other, then that relationship becomes a link to their whole self or soul. It ceases to be a mere ‘interpersonal relationship’ - one in which each person treats their own identity as private property, and rigidifies the boundary of identity separating them from the other person. Instead they become conscious of their interpersonal relationship as a soul relationship, and become aware of its reality in the soul world.

A social group is a group of persons. A soul group is a group of souls. But since each individual, as a soul, is themselves a group or society of selves, a soul group has a ‘holarchical’ character. It is a group of groups in which each member is part of every other, and is linked to each other member through a particular aspect of their own soul.  If each member of a social group is able to feel the specific inner soul-connection uniting them with each other member of the group, then the social group can come to consciousness of itself as a soul group, and become aware of its own living reality in the soul world. It is only through a highly specific sense of our inner soul connection with a specific other that both interpersonal and group relationships can be transformed into soul relationships - awakening a social consciousness of our own whole self or soul, of soul groups and communities, and of the soul world as such.

Most accounts of society and social history are based purely on studies of social practices and the social world as such. They entirely ignore the social influence and reality of soul relationships, soul groups and the soul world.  The natural world is a world that surrounds us all the time. It is not ‘another world’ but one we are a part of,  even though, as urban dwellers, we may only be conscious of it through changes in the weather.  The same is true of the soul world. We are part of that world too and have never left it. It surrounds us all the time and in the same way that the natural world does, making its influence felt through constant changes in the psychical atmosphere, mood or climate that permeates social groups and the social world as a whole.

We know what it feels like when the atmosphere in an interpersonal relationship or social gathering cools or gets overheated. Soul relationships and soul group do not necessarily find expression in interpersonal relationships and social groups. Yet individuals who do form part of the same soul group can feel changes in the climate or atmosphere of that group even though they may rarely or never meet as a social group, or live thousands of miles from one another in totally different natural climates.  Because of the hold exerted by the notion of personal identity as private property however, individuals tend to both personalise and privatise their experience of changes occurring in the psychical climate and atmosphere of their soul group and soul world – often to the extent that they treat them only as the result of their own unpredictable personal ‘mood swings’.

Natural weather patterns and climatic changes are only ‘unpredictable’ in a conventional scientific sense. From a soul-scientific perspective they are themselves a manifestations of local, regional and global changes in the psychic atmosphere of the mass psyche. Dangerous and life-threatening global climate changes are a result of humanity adopting a soul-less and purely practical relation to nature – turning the planet into a stock of exploitable mineral, vegetative and animal resources.

It is because social relationships, social groups and the social world are primarily formed on the basis of common practical relations and purposes rather than shared inner soul connections that the whole climate of the soul world can also be damaged, affecting every soul group within it and each of the individuals within those groups.

The foundation of religious groups and communities, religious cults and cultures, was driven by the ideal of giving social and communal reality to the soul world - to soul groups and communities. What unites religion and socialism however, is the ‘utopian’ spiritual ideal of creating ‘heaven on earth’, realising the innate soul-brotherhood and soul-sisterhood of all humanity in a way free of distortions and inequalities created by human practical relations. Unfortunately, like political groups and organisations, religious groups and communities too, have themselves built up solely on the basis of purely practical relations between their members. For whilst emphasizing the ethical importance of relational practices they have tended to reduce such practices to a body of moral commandments or a set of symbolic rites.

The spiritual and political essence of ‘socialism’ is not collectivism but individualism fulfilled through relational practices that free human relations from the alienation created by their practical social relations. Only such practices can create conditions for a communist society as Marx defined it – one in which “the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.” The ideal of a communist society will forever remain a utopian one however, unless soul is put back into ‘socialism’. Only by recognising the reality of the soul world (‘in heaven’), can soul communities attain reality in the social world (‘on earth’) as social communities. The sole means by which this can happen is through a relational revolution which shows each individual how to sense and realise their inner soul relationships with others through bodily relational practices – practices which break down the illusory bodily boundaries of personal identity itself.

We know that in reality all social groups, organisations and communities flounder or fragment through breakdowns in the interpersonal relationships among their members – the basic dyadic units of relation on which they are built. We know too, that the basic reason why individuals join or leave political and religious groups, organisations and communities has to do with the degree of inner soul connection they feel with them and the degree of relational fulfilment that they do or do not find within them.

This in turn has to do not only with the practical relations that govern those groups, organisations and communities but rather with the relational practices that do or do not flourish within them –  practices necessary in order to not only nourish the interpersonal relations that are their very life, but to transform those relations into intimate soul relationships.  It is through such relational practices that individuals can change their world, the world of others, and the social world as we know it. How? By overthrowing the foundations of capitalist social relations in their own souls. To do so means ceasing to experience their own personal identity as private property, recognising instead that their true spiritual individuality – their whole self or soul - is itself an inner society of selves. None of these selves is the private property of the ego. Rather each of them is a bridge of identity linking them with others in soul families, groups and communities. 

Soul-sensing is a bodily relational practice that brings with it a bodily experience of soul-communion. Only through such bodily relational practices will it be possible to truly re-ensoul our social world – to form social groups and communities ‘on earth’ which know themselves as soul groups and communities, not just as aggregates of atomised and otherwise isolated individuals. 

The essential reality of the human being is a complex of relationships. How they experience their reality is determined by the inner bearing they adopt to and within those relationships – their way of being in the ‘world’ that these relationships constitute. Any break in the normal pattern of relating, dominated as it is by everyday practical relations, brings about a break with normal consensual reality - but by no means with reality as such. For the ‘normal’ person their practical relations and purposes are all that constitute their world they take as real - however superficial or unreal the relationships that make up that world. Soul-science is a break with the entire non-relational concept of reality that underlies the world of normality, and the ‘normal’ modes of relating that maintain and reinforce it.  Other realities – different planes and spheres of the soul words - do exist than the consensual reality reinforced by human social relations.

Soul-science is also a doorway into those realities, but one we can only open and enter through a revolutionary transformation of our own relation to the sensory world around us. That relation must cease to be one in which thinking turns all sensory phenomena of that world into intellectual abstractions. Instead it must become a relation in which we think with our bodies themselves, using them to sense the aware inwardness or ‘soul’ of all natural bodies – not least the human body itself, which is both a sense organ of the soul, and as Wittgenstein recognized, a sensory image of the soul – its “best picture”.

If the practice of medicine were understood as a relational practice, the physician would indeed take time to listen to the patient. If it were understood as a bodily relational practice, the physician would not simply rest content with observing or examining the body of the patient from the outside – they would listen not just with their medical mind but with their whole body -  using it to sense the patient’s own inwardly felt body and inwardly felt dis-ease. The world of medicine and the physician-patient relation is but one example of the way in which what we call ‘the world’ is shaped by practical relations which leave no room for relational practices.

Just as the physician-patient relationship is approached only with the practical purpose of producing a diagnosis and recommending a treatment plan, so can the teacher-student relationship be dominated entirely by the project of setting and completing assignments and passing exams. Study itself ceases to be experienced as an activity by which the student deepens their inner relationship to a subject matter, but is reduced instead to the purely practical project of exam preparation or the production of passable essays.

We live in a world of practices – scientific and technical practices, professional and vocational practices, commercial and economic practices, medical and therapeutic practices, spiritual and meditational practices, political and religious practices. All these practices are also relational practices, yet how many understand themselves as such? Anyone can transform their ordinary practical relations with other human beings and with the entire sensory world into aware and bodily relational practices. In this way they ‘change the world’ in a revolutionary manner, subverting a consensual reality or world in which practical relations have hitherto squeezed the life out of human relations, and breathing fresh life into those relations through their relational practices.