the assumption of responsibility for the welfare of the world













SVMVS OBSCVRI NON ENTES. We are the dark ones who do not exist. We hold the fate of the universe in our hands. But we move in the shadows, where only the clear of vision can see. We are not obliged to secrecy; we are simply beyond the willingness of others to believe. This voluntary ignorance of the many is a dangerous condition, in which only the tools of dominion can prevail. If we would avoid adopting the ways of dominion, our obligation as stewards is to correct the condition. We must encourage all individuals to transcend the boundaries of uncritical belief, and to look on the truth with clarity of vision.

I am a traveller, and the mind is my great vehicle. I have explored the universe in thought, while my body has remained at rest. At first I wandered the perceptual realm, the world of colors we all know from birth, studying its places and learning its ways. But in time I ventured out of the world, into the darkness that lies beyond. As time passed I went out more often, until eventually the darkness became the focus of my exploration. No one ever knows the darkness completely, but I have travelled there for much of my life, and it is as familiar to me as a native land, which I know with increasing certainty that it is.

We began in darkness in the past beyond memory. It is to darkness that we truly belong. The world of the senses, of colors and sounds and vibrant experience, is a reality of perception only. When we accept it as fundamental reality, we are trapped behind a barrier of the mind. Behind that barrier lies the temporal world, full of confusion and deception, full of desire and temptation. It leaves us bound by our own ignorance and passion. Transcendence is the process and the result of overcoming our ignorance and passion, of freeing ourselves from this bondage, of transcending the temporal world. What we discover is the truth, about the universe and ourselves. The universe is more than we can see through the temporal world, and we are more than creatures of that world. Transcendence is the development of clarity of vision, of dispelling confusion and asserting reality. It is transcendence of the barrier to the true world beyond. It is a return to darkness.

I have been laboring for years, without knowing the exact nature of my work, to spread my culture among the persons I have met and come to know. I am not referring to the culture I was born into, for these persons were largely born into the same culture. I shared their folkways for much of my early life, but gradually came to understand that these did not reflect my true beliefs, did not hold up under a critical self-examination. It is hardly worth a metaphysical or psychological discussion to say so, but I felt that at my birth I carried with me already a vague system of belief, a mentality if you will, a predisposition to believe certain things about myself, the universe, and my relationship with the universe. And yet this inherent personality was not hard-wired into my brain through my genetic code, as materialists would interpret it. On that subject I strongly favor environment over heredity, and if I owe any psychological traits to my parents, it is not from being physiologically related to them, but from growing up in their household. But I am then forced to wonder how I came to believe so many things contrary not only to their beliefs, but to the culture of the great majority of the society in which they and I lived, and live. Whence came my idiosyncrasies?

I speak of ‘culture’, though I could as easily speak of ‘religion’ or ‘worldview’. There is no fundamental difference in the terms; each describes a set of beliefs, and a belief is merely a connection made by the individual mind between two concepts, ultimately a very basic concept itself. The word ‘religion’ would have been too prejudicial, would have burdened the discussion with associations more likely to prevent understanding than facilitate it. But it is useful to examine the usual application of the term. The so-called religions, typically, are belief systems designed or evolved to regulate the entire life of the individual adherents, and have two basic parts ― cosmology and ethics. In other words, they tell the individual what to think of the universe, and how to act within it.

My own culture has both of these aspects. But my cosmology, while I cannot deny it and cannot eliminate its effect on my thoughts and words, is not something that compels me to evangelism. I desire individuals to study and know the truth, and feel the world would be better should they do this, and like most I believe my version of truth the correct version; but if others do not share this version, what is the cost to me, other than isolation? But ethics is quite another matter. What gods a person believes in does not affect me or the world, but how those gods tell that person to act does affect me and the world, sometimes drastically. And if it affects not me but only something else in the world, still it matters, because I care about the entire world, and the entirety of existence. And if the effects are negative, I would rather deal with the ethics than the consequences of those ethics, rather persuade than fight.

It is part of my culture to be concerned about the world, and to act on my concern. It is thus as a result of my culture that I seek to expand the culture, thinking the world would benefit from its broader presence. But I would not give the impression that it has no presence at all. I am merely a representative of this culture, not its author. My own awareness of these beliefs came first through interaction and conversation with others who, in small or large part, shared the beliefs. I of course have my own personal take on what we truly believe, and what we should believe. As I attempt to bring this culture into the light of public awareness, I can only act on my own interpretation. It will be difficult at times to distinguish whether I am speaking to those who already believe or to the rest of the world, and whether I am presenting a description of reality or a prescription for reform. For the most part this is unavoidable, as I am doing all simultaneously. And all approaches are necessary to broaden and strengthen the culture.

The cultural community I represent results from a convergence of belief that is more than an intellectual school but unlike a traditional religion. We believe that the way of enlightenment must include devotion to the truth, and that inherent to that devotion is the individual pursuit of understanding by analytical thought. Religion typically hands its truths to its adherents in final form and actively discourages further thought. But our highest commandment is to think. And so I might pronounce a thing true, or enlightened, and another thing not true, or not enlightened, and might be the most enlightened thinker in the community, and yet my fellows would be compelled by their own natures and beliefs to examine that pronouncement thoroughly, and accept or reject it for themselves. What I am doing is a continuation of a long process, not its beginning and not its end. If my efforts further my goals, another’s efforts will eventually do more, and what is good for the world is, psychologically, good for me.

There is, however, one specific aspect of my cosmology that has consequences for my ethics, and is inseparable from my culture. I believe this world to be only one of many possible worlds. To the extent that this is true, it is a fundamental realization. It establishes a dichotomy of things that belong solely to this world, and things that belong to the universe of all worlds ― that is, a dichotomy of the temporal and the transcendent.

The transcendent universe

The term ‘universe’ is used by materialists to encompass all things which exist to them, which is to say all physical, material things. I am not a materialist; to the extent that I concede the existence of even some of the material things, I do not limit my understanding of existence to them. The universe to me is then composed of all things which exist in my own conception, a considerably different body. The term ‘universal’ cannot be used to refer to this sum of existence, as it is usually applied to those properties that have no exception. In any case, it does not as well highlight the dichotomy of existence as seen from an earthly perspective. All concepts exist independently, and so beliefs regarding those concepts are never strictly limited in existence either; but there is a difference between beliefs that have meaning in relation to Earth, and beliefs that would have meaning in any possible world, whether in this material existence or another, parallel existence. Thus there is a difference between cultures that are native to Earth, and cultures that transcend it. There are, that I know of, three primary transcendent cultures. The first two are polar opposites ― dominion and stewardship. These are the central principles around which societies, any societies in all possible worlds, are organized. Stewardship is the assumption of responsibility for the welfare of the universe. Dominion is the exertion of control over the universe. Any decision taken by an association of individuals with regard to the rest of the universe takes that association closer to dominion or closer to stewardship. The third transcendent culture, neutrality, is never an organizing principle; if a society wished to do nothing, it would have no need to organize.

Dominion, stewardship, and neutrality are obviously fundamentally different as attitudes towards the universe. Is the rest of existence a thing that we are entitled to do with as we wish, a thing that we are obligated to care for, or a thing that does not concern us?

It should be understood that the mind, the actual consciousness, is itself transcendent, and not merely an epiphenomenon of the complex material system that is the brain. But cosmology is not my subject, and it does not matter ultimately if a person believes the brain to be the identity and source of the mind. Even an earthly brain should be capable of thinking transcendent thoughts, and of holding transcendent culture. And even a materialist should admit that some thoughts do not have any special connection with the ecology and human culture that have developed on Earth.

Temporal culture, on the other hand, has such a special connection with Earth that it would be nonsensical in Earth’s absence. Rocks, trees, pianos, alphabets, ישוע Ješūac, and humans are things unknown to the rest of the universe, and not particularly important, however many geologists, botanists, musicians, linguists, Christians, and humanists may exist on Earth. Native cultures in other worlds may communicate with visual symbols, but they certainly wouldn’t get worked up over our spelling rules. They might have a sense of hearing, but they would certainly never have heard of Brahms. They may believe that a being native to their world created the universe, but they would never believe such a thing about a being native to our world. And they may live lives so completely divergent from our own that we have no common experiences whatsoever. But each individual must at some point decide how it is to treat the world in which it finds itself, whether it has life beyond that world or not.

Native cultures are by no means bad. There is much of beauty native to Earth. I would praise the experience of marble and sycamores and especially Johannes Brahms to any being capable of it; but I know that to have such an experience a being must first come to Earth. But truth, nobility, compassion, courage, sacrifice, and stewardship are present throughout the universe, including Earth. What moves me most about Earth are the good things which could happen anywhere. I am only pleased, as one who is for the moment attached to this world, that they exist here as well.

Likewise, though there is much unpleasantness native to Earth, the worst things I have seen here could have happened anywhere. Nazis may be confined to this world, but fascists are not. Hatred, cruelty, bigotry, deception, and dominion have no limits. There is no pure world, no evolved state free from such thoughts and behavior. If we ever achieved one, we could simply break off into discussion groups and ponder epistemology, or wander off into the plains and die of boredom. Alas, it is an interesting universe.

The culture of stewardship

No two individuals believe exactly alike, as no two share exactly the same perspective. As their perspectives differ, so do the connections formed from their experiences. These mental connections give each of us a unique personal culture. But there are commonalities. Within the stewardship, the perpetual body of all minds that believe and practice the culture of stewardship, there is a central point of belief. We gather around this point, at varying distances, and it can be difficult to ascertain its exact location from any given perspective. Certainly I cannot claim to occupy that central point. But I believe I can confidently state several ethical precepts that are central to the stewardship.

We believe in pursuing the truth, by introspection, discussion, and exploration. We believe that each individual can and should know the truth through personal understanding. We refuse to be bound in our methods or our conclusions. We believe in sharing the truth, and in working against ignorance and deception.

We believe in the possibility and the value of improving the self, mentally, physically, and spiritually. We believe in encouraging and assisting the self-improvement of others. We believe in preparation for contingencies. We believe in independence but also collaboration. We believe that dominion is unacceptable, in ourselves or others. We believe in opposing dominion, its servants, its methods, and whatever leads to dominion. We refuse to recognize any claim of dominion by any individual or group over others or over any part of the universe.

But our defining belief, of course, is stewardship. We believe that each individual should take personal responsibility for its actions and inactions, and the results of those actions and inactions. We believe that though our powers may be limited, our accountability is not. We believe in holding accountable ourselves and others with regard to all things, with words when possible, with deeds when necessary. We believe that self-improvement, collaboration, preparation, and understanding are all incumbent on us as stewards, not solely for their own value, but because they strengthen the stewardship, and make more possible the fulfillment of our individual and collective responsibility to the welfare of the universe.

Transcendent rationalism

Though dominion, stewardship, and neutrality are all transcendent cultures, they are not equally transcendent. The transcendent mind which practices dominion or neutrality has not fully understood the transcendent universe. Stewardship is, though it may seem otherwise in the temporal world, a dispassionate and self-interested attitude towards the universe. The steward has realized its holistic connection with the universe, and especially with the consciousness in the universe. The consciousness in the universe is holistic even to the extent that it is more sensible to speak of a collective consciousness than countless individual minds. Separate minds as they appear in the temporal world are merely separate perspectives of the collective consciousness on the temporal world.

Neutrality is innocuous by design and relatively innocuous by effect. Its primary fault is that by refusing to exercise its power of decision for the protection of the universe, it is giving that much more power to the dominion, which does not hesitate to decide. But neutrality within the temporal world is also guilty of inconsistency; the neutral mind will allow others to suffer, but typically not itself, and if it ascetically chooses to suffer, it at least chooses to survive, or it would not be present in the temporal world. Acting in self-preservation is acting nonetheless, is intervention in the events of the universe. The neutral mind simply intervenes only on behalf of itself. But then it cannot understand that all minds are connected, and that by failing to preserve the whole from harm, it is failing to preserve itself. Neutrality may seem like a noble ideal of transcendence, but it is ill-conceived.

Dominion, on the other hand, can have no appearance of nobility, and no true connection with transcendence. Though the dominion exists beyond the confines of the temporal world, it has chosen the existence of the temporal world, and the constricted logic that applies within. The dominion may be a holistic phenomenon of the universe, but each mind within it must by definition act solely for the benefit of itself, as conceived independently. Dominion is self-interested only if the mind is a short-lived and isolated being of the temporal world, and if in acting for the short-term, isolated benefit of that being, it is assured of suffering no consequences. If the temporal viewpoint is true, then the stewardship is irrationally compassionate and altruistic, and the effect is merely a loss of opportunity for exploitation and hedonism. But if the transcendent viewpoint is true, then the dominion is beyond foolish, and the effect is suffering and even catastrophe for the whole, including, of course, the perpetrator.

It is, in the end, possible to identify an entire dichotomy of values, as they are evident within the temporal world. No mind perfectly embodies one pole or the other. And the temporal values are not all embraced by the dominion for itself; some are valued for the purpose of exploiting others, whom it takes as simpleton pawns existing for its own enrichment, rather than as-yet-unenlightened elements of its own greater self.



But transcendence and stewardship are not negative; they are not defined by what they are not. They are defined by the truth. They are defined by and exist within the reality of the universe. They are the ways of the darkness beyond.


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