Friday, February 12, 2010


Energy on the ways

George G Clark, 12 February 2010

Being human we need not be driven by the blind forces of biology. Secular forces (biological and instinctive) may drive us downstream to this-world; but there are also sacred forces (also biological and instinctive) that allow us (if we so choose) to swim upstream to the other-world.

In terms of driven-ness, the following table recognises three energy levels and three ways of using the brain.

Energy level




Secular ignoble



Hell bent

Secular noble


Life/work balance



Not convinced

Lay disciple


Some secular ignoble types are totally egoic and hell-bent on power and fame. They indulge with enthusiasm in sex, drugs and rock and roll. Others are lethargic and wallow in sloth and torpor with short attention spans, weak wills and endless unfulfilled fantasies. Most ordinary people lie somewhere between these extremes; but all are oriented to this-world in which they selfishly lust after things that pass away. They are more or less mindless consumers.

Secular noble types are less common. They are mindful consumers who are concerned to some extent with the promotion of fair play, environmental stewardship, basic family values and respect for authority. The zealous types tend towards workaholism and the indolent types procrastinate regarding their good intentions. And there are many middle ranking types who manage a reasonable life/work balance. All are oriented to this-world of the senses and most are wary of the sacred types.

Sacred types are still uncommon. They pay attention to the other-world of the mind that is the foundation for this-world of the senses[1]. There are those who have glimpsed the sacred but who are not convinced enough to give time and energy to its pursuit. Monastics sacrifice their whole lives to the quest. Lay disciples walk the difficult middle way of changing their minds while in daily contact with the mindsets of their secular companions. The sacred types are inclined to frugality and selflessness as they try to swim upstream to the other-world.

This line of thought was inspired by the following quote:

“It seems that when consciousness evolves to a certain degree of conceptual self-awareness, we discover a curious freedom in which we are no longer driven by the blind forces of biology. We start asking questions like: “What is this existence?” “How can I lead a good life?” “Who am I?” As soon as we start exploring such questions … we find ourselves “going against the stream” of biological drives.”
Steven Batchelor -

Note that I take issue with the implied concept of a drive that is not biological. Where might it otherwise come from? The drive to ‘go against the stream’ has existed in a minority of people for most of human evolution as a ‘perennial philosophy’. Arguably the stage is now set for it to go mainstream. Are there enough people with the right kind of energy to have it evolve?

[1] Note that there are ignoble sacred types who perform the religious rituals but who do not try to change their minds. These are secular wolves in sacred sheep’s clothing.

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