Shamanism, the Dao, new spirituality, new technology and cultural revolution
Apes, Angels and
Outlaws

The search for a better way to live
Archetypes: the Evolutionary Players Meet the Ape Meet the Angel Meet the Outlaw




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Who am I?
I am Michael Roth, the author of all the material on this site. While training as a medical doctor, I was also an alumnus at the famed AntiUniversity of London (1968-1969), and became involved with the alternative psychiatry movement in that era and later.

I worked and studied with the existential psycho-analyst R.D.Laing, and was a founder-member of the Arbours Association (London), which provides alternative care for persons diagnosed with severe mental illness.

My research path has taken me into spheres of philosophy, social politics, linguistics and anthropology - whilst I have continued to seek out a genuine way of relating to other human beings in the troubled milieux of psychiatry, communal living, and twentieth and twenty-first century social and cultural instability.

I have been consistently inter-disciplinary in all of my reading and exploration, and the personal and philosophical insights to which this has given rise are almost always outside the prevailing classifications - or accepted lists of subjects.

The following authors are they whose work I have been most deeply occupied with, at different times in my life. This has often entailed exploring what the actual world feels like, within the patterns and definitions of life offered by these people. I have also written extensively, and often critically, about many of them.

Philosophy

  • Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Martin Buber
  • Lao Ze
  • St Matthew
  • St Mark
  • St Luke
  • St John
  • Rudolf Bultmann
  • Paul Ricoeur
  • Richard Rorty
  • Robert Pirsig
  • Donald Davidson
  • Jacques Derrida
  • Benedetto Croce
  • Charles Peirce
  • John Dewey
  • A.N.Whitehead
  • J.H.Randall
  • Justus Buchler
  • Martha Nussbaum

Biology, Physiology, Ethology and Cybernetics

Anthropology

  • Mary Douglas
  • Gregory Bateson
  • Milton Ericson
  • R.D.Laing
  • David Cooper
  • Clifford Geertz
  • Victor Turner

Virtual Reality

  • Jane Austen
  • George Eliot
  • Dorothy Richardson
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Iris Murdoch
  • Joanne Greenberg

Psychology

  • Eugene Gendlin
  • Arnold Mindell
  • M. Scott Peck

I am the foremost exponent of Charlotte M. Bach's ground-breaking theories of emergent evolution, described in my A Bolt From the Bleeding Sky (Dielectric Publications, London, 1984). I continue to work as a psychiatrist and as a researcher into holistic methods of facilitating social change. This encludes facilitation and training sponsored by the organization, Community Building in Britain which continues to develop and disseminate the work of the holistic psychiatrist M. Scott Peck.

I am also involved in an exploratory research group seeking to fuse poetic, practical and fantastical modes of action to create significant cultural/political interventions in the here and now.

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   Evolution in the Pattern of Life.
I have already suggested that our search for a better way to live is - in its essence - an evolutionary search. It is the level of evolution which is most specifically our own - and we should, perhaps, call this "the next level" - because it is incomplete. This is evolution in the melting-pot, right here and now, and it is for you and I to discover what the next steps might be. To help us in our search, I want to introduce you to the Ape, the Angel and the Outlaw - who are three archetypes, three main pivot points, in a uniquely human domain of evolution



First, however, we had better consider whether this is rightfully to be called "evolution"? How tight is the link, in other words, with Charles Darwin's famous theory of "the evolution of species"? To make sense of these questions, we need to bring some other key concepts into play. Most especially we need to recognize the thing that has been called "a pattern of life(1) - which is an organised set of habitual readings and responses, in relation to another organised set: of situations and goals which pertain to the unfolding of our life as a whole. Going to the pub on a Friday night - with the whole ambience and ritual that accompanies the situation in the pub - is a pattern of life. The courting dance of the three-spined stickleback is another one. It is in relation to these relatively stable patterns of life, that we can define, and recognize what an evolutionary path is. It is, quite simply, a divergence from the pattern - such that a new version comes into being, and an old version of the pattern is left behind.



Because of the obligations of life and community, there is a tangible risk in living and moving within the relatively uncharted space between the old and the new patterns. This risky place, however, is precisely where we are: it is our concrete experience of here and now - which I already characterised in a different section, in the following terms:-


On the one hand, we inherit at each moment the traces, patterns and pressures of the past - which throng about us, hungrily seeking to embody themselves in this newly crystallising moment. And on the other hand each moment is a re-birth, an opening on to what is new. To this extent it carries for us the possibility of a new direction, a new point of departure. We exist in the cross-current of these twin forces: of repetition, and of renewal



I have also pointed out the resonance of my project with the Dao-ist teaching. We should also recognize that this same gesture of Pointing the Way is also to be found amongst the later biblical Jewish prophets and in the original tenor of the teachings of Jesus Christ, of the prophet Muhammed, and of the Buddha. There is a distinct family resemblance amongst all of these, which is not always acknowledged: they all have in common a powerful evocation of a path to The Good, combined with a disturbing lack of specificity about what, exactly, we are meant to do. From my own perspective in the twenty-first century I can give some additional context: that this is, in essence, an evolutionary claim. We have a direction we must evolve in, but it cannot be specified in advance of our actual choices in the living moment. In my view, those versions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam which pretend that the path is already specified, are a debasement of the deeper religious insight. These debased versions are, clearly, anti-evolutionary, since they claim that the pattern for right living has already been set, and any deviation from what the religious authorities tell us, is simply wrong.



The evolutionary perspective that I am offering, is one in which we have a sense of right and wrong - which is derived from the pattern of life which has kept our forebears and ourselves alive for countless millions of generations. We also recognize, however, that the new situations we are constantly thrown into, are demanding something different from us. The old pattern will not serve us; we have to find new and truthful responses which will serve our future needs, and not mindlessly attempt to recreate the past. Within this perspective there is a demand that we do the right thing: but it will require all of our imagination, all our intelligence, and all the wisdom we can muster, to discover what that "right thing" might actually be.



This brings us to the clear point of contrast between my own evolutionary approach, and Darwin's theory of evolution of species. It is the difference between an observer's theory of evolution - as if seen "from the outside", and our own perspective from the inside of the pattern of life. Darwin's theory has the seeming advantage of being able to define the old patterns (but only from the outside); it also claims to understand the process of mutation - the changes alleged to be taking place within the genetic(2) material, so as to set the new patterns in motion. This, however, says nothing about ourselves, struggling to understand the evolutionary path we are on.



For ourselves, we have a very limited awareness - consisting of those few aspects of the path which happen to be making themselves manifest within the orbit of our present experience. If we are leaving an old pattern behind, it is not given us to know with any clarity or detail, what that old pattern is. Nor do we know what it is, that we are evolving towards. From the perspective of our own, lived experience it appears that we have only vague conceptions of these things; these vague conceptions, however, are exactly what we need to take our bearings from.



It is in this key question of getting our bearings, that the Apes, the Angels and the Outlaws of my main title, can be of help to us. We need to be clear at the outset, however, that these are not the same angels who appeared to the Virgin Mary or Jeanne d'Arc - living entities who intervened in the historical process and told the key players what to do. Nor am I talking about the same apes whom we may encounter in the increasingly threatened forest environments of Africa and the far East. These are not even the apes whom Charles Darwin was ridiculed for claiming close kinship with.





The Apes, the Angels and the Outlaws stand for a new kind of concept, that refers to real aspects of ourselves as we impact upon each other in the here and now. This concept of the archetype entered into our modern consciousness through the psychological theories of C.G.Jung. At the deepest level of Jung's map of the human mind, he points to a domain called: "the collective unconscious". Here is where the Archetypes dwell: the Wise Woman, the Old Man, the Warrior, the Siren and so forth. For Jung, these are inhabitants of a psychological landscape; they are inhabitants of what he called The Psyche. We depart from Jung, however, in insisting that these are active agents within our lived reality: these are who we are - in the real, immediate interplay of one with another, as our relationships unfold. We can think of them in another way, however: as fundamental templates, which guide the pattern of our mutual impact, as this unfolds itself in the here and now.


The Ape, the Angel and the Outlaw, then, are archetypes - and this means that they are real players, on the stage of Evolution. The Ape represents the pattern we are leaving behind. This is not to say that we are descended from apes, but simply that each of us carries this inner archetype of the pre-historic pre-human being - who probably resembled our present-day apes more than any other animal currently known to us. The Angels are likewise archetypes: but they represent our future. They are the images we have created, of The Good(3) which we are attempting to evolve towards. The Outlaws, finally, are ourselves, wanderers through the labyrinthine present times of the evolutionary path. We are no longer bound by the law of the apes, but not have we yet attained to the law of the angels. Each one of these archetypes, with their very distinct relationship to the Law, is a different aspect of our ourself, and known to us only indistinctly.


It is worth noting that the ancient Chinese philosophy - which I understand as being an evolutionary perspective with strong resemblances to my own, had a similar threefold division to the one I am offering, but distinguished as three realms: Earth, Heaven, and Man. I have a reason for preferring my own terms - which is that they are more personalised - more readily identified as aspects of our own selves. And since they all interact in real time - both within ourselves, and between ourselves, it is not helpful to picture them as inhabiting separate "realms". They are all here, and now.



Our "ape" essence is effectively a complete behavioural programme that each of us has inherited from our evolutionary forebears. This is, as I have said, the pattern that we are evolving away from. This "moving away" has a paradoxical aspect, however, since we must also continue to embrace our ape-hood(4) as our most comprehensive source of orientation - within the system of life in which our personal existence unfolds. Broadly speaking, whenever there is a wave of evolution that carries us "beyond" our ape-hood, it needs to be complemented with a wave of integration that will gather up all of our ape essence and re-integrate it into the newly forming pattern. Without this we are in danger of losing whole tranches of our ape-wisdom, or else of rejecting the innovation (because it does not "feel right") before we have explored it sufficiently to discover its full value.



Because our ape-like ancestor was a highly socialised creature, he and she were always ready to adopt the cultural mores, and happy to learn any desired cultural skills, which may have been the order of the day. Thus it is not some remote ancestral ape, whom we are leaving behind us - but that clever ape who was impersonating us only last century, or a decade ago, or perhaps last week. The time-scale that concerns us in the one which relates to the particular struggles we happen to be engaged in today.



In any given moment of historical time, we can think of ourselves as the ape who is desperately trying to be human, but regularly failing; this creature is trying to meet the human ideals which are held out before him, or her. The gap between the ideal and the performance is always something of a puzzle. We do not know if it is caused by a failure of apprehension, or whether it is a failure of performance. Crucially, at the time of the mistake, or failure, or sin, we are lacking a clear appreciation of what kind of failure this is; it is for us to discover in the aftermath.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: (the trials of the ape, in the prison of his desires and ideals).
Let us consider the case of the hapless Sir Gawain, immediately after his decisive battle with the evil and horrible Green Knight. He discovers that - in his last adventure but one - he has been the dupe of an enchantment. He had been tricked into betraying his chivalric ideals, by the imaginary seductive wife of the imaginary Lord who was the Green Knight in disguise. Gawain is plunged into shame and despair. How is he to understand his failure to live up to his ideals?



One possibility is that the very ideal he was striving towards, is the thing that is at fault - if only because he had elevated it to a status of melodramatic, perfectionistic seriousness. (Such seriousness is certain to be punctured, once supernatural tricksters get involved in the action, and this is exactly what has happened in the adventure we are discussing.) On the other hand, there may be some element within Gawain himself, which is not yet ready to conform to the ideal - in other words, a failure of performance. Even if the failure is his own "fault", it is not necessarily ground for shame or this collapse into self-accusation. His orgy of breast-beating may be more than a little beside the point. There are two broad alternative interpretations of where Gavain is at, either of which would be a better place to focus his energy. It may be that he needs to steel himself for a redoubling of his moral efforts. Or alternatively, he needs to seek a more relaxed and intelligent approach to these bizarre challenges which his life is confronting him with.



In any such case - and this applies equally to ourselves as to Gawain - whatever it was that causes us to fail is not something we can simply write off, or leave behind us. We need to have some interest and curiosity, into the manner in which we fail - for this is a clue to the integration of ape and angel. Somewhere hidden behind this "failure" is the essential clue to our higher-level task. For there is always this hidden level of reality: the evolutionary task which is the true reason for the immediate knightly quest. Thus we see that is no solution at all, for us to try to repudiate the ape within us. Perhaps it is a flaw in our nature: that we are so easily seduced by imaginary lovers. Yet to deny this aspect of ourselves is also to deny the biological ground of our being. Such an imposture must surely damage our health and fitness, but it will also fatally interfere with our commitment to keep on the track of our evolutionary task.

The "angel" is the perfected human being we are evolving towards. This exists in present time in the form of images or archetypes of the qualities and traits we seek to embody. These are, as I was suggesting in the discussion of Sir Gawain, targets which we regularly fall short of. In the old cosmology, angels were regarded as deathless and eternal in their unique essence. This attitude, however, is part of the debased version of religion which I mentioned earlier in this chapter - the interpretation that denies evolution and pretends that the Good has already been fully specified. Then the idea of "goodness" is reduced to the act of conforming to our instructions, in every detail(5). This betrays a deep misunderstanding of what it means to be a living species in the midst of our own evolutionary process. Our ideals actually evolve with us. The angel archetypes appear to be fixed points, but only according to the short time-scales wherein we blunder about, in our unique, personal, non-angelic fashion. The archetypes are fixed, but only relatively - in comparison with our day-to-day scurrying about. On a longer time-scale they must move.



As soon as we take the historical dimension into account, we are able to recognize that a radical evolution has indeed been taking place - for example - in the personality of the Gods. Once they were entangled in unceasing egocentric and ruthless intrigue, like the gods on Mount Olympus, outside ancient Athens. Or, like the early "Lord of Hosts" of ancient Israel, it was a God who smote one's enemies, mercilessly, but seemed to be strangely lacking in sympathy for the wider sweep of creation. Yet even in ancient times Socrates, Plato and their students were busy evolving their concept of the Highest Good. This was later melded by the early Christian Fathers and Mothers with the late Hebrew Jehovah: the loving, merciful, invisible, inscrutable, father-and-mother of all creatures.



Our angels have been evolving within the modern era, too. We now value honesty, authenticity and freedom(6) in ways the ancient peoples had narrow or confused conception of. So we have a newly enrolled trio, in our own choir of angels; they are still finding their feet, perhaps, and have not yet succeeded in clarifying their relationship with Piety, Valour, Humility, Civility and the other old-fashioned virtues. We are in process of fashioning other angels too, who have yet to gain proper ascendancy. For example, we are reaching towards a sense of justice which is outraged by the rampant exploitation and impoverishment of peoples all over the planet. This sense of justice, we should note, is insincere until and unless it is coupled with effective action. Thus we are called to generate some genuine and widespread concern that such exploitation and impoverishment shall come to an end. At the time of this writing, such a concern has yet to be fully articulated and made practical(7).



There is also a sense abroad, that each and every human being is precious and unique; this, perhaps, is equivalent to a special guardian angel for every person. In that case we would have to wonder why so many millions of human beings are allowed to starve each day; it appears we are grievously lacking in commitment to each other's guardian angels. So there are a lot of new angels on the scene; and our present-day global confusion must forcibly remind us that the angel archetypes are ideal - as yet, they have not confidently taken up residence within our day-to-day practices.



Having no other guide to what is good, each of us continues to take our guidance from our own, somewhat arbitrary, selection of angels. In other words, we follow whichever ideals we have learned to pay attention to. And as of the time of writing, I find myself forced to accept that conflict, confusion(8) and injustice are tending to prevail. Our multiplicity of angels clearly have a task on hand, to discover how to live in harmony with one another.

My choice of the character of "the Outlaw" to symbolise the questing, experimental aspect of our life in the present moment, is in recognition that the Ape and the Angel are, in effect, governed entirely by the law of their own nature. The ape is compelled by her instincts, customs and habits; the Angel is compelled by the ideal which she embodies. We, however, have the capacity to envisage alternatives, to explore the implications of different paths, and to make choices between them. This entails the suspension of the laws that would otherwise bind us. So it is, that The Outlaw is an essential pivot-point in our map of who we are. The Outlaw is the aspect of ourselves who does not fit the prevailing norms and definitions, within the culture and sub-culture we are expected to live in.



The romantic version of "The Outlaw": from Robin Hood to Dick Turpin, Western Movies and Easy Rider - represents just one aspect of the outlaw archetype. Here is someone who overtly, and rebelliously, breaks the local laws, and gets to be hunted down - by the legitimate authorities or (in the case of "Easy Rider" by conservative rednecks). Outside the romantic narrative, we have to recognize as a fact of our lives, that the prevailing norms and expectations within the world we have been born into, are in some important way irrelevant to the real needs which are alive and essential in every actual situation. We may not consciously understand what is wrong with the prevailing pattern, but we feel it in our bones that something else is calling us - to a different fulfillment from the ones our family or peer-group may have lined up for us.


Within our map of human reality, the outlaw in our sense is the primary labourer in the wild landscape of human evolution. We, as the outlaw, are grappling with, and resolving, conflicts and incoherencies within the prevailing cultural landscape - conflicts and incoherencies which are largely unrecognized by the rank and file of us, and may be only dimly understood by the outlaw themself. This is the hard labour of carving out new pathways of sensibility and action - pathways which others will follow in later times, when the risks have become less and the social concensus has already begun to move in the same broad direction. It is also the task of mediating between the well-meaning ape, who is always ready to learn new patterns from whoever is willing to demonstrate them - and the angel who embodies the ideals which the present-day, obsolete society struggles to impose as the norm.

The Jews of Galilee - the Oppressed and Outlaw Tribe


Another aspect of the Outlaw archetype is the sociological fact that it is the exploited, the excluded and the downtrodden who have the most accurate knowledge of the nature of the society which oppresses and excludes. The upper classes are cocooned, relatively speaking, from the realities of the day - by their privileges and by the work they do not have to do (since somebody else is doing it for them). Or there is a different kind of Outsider, who has excluded themselves by one means or another from spiritual bondage to "the system", and whose mind is free to understand the broader patterns of human struggle which characterise the present day. This was the position of the Galilean peasantry, two thousand years ago, whose cultural life formed the seed-bed for emerging Christianity.



We easily forget that Christianity - right up to the year 313 when the Emperor Constantine ordained it an officially accepted religion of the Roman Empire - was the quintessential Outlaw religion. The early Christianity, as A.N.Whitehead has so eloquently accounted it, also inherited the deep spiritual insight of that Galilean peasantry, who themselves were the Outsiders of the Roman Empire. These inheritors of Abraham's ancient covenant with Jehovah, had a thorough-going disdain for the laws and customs of Rome; their primary allegiance was to their invisible, inscrutable, unnameable God. And so it is that the early Christianity, with its commitment to the highest Good and its repudiation of the prevailing Law, can give us essential insights into the role of the outlaw within the adventure of human evolution. Here is some of Whitehead's account of the spiritual/cultural seed-bed from which Jesus of Nazareth emerged:-



"Having regard to their climate and simplicity of life, they were neither rich nor poor: they were unusually intellectual for a peasantry, by reason of their habits of study of historical and religious records: they were protected from disturbance, from within or from without, by the guardian structure of the Roman Empire. They had no responsibility for the maintenance of this complex system. Their own society was of the simplest; and they were ignorant of the conditions by which the Empire arose, of the conditions requisite for its efficiency, and of the conditions necessary for its preservation. They were ignorant even of the services which the Empire was rendering them."


"...The tone of life of this peasantry provided an ideal environment in which the concepts of the ideal relations between rational(9) beings could be formulated - concepts devoid of ferocity, concepts gracious, kindly, and shrewd, concepts in which mercy prevailed over judicial classification. In this ideal world forgiveness could be stretched to seventy times seven, whereas in the real world of the Herods and the Roman Empire a sevenfold forgiveness touched upon the impracticable."



This, then, gives rise to the paradox that these ethical principles - widely regarded as one of the towering spiritual achievements of mankind - are incapable of promoting the viability of those who espouse them. If we had put them into practice in most of the real-life contexts we might have found ourselves in - wherever we might have lived, and at any time over the past two thousand years - they would be much more likely to hasten our own demise. Then we have to ask ourselves: what is the real importance of these principles? Whitehead's answer is that they provide an ideal standard by which we can evaluate our progress, as an individual, as a society and as a civilisation.



"...The progress of humanity can be defined as the process of transforming society so as to make the original Christian ideals increasingly practicable for its individual members. As society is now constituted (Whitehead was writing in 1932) a literal adherence to the moral precepts scattered throughout the Gospels would mean sudden death."



Another way to think about this is that the Christian concepts - thousands of years ahead of their time - act as a revolutionary or de-stabilising yeast, working away in the deep and hidden places in every society they touch, and ready to help guide each newly emergent impulse towards a better world. Whitehead again:-



"A gracious, simple mode of life, combined with a fortunate ignorance, endowed mankind with its most precious instrument of progress - the impracticable ethics of Christianity. A standard had now been created, expressed in concrete illustrations fool-proof against perversions(10). This standard is a gauge by which to test the defects of human society. So long as the Galilean images are but the dreams of an unrealized world, so long they must spread the infection of an uneasy spirit."



As we shall shortly discover, the uneasy spirit is able to express itself most powerfully through our poetic, intuitive and emotional sensibilities. We shall also discover that this is the key to unravelling whichever of the systems levels are of most immediate concern to us. For the lazy-minded person, and those who have strong vested interests in living a lie, however, the contradictions are easy to conceal within the subtle structure of our lived reality; the uneasy spirit is easy to suppress, or to cut and paste to some location out of sight. Thus we need not be surprised that the European capitalist and imperialist expansion was spearheaded by a debased form of Christianity, and with surprisingly little bad conscience to show for it.



Christianity, however, remains an Outlaw Religion in its origins and its essential nature. In this capacity it offers this continuing challenge: how I can live as one who - though perhaps dwelling within the prevailing system of law, is not essentially of this system. Those of us who wish to spearhead the movement from the old system of values to the new (and as yet unknown) system have to some extent to live outside the law. At least, our higher concept of Good commands us: not to take the law seriously.



This is not a call to abandon our ethical commitments, but to recognize the call, that we seek to evolve a higher ethical pattern of life. It is likely that this higher pattern will be strongly informed by the teachings of Jesus the Nazarene, Mohammed, the Biblical prophets, and Gautama Buddha. The search for this pattern, however, is certain to call deeply into question the received ideas, and the received values of the old civilisation. In a time of crisis of civilisations - and this is what we are now living in - the Outlaw spirit is the only one that can mediate effectively between the Ape and the Angel levels of our existence.



And though the foregoing arguments will often seem less than sympathetic to the fundamentalist(11) versions of the world religions we have touched upon, we have to recognize all of our fellow humans as companions in the travail. We are all apes, all angels, and all outlaws to some tangible extent, and our task is to find the way to share the earth in a spirit of co-operation with each other, and with all our fellow creatures.



NOTES TO THIS SECTION

1. It was Ludwig Wittgenstein who first elaborated this concept as an essential piece of equipment for the orienteer on the human scene. With respect to Ludwig, I have found it necessary to redefine this concept in my own terms and within the evolutionary context which is being presented here.

2. It is likely that the insistence of mutation at the genetic level, as the prime initiator of change, will in the future be recognized as a premature assumption. Peter Cornell's work - well summarised in his book Holistic Darwinism along with a wide body of other relevant research - points to the evolutionary unit being a wider system than that of the individual organism. It also begins to appear that the rigid opposition between "Larmarckian" and "Darwinian" evolutionary theory was an artefact created by over-zealous neo-Darwinists. None of these arguments has a very direct bearing on the question of "evolution from the inside" - except that the neo-Darwinian zealots would probably like to take away our right to be thinking in this fashion.

3. What about devils and evil spirits, I hear you cry! Yes, there must be a reason why some people like to populate their mythical world with demons (or just with one super-demon called "Satan") as well as angels. Within my map a devil would simply be a mistaken ideal whom we trick ourselves into taking for a valid ideal - it would not deserve to be elevated into the same, or a rival, class as the angels.

4. In speaking of "ape-hood" I am not trying to say that humans are the direct descendents of apes; my belief in the essential kinship of all living creatures, however, forces me to the position that apes and humans must have a common ancestor somewhere in our relatively recent evolutionary past. This is the one we are evolving away from. (The same principle implies that a common ancestor could be found for any pair of living species found on this planet, subject only to our ability to trace the lineage far enough backwards. So, for instance, apes and lizards also have a common ancestor - somewhere in the fishy, slimy regions of the more remote evolutionary past.)

5. This appears to have been the position of "The Pharisees" depicted in the New Testament, who were highly devout religious people with whom Jesus was in constant contention. If this is correct, then the Pharisees were not, essentially, bad people - but people trying too hard, and in the wrong way, to be good.

6. A.N.Whitehead has written persuasively about the shift in basic assumption between the ancient world, in which slavery was an absolute given (and inseparable from civilisation as they then knew it), and the era commencing with the French Revolution and the Victorian Methodist reformers which has persuaded the world that slavery is radically unacceptable. Clearly, a further evolution is needed before slavery, and slave-like social conditions are completely abolished. But the principle is now firmly established and an Angel of Freedom is surely now in residence in the Kingdom of Heaven. Perhaps she should always have been there, but we have no evidence that the designers of the ancient Heaven gave her any serious consideration. See Whitehead (@@@)

7. In my view, we can only address these world-scale political and economic problems if we have an adequate systems conception of how the problematic situation is created out of real-time human activity. I see the present work as contributing some of the essential thought structure, to enable these conceptions, and the relevant systems mappings, to be developed. In the meantime our "will" to make changes is inevitably weak, because it is not coupled with an effective method.

8. Should Confusion be regarded as the pseudonym of the archangel Satan? Or is it just confusion? See footnote number three, above.

9. Rational" in this context means being committed to the good of oneself and of others, and searching for the bridges and the perspectives that can lead to the action that may bring this good about. (Even Whitehead was a little feeble on "the function of Reason" - but the whole topic has been elegantly taken up by Justus Buchler (@@@)

10. One such perversion of Christian ideals is the walking contradiction of the devout Christian who is also a ruthless manipulator of capital. He does not recognize that he has any ethical conflict - perhaps because these two sides of his personality belong to different system layers of the human enterprise. On the one hand his own economic activities do not bring him face-to-face with the exploitation and human degradation which are the inevitable by-products of the present global system. On the other, his Sunday Christianity deals with an imaginary world, where idealised, imaginary "neighbours" are "loved" in a stereotyped and idealised way. Thus he does not bring the Christian ethics to bear upon the evils of the system in which he is participating. Until he learns to think in terms of systems levels his reasoning mind (which only addresses one layer at a time) will fail to register any contradiction. See Chapter Five for a fuller discussion of this point.

11. I strongly repudiate the fundamentalist teachings - but will continue to seek ways of maintaining dialogue with those who espouse such teachings.

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© all content: copyright reserved, Michael Roth, January 2004