Religious/secular and the path to a future communism
Our discussion of the place of the Reformation in modernity is important and tricky, and not the way the current set of secularists are thinking. I tend to agree with the secularists, in some ways, but the model shows the dynamics involved. The early part of the Reformations has amplified to swamp its own conclusion in the period of the Enlightenment and German Classical philosophy, and, indeed, communist leftism, marxist or not.
And I have been complicating the discussion with plug for the Osho phenomenon, because I was asked to try it out, butwhich can’t at first seem to do justice to the whole argument. That’s illustrative, at least, but it also points to the way that a leftist movement could be more adept with the complexity of civilization and also assist the fragile but crucial Indic tradition, which holds a key library of certain aspects of man’s evolutionary history. It needs help against being swamped by the monotheistic juggernaut. The recursion of a new/old Christianity in the modern transition with its Reformation is almost unfair, and an accident of history. The whole richness of the Indic religious legacy is in danger of being swamped by the resurgence of Christianity, the case of Islam being uncertain.
Christianity is a relatively crude religion. Christians believe in a series of historical miracles, of dubious facticity. They go to church, repent their sins, and then go out and re-sin. They indulge the extravagent forms of mythic theism, not indicated necessarily by any tradition. The history of Jesus shows a three year teacher interval followed by his death: no teaching emerged in that hectic period. A garbled version of buddhism in the confusion over a very unhealthy celibacy which turned into a total confusion over sex, an attempt to turn prayer into meditation, and in general a lack of any real program of human development. Behavior is judged by a limited ethical structure and produces the misleading category of saved and damned, etc… The mess of theology is as puzzling as the successful dynamic of expansion. This strange structure was/is far more powerful in its historical dynamics, in part due to its place in our system of transitions, and also its obscure but potent connection with Zoroastrian ‘end times’ mythology which is also a way to energize group action toward a goal. In the book Last and First Men the preface tries to intuit this dynamic in terms of the hyparchic future of J.G. Bennett.
Humanity can’t afford another epoch of the barren Christianity, I will set Islam to one side for a moment. And yet it is already on the way to a considerable global domination. And the original, and crucial distinction of Protestantism, is now fading: Catholicism is essentially a Protestant Church. Something doesn’t ring true here. Monotheism lacks the transparency of something like budhism. It is a set of magical operations constructed by supergnostics, which is about on the level of a Faustian pact with the devil to create a religion that can free you from the devil. Jesus has no further connection to the outcome. It is all ‘Christ’, which is what? It doesn’t work. And our model shows the problem and a solution: Protestant Christianity is only a phase of the Reformation, with its radical Munzerian revolution deleted. The Reformation rapidly moves past the tradition and into a new series of formats, the last of which reinvents the radical Christian communism from its beginning, now in the format of historical materialism, which is an inadequate outcome all over again. And it demands that its members be free of theistic mystifications of freedom and authority.
So our suggestion was that a new universal formation like the Osho combination could both enter the empty nothing of Christian churches with a real spiritual teaching, and/or enter into the last phase of the Reformation as a radical companion to the possible realization of a communist outcome to postcapitalism. All these hopes are likely to remain abstract in the endgame of capitalism in a global calamity. But they just may be able to bring a new exit strategy to the tragedy of economic globalization.
This is a strange and unfair situation: the dynamic of epochs will not pass the old formations. But one of the old formations, Christianity, went through a partial upgrade that is taking off as a new religion for a new age, while its real completion in modernity is sidestepped.
I merely gave a slight plug for ‘Oshoism’ because it a simple solution, already in secular format, for either a replacement or else of new interior context to the empty content of Christianity. And/or, of course, a new radical communism now with a spiritual content.
In the final possibility of outrageous syncretism a form of Oshoism could enter into the Christian/Zoroastrian church dynamics to create a real religion for the first time. It could equally well be a completion of secularism and not religion at all. It is a relevant idea because Oshoism, no ism, is a timely encyclopedia in motion of virtually all the spiritual legacies of man.
We can see that some earlier version of this idea came about in the history of Islam, which allowed an interior subreligion of sufism to emerge. In the modern secular world a more careful yet analogous possibility is conceivable as we have indicated.
The possibilities are immense, but we may see none of them. The momentum of old religions will take up a third of the new era. The grim combinations of scientism, darwinism, economic brainwashing with fake mathematics and the culture/politics of capitalism could sweep the world in a false future, graced by junk Protestantism, a basically archaic form that was strangely given a new modern relaunch. But I think the resolutions indicated here will slowly get their chance of realization. They must be ready with something that works and isn’t a rehash of the blather ideology of the Second Internationale or new age buddhism turned into a cult of fascist gurus.
All this leaves the intriguing question of ‘gurus’ and their ashrams, an archaic formation, but one that can be reborn in a new form. A new supercharged formation of a Oshoism-style ‘santana dharma’, marxism, and communism could create a robust secularism with a religious twist (the descendants of buddhism have almost no conflicts with science), with a lineage of futuristic ‘gurus’ now exemplars, after the fashion of the twenty-four teertankers of Jainism, of the first and last man evolution of homo sapiens, etc… These teertankers emerged at the fringes of society and the Forest. This could even juggle the Zoroastrian ‘end times’ slingshot effect into its action. The point is that the new age movement is a bit old age, and the real new age has to be able to navigate an immense new set of universes of discourse.
Finally this kind of formation needs, as does communism, a correct stance toward the crucial modern democratic revolutions. That is really a problem for communists, who need to resolve the question of democracy in the context of capital domination. An issue needing more discussion…
The format of Osho, unlike the corrupt esoteric labyrinths of buddhism, sufism, and occultisms like rosicrucianism is fresh, direct, practical, modern, egalitarian, and adaptable either to communist/commune style organization or else ‘open society’ secular situations, etc…