WHEE and the distance of the real spiritual plane.(Update: 2019: this gets sloppy in a blog post. In fact, WHEE never uses a distinction of ‘spiritual/material’ and is closer to something like Bennett’s ‘being, function, will’. The book is based on a universal materialism of the Bennett type, but with a Kantian ‘noumenal’ aspect suspected. The spiritual might be the noumenal beyond observation…But it might be connected to a fine tuning type of argument)
You might study the ‘eonic effect’ in my book WHEE online at history-and-evolution.com. It is interesting to see what we suspect is the real ‘spiritual’ plane acting on history. It never interacts with occultists, rarely with spiritual types, and seems to seed the elements of group/social action in the rise of civilization itself. Thus the history of the Rosicrucians, say, is misleading: it has no connection to spiritual depth.
This process in history acts very remotely over intervals of many millennia and then never intervenes. It is neither spiritual nor material, and creates sacred and secular culture equally. It is beyond ‘god’ and ‘beyond’ enlightenment, since its creates in both realms with contradictory signatures, a hint these are our own categories. This is what started the confusion over the Age of Revelation, which was a botched explanation. This process is not, I suspect, ‘god’ at all. That is something different. But we can see that both atheist and theistic religions had a deep support from this mystery, which seems to reawake at the dawn of modernity. It goes into overdrive and is hypercomplex, perhaps driving man to evolve out of his current muddles.
Enlightenment is therefore not yet quite a spiritual domain, but a realization of man’s evolutionary potential. A step into man, then a glimpse beyond man. We should feel some confidence that this mystery process was directly focused on re-amping the ‘paths to enlightenment’. Man has a hard time being man, and hardly as yet takes a first step toward the spiritual. Enlightenment is the state man should have all along. It is part of the mental equipment of savage human apes and (savage) modern monkeys. It is a species characteristic of homo sapiens. The whole thing gets lost over and over again.
However, the is process has clearly seeded monotheistic AND semi-atheistic religions like Buddhism. Buddhism in the Axial Age is a ‘souffle’ effect dished up from early Indian/Jain elements, to create a global religion. Magnificent. So this process both invoked a past legacy and recreated it en passant. The Occidental monotheism coming out of Israel was less successful, and became muddled over the ‘god’ question. Hidden Israelites seem to have adopted an Middle Easter legacy of not uttering the divine name, IHVH, yet the outer religion rapidly crystalized as a god cult. I am hardpressed to resolve these questions, but the framework of the eonic effect can give a sense of what real spirituality, from a distance. The term spirituality is wrong, because it has nothing to do with the religions we know.
In any case, figures like Aleister Crowley, Gurdjieff and Gold aren’t even on the radar of this process, which works only with simple elements that can help ordinary culture.
WHEE is a hard book, many say. Maybe it is better like that. Note then that occultism is part of the legacy of mundane history. It has no real spiritual significance.
The place of middle era prophets like Jesus and Mohammed is not explained by any of this, although we can see the seeds of what they created appearing in the Axial period. These two are different mysteries, but they obviously ‘play with the local toys’ to communicate, Jesus in the Axial Age wake, and Mohammed the same, but with a Persian ( Zoroastrian) twist. So these foundational moments involve genuine spiritual beings, of a different melody. The practical cyclical grind of the ‘eonic effect’ is the different process of macro-evolving civilization. We should note how Christianity became too localized. The suspicion remains that the Israelites were hardly monotheists until in the Exile they mixed their emerging religion with Zoroastrainism. But this connection was forgotten, and then rediscovered in Islam (???).