6.6.3 A Sufi myth: Fourth Ways,…and The Great Freedom Sutra
One of the more notable anti-modern occult conspiracies springs from the shadow Sufistic world, as documented by the reactionary mystic Ouspensky. The Islamic oikoumene generates the remarkable history of so-called Sufism, and this carries a confused legend of the ‘fourth way’ (beyond ways of the body, emotions, or mind) as something deeper than the already complex yogas of the world of Buddhism, whose adherents are world-renouncing, leading to ‘historical termination of its exemplars’, the premonition of realized Man manifesting his full Will as freedom in history. Mathematically, such a being ought to exist, but… The Islamic hides a number of claimants to this category, rarely seen in public. This has nothing to do with Islam. Such a being would be limited from the start by the historical conditioning of his time and place. He would, for example, have no knowledge of modern physics, and live in mystic limbo (not that modern physics is much help here). A real man of will would require independent soul formation, and some objective in time, since he would more likely pass beyond the realm of rebirths, Buddha style. And just this rumor does exist in the corners of Sufistic lore. So we don’t know. Perhaps this man is a myth, his early exemplars poor imitations of themselves, too often ‘rogue buddhas’ wreaking havoc on the eonic sequence with delusive visions. Almost nothing public is known of this, although its possibility is easily deduced in the abstract, nor is its reality visible in recorded history, and yet beginning with Sumer or before these still rare individuals might have begun to emerge, injecting an obscure factor of unseen action in history, as they mediate remarkable initiatives via proxies. We ought to be entirely suspicious of any and all New Age mythologies on this issue, and point out that such individuals are not the ‘secret guides’ of human evolution. The point is that the early era of Sumer might conceal an entire spiritual tradition invisible to us, symmetric to the Indian. This Sufi myth indicates as much. We must be wary of any and all claimants to such a ‘path of will’, mindful of Dante’s systematic codification of devils.
In any case, we see that such beings would be limited to the local knowledge at the stage of civilization they found themselves in, and the Axial Age, given its stupendous scale, could not be the result of spiritual guides leading humanity with prophetic vision. Its scale is too immense, its action mechanized at a level of sophistication that eludes human intelligence. We can barely observe its manifestations, and have no idea what it is, save a ‘force of nature’. Founding a religion via proxies is, however, within their range of such possible types. Note this point and the clear difference of the ersatz religions arising in the wake of the Axial Age, as human realizations. Compared to the Axial scale, Christianity and Islam are different, and show clear ‘initialization’ points. We must remain suspicious of such isolated source points, our ‘floating fourth turning points’, that don’t fit into our sequence (and don’t have to), a good example being precisely the onset of Christianity and Islam themselves, with their unaccountable sudden success without eonic determination, albeit clearly in the wake of the Axial Age. We are missing the background! Our model doesn’t overdetermine history and doesn’t explain the mideonic worlds. The point is that we must stick to what the eonic sequence explains, and be wary of the obscurity of much that happens in between. Tracing diffusion is hard enough with tangible artifacts, in this case it is almost impossible. Thus we have no record of much that is crucial to history, save useless tidbits, such as the strange appearance of Three Magi out of nowhere in the gestation of Christianity. To suggest that Jesus and Muhammad were proxies in such action is unsettling and of course entirely beyond the possibility of current demonstration, and we can’t pursue the issue, save to be wary of the standard histories of these two religions springing form their delimited sources. The odor of occult artifice haunts their traditions.
The idea of the ‘fourth way’ is worthless in its current apocryphal form but suggests its own original meaning, and that, for the future, the conflict of secularism and religion is completely false. If one thinks otherwise, consider Karl Marx. The function of religion, in one sense, to assist the helpless individual in the mechanizations of the state ideology, or civil domination, succumbs to the disease it wishes to cure, and this function is wrested from ‘religion’ by an agent of labor unrest! Quite the religious man! The only real candidate for the fourth way (whose keynote is the ‘religion’ as the ordinary life in civilization) is the rise of secular modernism, escaping the dead end of theocracy. Much in modern life shows the echoing signature of this long lost ‘path of the will’, like a vehicle stuck in first gear.
The Great Freedom Sutra The modern transition has already stolen a march on the classic yogas of antiquity with its seminal discourses of freedom and autonomy, bursting asunder the spurious authority of the gurus. The passage of free men across the abyss of their freedom might prove so simple, yet the die is cast, and man is left to the existential reality of his own self-evolution.
Non other than Kant protests the comprised autonomy of the self mesmerized by religion and demands a ‘religion within the limits of reason’, whose vehicle is the will of the individual. Nothing esoteric here, the simplest of direct pointings to the ‘fourth way’. The right vehicle for this is secular society itself. The catch lies in the deficit between the ideal and the clear reality of the social mechanized state. The ‘fourth way’, civilization itself, has expanded to include all society, and the individual is left to an abstract possibility, one that existed in all stages of civilization. And yet the formulation is surely the right one, granting the result is like paper money, and the need to produce an enzymatic vitamin factor to assist this ocean of floundering wills. The great religions can be of little help here if they degenerate into ideologies. They simply put their adherents in cold storage. The question is one for the future. The apocrophyal ‘fourth way’ can be set aside, and graduate to the philosophies of freedom that emerge so clearly correlated with the modern transition, and whose status is something far more fundamental than anything legislated by the priesthoods of Christianity or the empire projects of prophets.