An Apology forPneumogenesis
©Rev. John A. Mills, 2001
Our post-post-modern society is bereft of vision and as Proverbs warns us, we are imperiled of perishing. We live in a consequent post-modern age of distrust, aimlessness, and selfishness. A suspicion of meta-narrative, a de-centering rejection of uniformity, homogeneity, and monoreality marked the post-modern era. Rightfully, homogenizing trends were dismantled and diversity was mainstreamed. No longer were pronouncements, myths, and authority assumed to be truthful and relevant. Common mythologies and visions were uncovered to be exclusive and hierarchical. Such critique exposed widespread unrighteousness and called to account authority, both secular and religious. Paternalism, sexism, racism, and heterosexism were all named and called to account. Each person was released to seek out his or her own individual niche, some striving to stay with the old ways, others seeking out a New Age.
But this post-modern opportunity was squandered. Instead of the people gathering together in their diversity and rainbow variety to construct a new identity and mythos of process and inclusion, we built private, excluding bunkers to fortify the rightness of our own persona over and against all others. Instead of becoming a plural community of adventurers and explorers, we have become a conglomerate of single unit tribes, whether one person or one nuclear family. The Powers and Principalities not only had no vested interested in contributing their influence and power to a vision of diversity and evolutionary change, they found the consequent malaise to be re-enforcing of their long-held positions. So a void formed where vision was needed.
And in rushed Capital's Dragon…
Mammon is its biblical name; consumerism is its contemporary name and materiality is its abortion. It is Capital released from any vision but its own vision of unending accumulation. It is Capital ascendant. It is the fallen vision of greed and hedonism. It is the vision of satiation and immediacy. It is the vision of today with no tomorrow, of instant but perpetually unfulfilled gratification. It is a vision whose only teleology is personal material accumulation. It is a vision without spirit and without the Spirit.
The Dragon has been unchained and set free to rape and pillage Gæia. It surveys all that it encounters and consumes resources and even the consumer. It enslaves to unsatiated and unsatiable desire. All things are on the auction block. Value is monetary; to have value is to have a price. In the Dragon's lair, even life is sold and bought in patentable God-given genes and biogeneses. Care is sold and bought. Children are sold and bought. Profitability, another of Mammon's abortions, is existential. If it is not profitable, it is discarded. No good, no service, no person is worthy unless it is profitable. And once Gæia is violated and exhausted, the Dragon hoards its accumulated treasures awaiting for her re-birth, so to once again rape and pillage her in cycle after economic cycle.
The Dragon trains its synchrophants,trolls hidden deep in the caves of business, laboratories, hospital, and government to desire and desire and desire … always more and more. They, no less than the anawin, are shackled to Mammon, oppressed, yet ignorant of their oppression, succumbing to such faux sovereignty as employee ownership without authority. They subconsciously fear losing their high-flying jobs, being marked as trouble, and aborting their dream of aspiring to Mammon's own Chiefs of Economic Oppression.
The Dragon is the ultimate drug trafficker: the more you consume, the more you want and you can never have enough; you are driven to seek more and more until you are physical and spiritual sapped and hollowed. In its fiery path is left spiritual and ecological destruction. Nothing is sacred. Self-protection, self-aggrandizement and social neglect drive ethical thought. The anawin are held in ghettoes by the intentionally unfilled promise of the life of Gates and neglected to a life of hopelessness and criminal wealth established and quietly allowed to exist so as to maintain a complacent people with no revolutionary aspirations.
Even that other reactionary vision that rushed to fill the void, that hollow vision of antique belief that excludes and condemns and denies God's diversity is servant to the Dragon in its mass media production promoting its deformed promise of consumer salvation. The Dragon's heated breath is not felt in the hell and brimstone pronouncements, but in its promises of simple, literal, homogeneous faux truths and being among the Elect. Indeed, such as succumb to this Dragon's spawn will indeed be left behind in the sure evolution and revolution of the Creation to greater and greater diversity, complexity, and enjoyment.
What then is needed is a post-post-modern vision that takes the best of the post-modern revolution, rejects its truncated consequences, celebrates God's will, and guides us to the eternal life of desiring to do now what God wishes us to do. It needs to be a cosmology of embracing diversity, of immanent transcendence, of change as norm, of a God of pure and perfect love who has rejected Absolutism, of the interconnection of all createds, of mystery that yields more questions for each answer, and of science and religion going hand in hand towards the Baseilea of God. Herein, then is my offering for this vision hoped to be inclusive, immanent in transcendence, and challenging. I call itpneumogenesis, the process of the spirit, to emphasize its embracing of process in the post-post-modern world and its overcoming of materiality in confrontation with Capital. I hope it to be the St. George to the Capital's Dragon.
Reality in the pneumogenic metaphysic is the interpenetration of spatiotemporality and holosynchronality. Integrating Process and the Holographic Universe, reality is a spongy explicant time and place of evolutionary and ecological change absorbing the watery implicant spaceless and timeless ground of being. All organized createds are not "solids" moving through space-time, but a series of infinitesimal perishing-becoming concresences, enfolding into the Implicate and unfolding into the Explicate. At each infinitesimal moment of concresence, an actuality partakes of all previous actualities mediated in the Explicate, God's initial aim mediated in the Implicate, and its own self to exercise its free will to choose God or not and concresce into a novel entity. At each kenotic perishing, an actuality encounters the Primordial Nature of God in holosynchronality. At that instant, the actuality is in the Implicate in the reality of Platonic forms, Jungian archetypes, and Whiteheadian eternal objects, where there is no time or space, but only the synchronicity and the non-locality of acausal, non-local event-relationships.
The metaphysic is not only descriptive, but also guide us to a relationship to God (reflection) and to action for God (praxis) to aid us in making moral choices. Building on the moral work of Murphy and Ellis in their book On the Moral Nature of the Universe, we can demonstrate how pneumogenesis tames the Dragon. At they very core of the metaphysic is a call forkenosis. At the infinitesimal instant of perishing, the whole multiplicity of spatiotemporality and of holosynchronality may be embraced for a decision for eternal life. In every infinitesimal instant, God’s aim lures to a desire to want completely and unconditionally to do God’s will now, to let go of our idolatrous aim and stand with God no matter the cost. However at the core of ethics is not only kenosis, but also interconnection and "otherness"; i.e., plethora. Each individual is not ontological "separate" from other individuals. We are interpenetrated and interconnected by each other. Ontologically, we incarnate the other within our becoming and perishing. Thus, we are not only called to self-renunciation for the other, but also called to self-awareness of our ontological otherness and therefore to renounce our separateness. Therefore, we form the pneumogenesis metaphysic with an ethic of kenosis and plethora: renunciation of the separate self for the sake of the other self is the highest good, no matter the cost to one's self. This ethic still retains the kenotic nature of Murphy’s and Ellis’ ethic, but shifts emphasis from sacrifice (though it does not abandon it) to a redemptive, celebrative life. It encapsulates a morality of interconnectedness in an ethic of kenosis and plethora. This ethic is universally applied to humans, nature, and God. For humans, this ethic has a number of consequences:
The ethic cannot be imposed. It must be noncoercive. An individual must willingly and joyfully live it. When applied to God, it establishes the kenotic nature of God: the divine willingness of self-limitation in order to allow creation’s free will. Free will is the sign and mark of God’s kenosis: The Genesis story tells us, in contrast to other ancient mythologies, that God is creating the creation out of love for love. But to love and to be loved requires free will. The lover must be free to choose to love. There must exist free will and moral intelligence.
And in the same manner, if we refuse to follow and succumb to Mammon and attain this high ethical calling, then we will reclaim the best of post-modernism and set ourselves on the path of mutually fulfilling community. We will see the Dragon give ground to a new social order, where
The metaphysic is not doctrinal shackling and stifling novelty, but dialogical, of novel order celebrating exploration and adventure in life's polyvalent journey. It orders novelty in the brilliant light of post-post-modern science and spirituality. Out of the stew of transitional chaos, it emerges as an offering to elicit (illicitly) creative life journeys. Founded on the interaction of the two great pillars of thought that God has gifted, the study of bodily creation and the study of spiritual creation and emerging from the on-going people's dialogical sessions, the metaphysic is a rich reservoir of myth and cosmology. It is inmyth-making and myth-telling that Spirit most creatively and fruitfully influences our lives. If we are at last to tame the Dragon, we must acquire transcendent and immanent power to overcome the draconian additive power wrought on God' creation.
I stood on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia one Saturday noon. A man played the bongo rhythms of the Caribbean. And there chimed high in the brilliant sunny sky the metronomic bell of the Baptist Church, not competing with the Caribbean rhythm, but in syncopation with it, heralding a good day to live in God's creation in all of its contrasts of colors, tones, and creativeness, concrescing the old into the new, and the new into the radical novelty of the Word. Thus so, post-modernism has broken through the monoculture of modernity and brought diversity of thought, tradition, body, and expression to the collective consciousness. It is the first step -- albeit, a stumbling one -- towards a vision of visions wherein open-ended spirit, mind, and body can embrace the polyvalence of God's beautiful and mysterious Creation. From Process, Forms and Archetypes to Evolution, Quantum Uncertainty, and Holograms, pneumogenesis is a post-post-modern metaphysic of resistance to Mammon and congruency with God. The fraud of idolatry, of the false god that claims it can save when it, in its finiteness and imperfection -- and willfulness -- entraps in an addiction of impossible autosalvation. Instead, we can reclaim the Ground, the Implicate, Færie and spin myths again to transcend materiality and embrace the adventure, both mundane and cosmic, that God'sendless mystery offers.