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Anticipation: A way of life

by Benedictus Montecrossa

There may have been periods in the past when man could afford not to anticipate, but today anticipation is a prime requisite for survival. We don’t know what is changing exactly, but the forces behind such sweeping change must be very important. Luckily man, more than other animals, is a being that cannot help anticipating. 90% of our ruminations anticipate situations and possible ways of meeting them.

In ancient times it was the prophets, the seers, who did the looking forward, and as those today who are the most ‘far out’ are our technicians, our scientists and science-fiction writers, the voice of the prophet is seldom heard. Yet, although most of the changes around us and those which we can foresee for the immediate future are technological changes, if we really care to look we can see behind them deeper urges of life itself, great movements of the mind, and behind the mind a spiritual revolution which seems to prefer being hidden or masked.

In the last analysis all change is a change of consciousness, and it is this change of consciousness which we would like to point out to our readers in this issue.

In our future society the majority of people will be scientists, and no longer newspaper-reading, unlearned workers or half-literate peasants. For the first time the word ‘democracy’ will have a meaning; for the first time since the days of Athens, democracy will again be the equivalent of aristocracy in its true sense (aristos, the best). Government by slogan, by appeal to primitive feelings, government by panic, will be at an end, thanks to science and scientific education. Government based on primate emotions has disappeared in the last twenty years from our Pentagons. The apoplectic old generals and the old salts nearing retirement age fiercely dividing the defence budget, have faded out. Of course, as a spokesperson for the Pentagon carefully announced in the papers, it is not the computers that decide, any more than it is the adding machines that make the decisions in the banks. But an adding machine can make even a temperamental banker pretty thoughtful.

Our humanity is neither a homogenous mass nor a union of equally developed individuals. 30% still live emotionally in the stone age. They try to mould the environment by magical formulas like “Down with colonialism”, “Fight for democracy”, “Long live Mao thought”, or like “Black power”, or “White supremacy”. 40% are still neolithic farmers, practical people who think they have only to organize their institutions in a reasonable, commonsense way – the American way, or the Chinese way or the Arab way – people of the book: the Bible, the Koran, or Das Kapital.

Compared to the small percentage of people who have evolved toward a planetary age of unity, the majority of mankind is still an atavistic throwback. They are evolutionary dropouts. So what to do with them? Wait until a catastrophe on a planetary scale has disposed of them, with the likely possibility that their final eclipse will endanger the evolved 30% also?

Is there any hope of convincing them that they are dropouts and should go back to the school of evolution? No prehistoric mammoth ever clung more stubbornly to the way of its fathers than those men whom evolution has already bypassed. Will we be able to tell them that what they think is irrelevant? Or will we be able to lead them from inner experience from inner experience until, with all their ancestors silent and the ghosts of all their pasts gone, they also can know the security of our contemporary spirituality of oneness?

Prevision – anticipation, or seeing into the future – is of the greatest importance once we realize that we are living in an evolving universe instead of a timeless now. But strangely most of our religious leaders are men who tend to look backwards into the rear mirror of the past, and when they see a change they cry, “Doom!” When man grows old too he becomes conservative; he likes what he sees around him, and if he discovers a change he becomes alarmed.

We all are attached to familiar surroundings, to some of our fellow beings, and if we could look into the future we would naturally be upset to see our friends or our friendly surroundings vanish. But if we turn resolutely toward the glare of the future with a certain equality of consciousness, instead of relating every change to our little self, then we see, instead of doom, instead of the disappearance of known things, a continuous new birth. And instead of becoming Herods and in our fright killing all new-born ideas and movements which the future projects into our time, we will kneel like the three wise men and offer our gifts to the newly born.

Yesterday war was considered a good, character-building occupation for young men, and the extermination of the neighbouring village as pleasing to the gods. We still have wars, but we have to look around for excuses when we make them. We have to lie about them, because we are ashamed.

Luckily the vision of conservative Herods is limited, and the babes they kill are usually inconsequential. The real child of the coming age they miss.

Looking into the future is like looking across a landscape. The road we walk on is not a product of past turnings and twistings, but is entirely shaped by the landscape before us, by the coming mountains and rivers. And it meanders not in a meaningless way; it is called forth and guided by the distant city, the city of the future.

If we want to understand the ‘why’ of the curve, we have to lift our head above the dust of the road and look to the horizon. That is why the real seers have never forecast the end of the world or an eternal doom: on the horizon heaven touches earth.

It is even better if we can rise in our consciousness and take a bird’s eye view. Then we may be able to see beyond the horizon the shining towers of the golden city.