The Polish Philosopher Henryk Skolimowski seeks different answers to the increasingly urgent call for a new worldview, for a revival of spirituality and transcendence, in another inspiring book Let there be Light.
Skolimowski’s philosophy is of cosmic creativity and evolution and light that unite us all as the source of all life. To understand the cosmos and its evolution and the part we play we must understand the nature of light, and its evolutionary role along the path to enlightenment. Skolimowski thinks of traditional religions and science as both having filters. In religion these prevent us experiencing the full spiritual transcendence needed for this world. Science also has its filters, becoming totally reductionist, and its rationality has become limiting and crippling. It has used Darwinian evolution as a hatchet against religion, but has never tried to understand religion and finds it hard to accept that there can be any theories of evolution beyond Darwin. And physics, he argues, makes preposterously arrogant assumptions about the laws of life. And he sees profanity in modern science and technology. He calls this 'mistletoe technology,' which he says is strangling the whole tree of life.
We are in the midst of a gigantic struggle between the old mechanistic consciousness and a new spiritually inclined consciousness, and the latter needs to assert itself. We have come to the point where we must choose madness or sanctity, and we have only been saved so far from madness by the great and beautiful art and music and literature, sacred and otherwise that is available to us. But much of our art is now ugly; perpetuating the ugliness we have created around us. And ugliness is carcinogenic. Without beauty we wither. Artists therefore have a responsibility in this. 'We can and must re-articulate human nature,' Skolimowski writes, 'away from the ugly and destructive; and towards beautiful, transcendent and noble.' Furthermore, 'the violence done to beauty has been violence done to our souls and lives…the loss of spirituality is one of the consequences.'
We need wisdom and an essential task before us is to nurture the seed of the spirit and the divine. Skolimowski therefore includes meditational practices of mind and body and light, to nurture our spiritual being. It is clear there is much wrong with our present social contract, and the need to design a new one is urgent. But this needs a leap of transcendence, which must be spiritual. Religions, he says, need a renewal at source. And unless we rise to that challenge to change ourselves, politicians and political scientists will continue in their old ways and the world will not heal. Because they will not change by themselves, conditioned as they are by the past and possessed by the 'collective un-wisdom of our time…The institutions only reflect who you are, including your indolence and lack of responsibility.'
This sets an important challenge for us all.