I think that one of the most difficult Essentialist teachings for Modern people is its teaching on the subject of Evolution. Particularly troubling is the notion that the motion is of decline, rather than progress. In the West, we are educated in the Pseudo-Mythos of the forward progress of humanity, particularly in terms of knowledge of the material world and technology. From an Essentialist standpoint, however, increased knowledge of and interest in the material world and increased technology are signs of decline, not progress.
Technology comes about as a compensation for our decreased mental, physical, and spiritual capacity, and from a Traditionalist perspective is a sign of decline, not progress. Writing, for example, came about because of a decline in memory and the decay of oral tradition. We can see this decline in our own lifetime. Our grandparents were able do many things without technology that we need technology to do. I am often surprised and alarmed that many people younger than myself are unable to perform simple mathematics without a calculator, and that many store clerks are unable to make change without a cash register.
Throughout history, people have worried about the decline in the then current “youth,” and what this would mean for the future. Language has declined throughout history. For example, all of the Romance languages are far simpler than Latin from which they are descended. In many churches, there are movements to “modernize” worship, which often means to make it simpler and more accessible for people. In Christianity, first worship moved from Latin to the vernacular, and now, there are many paraphrased versions of the Judeo-Christian written tradition available, including “The Message.”
With this in mind, we can see historical spiritual and intellectual inventions for what they were, not as advances, but as attempts to make ancient knowledge and wisdom accessible to our reduced capacities. This is inevitable. Inventions, such as writing, started off as quite intricate and complex, and became simpler over time. Early ideographic styles contained rich symbolism of their own. The only significant survivor of these styles is Chinese/Japanese hanzi/kanji.
Will decline continue throughout time? Yes, in a way; however, this decline happens in a spiral not a line. From Ancient wisdom, we can understand that we are at the end of the Iron Age, when decline it at its greatest. We are headed to a new Golden Age. This Golden Age will be lower than the previous Golden Age, but from our perspective, it will be much higher than the age we live in. What will this Golden Age be like? We have no way of knowing that as this Age will be much beyond what we can imagine. It is possible, and even likely, that we will not be physical, manifest beings in the new Golden Age.
When will this happen? Tradition tells us that we are near the end of the Iron Age, but no legitimate Tradition will tell us when that is to occur. Does this have anything to do with the “Age of Aquarius”? I do not know. Perhaps. The Age of Aquarius will be (or is, depending on which calculation one follows) ruled by Saturn, and the following Age, the Age of Capricorn will also be ruled by Saturn. 4,000 years of being under the rule of Saturn seems a bit chilling, but we also know that Saturn is both the builder and the destroyer of the material realm.
This being said, there is a good reason that no legitimate Tradition will tell us when the end of the Age of Iron will be. This is not really information that will help us. Interestingly, though, in many ways, our lives are already becoming much less physical because of the computer and the Internet. Many of us spend a great deal of our time in “virtual reality,” and more and more our economic system is virtual as well.
What does all of this mean as far as Free Will? No matter what Age we find ourselves in, we still have Free Will. As discussed in earlier articles, Free Will is the choice between Dark and Light, between our True and False Selves, and between Good and Evil. Even now, near the end of the Age of Iron, we can still hold on to the Light.