The new worldview demonstrates that egoism is disastrous for the individual because karma is a real phenomenon in the personal world. The major change is that this is no longer just an issue of belief, hope and faith, but of hard logical science. In this case it becomes clear what most of us have been doing wrong, and how to do it right. Positive expectation is everything, but ‘right action’ is absolutely essential. The ‘Noble Eightfold Path‘ of Buddhism is the instruction manual for exactly this kind of world. This is how to live long and prosper in a personal world, and hereafter. Enlightened self-interest is the only sanity as held in all the great spiritual traditions.
In the absence of religion, morality is simply a practical set of guidelines to further social cooperation. But with the atomisation of the culture in the Internet age, we are seeing the consequences of the increasing breakdown of this vital component of society. A great tide of egoism and separatism is flooding our societies. This is not just of concern to us as moral citizens. As we are just beginning to fully realise, this is a potentially devastating loss for humanity as a whole. As environmental advocate Gus Speth famously said:
I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that thirty years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that. (2013)
But now we do.
This selfishness greed and apathy is egoism in action. This is exactly what it looks like in practice. As we witness in so many ways, this is destroying the human culture. Classic end of empire stuff, except this time we have nukes. We need the world to be a more peaceful place, while so much seems to point in the opposite direction. Crucially, we need what comes next to be different to what has gone before. In other words, we need a transformation. As Alexander King points out:
The wisdom we desperately require can only come through inner transformation. (2006, 22)
But as has become clear, enlightened self interest cannot be coerced. Caring about others cannot be instilled by decree. As he goes on:
All religions have, in their purest aspirations, attempted to induce such a change, with very little success. (2006, 22)
Nonetheless, as he says, for us to even survive we must somehow engineer such a change. At present in 2023 the egoism seems rampant. More and more is demanded, especially by those have more. And the inevitable result is the destruction of our ecosphere. As John Holdren, scientific adviser to President Obama, reports on climate change:
The current situation of the world … is that we are in a car with bad brakes driving toward the edge of a cliff in the fog … prudence requires that we try to stop the car. (Friedman, 2008, 160)
But the crazy level of egoism has been keeping the foot on the gas. And this may not be the least of our problems, much though we might wish. Several other Armageddons are brewing, stoked by narcissistic selfishness, greed and apathy. But the inner transformation arises as we take on the new worldview. Not only immanently rewarding, it is also great fun.
The Good Life
To take on the personal world as reality is to wake up to the latest discovery in our extraordinary modern physics. To take on the personal world as an identity is to wake up to a new age of enlightenment.
In the modern world egoism has come to be seen by many as not only natural but good. But in the personal world it becomes clear that egoism is always ultimately disastrous for the person. When we understand the nature of the personal world, we very much want to operate karma in our favour. So we would all want to be altruistic, ‘spiritual’, simply because we would see clearly that this is what makes luck run our way.
As King states, inner transformation is now a fundamental requirement to survival. He goes on to describe a possible avenue of approach
… we should strive, through deliberate efforts of inner development and new insights into consciousness and the working of the mind, to cultivate an enlightened communal sense. (2006, 22)
The instinct of enlightened communal sense is what gave our human race the unique level of coordination to develop civilisation, and the power to take over the planet. Derived out of necessity, it dwindled when the necessity was no longer there. Hence the atomisation of the modern world. It is dramatically revitalised when we understand the implications of the personal world. An extraordinary inner development is the direct result of the new worldview. The immediacy of the connection between self and world becomes apparent. All this world ‘out there’ is not alien but personal. How well my world is doing is how well I am doing.
And at the same time it is shared. And by doing the best for each other we do the absolute best for ourselves. This is what has been lost for most of us, outside of family and friends. That is the carrot. Karma is the stick. This type of morality was the generally accepted and expected default in times past. This is a basic requirement in small communities. In our modern atomised societies this seems like just a limitation on what one might like to do. But you are not separate, and that changes everything. You are doing it to yourself. As stated by the modern sage Krishnamurti:
You and the world are not two different entities. You ‘are’ the world, not as an ideal, but actually. (Lutyens, 1983, 74)
This returns to us the type of communal sense fundamental to life in small isolated societies. But now it has a profound rationale.
The personal world is determinate, real, only where you have observed it. And this of course is why your observations are of such extraordinary significance. But the full implication is truly extraordinary. Your world is entirely defined by your observations, your memory. And everything else is indeterminate, unreal. Your memory is the definition of the physical reality in your personal world.
It is in this sense that you are the world. As the great physicist Erwin Schrödinger stated, quoting the Vedas of ancient Hindu literature: “I am the entire world” (Moore, 1989). The new physics shows us this is literally the case.
As Above So Below
This makes sense of ‘Macrocosm Microcosm’. This ancient concept ‘As Above So Below’, is the mythical idea that the world reflects the individual nature. And vice versa. Nonsense in the ordinary classical world. But when the macrocosm is the personal world, the myth is simply correct. The world is defined by the memory of this individual. All else is unreal. In this sense you are the world as Krishnamurti states. And this explains the truly extraordinary implication. As he goes on to say:
As the world is yourself, in the transformation of yourself you produce a transformation in society (ibid)
In other words, as above so below is how this world works.
This is why karma is a real phenomenon. Good actions generate good futures for this world. And bad actions bad ones. The way you treat the world is the way this world treats you. Because it is all you.
If the human culture can evolve to adopt this new type of identity, we arrive where Alexander King directs us. This is the spiritual transformation. The mechanism is inherent in the logic. In this discovery a powerful inherent morality is revealed. Enlightened self-interest becomes the only rational life position. If this can become a natural and generally accepted principle, a new human culture of enlightenment is the result.
A culture of such self aware entities is a very different culture. The common understanding is that we are all beginners, newbies, and there is an eternity ahead. The natural response is obvious. We all want to well in the next world, especially if this lifetime has been a bit of a hell. We would very much like the next world to be as heavenly as possible. Enlightened self-interest is the path. The consequence should fulfill King’s requirement. Egoism is transcended.
The Higher Self
The concept of the higher self has emerged in countless spiritual traditions. Many different meanings are attributed. The customary definition is an eternal, omnipotent, conscious, and intelligent being, who is one’s real self. This sounds pretty grand but the full nature of each conscious individual is akin to this. Immortal, yes. Eternal, kind of. Conscious, certainly. Intelligent, no question. The intuition is a function of the higher self. Omnipotent, not so much. But there is an extraordinary status we have been unaware of.
It is technically correct to say that the personal world is the personal unconscious. Everything one knows as the world is an attribute of one’s own mind. As above so below. Nonetheless, one is the pilot of the personal world, not the captain. It does not even feel like that, of course. One feels separate and irrelevant. But nonetheless, the mind defines what is real. The real objective world is of course ‘out there’, the ordinary world is real, but this is a different type of world. It is ‘made of’ ordinary worlds, but it is personal.
What is real for me and what is me have the same definition. It is in this sense that you are the entire world. The personal world and the personal self are one and the same thing. This is the inner transformation. This is the root of the evolution beyond the egoism that has always motivated every individual. In the new culture of such individuals, a new kind of identity becomes the norm.
A culture of such individuals will be very different. Life really is a game. And to win all we have to do is live a life of right action, a life of enlightened self-interest. The race of such individuals will truly have unlimited potential.
The new physics tells us that there is vastly more to us than we imagined. We are the fields of information that define our personal worlds. This is the higher self with all of its extraordinary properties. The body with its operating system is the vehicle in which one resides. It is the best conceivable kind of existence once we understand it. This is the new intelligence.
Immortal and empowered, we are radically different entities than we realised. And karma is a real operational principle. In the light of all this there a clear imperative to live a life of enlightened self-interest. Thus the seeds of a new age of intelligent cooperation, peace and prosperity are sown.
In this new identity one is empowered and one is responsible. And immortal. And if one is wise one is kind. These are the attributes of the higher self. If we can accept this new worldview, implied by our best science, we can regenerate the power of deep community. And our human race will have a very much better chance of surviving the challenges of this century, limits to growth. If we can take this on there is a good chance our fractured and atomised societies will heal, hopefully swiftly. And the various man-made Armageddons heaving into view will get less and less likely rather than more and more.
The next main section is A Marvellous Vision.