The Three Ages of Humanity in Dostoyevsky

The Russian F. Dostoyevsky is arguably the greatest novelist of all time. [Eros people will prefer Tolstoy, but those scarred and scorched by the Daemonic will prefer Dostoyevsky.] Less well known is that he also saw history in terms of a changing relationship between humanity and the spiritual.

[1] The Age of Dante= God in heaven, in the cosmos, in nature, takes care of humanity

The first experience of the sacred cosmos ‘objectively’ surrounding humanity. The world as given to us is already meaningful. This is in fact Eros, from Shamanism onward.. In Christianity, it reached its high water mark during the Middle Ages.

[2] The Age of Shakespeare= Humanity is the only divinity

The ‘humanist’ revolution begins when the sacred no longer ‘holds’ humanity, and humanity flexes its muscles on its own, bringing on romantic art, positivist science, Nietzschean Superman spirituality, and the rest.. This is the rise of Secular Humanism, in all forms [some religious ones as well, though mostly religion is obviously rejected as inhibiting human powers].

To find and release human powers is the project of Secular Humanism.. Any ‘god’ is an embarrassment, unless — as in the Jungian doctrine of Self and Individuation — the divine can be regarded as an extension of, an addition to, humanity. Only a god who is humanity at a higher gear, humanity ‘more so’, is acceptable. No Other who has Authority is allowed.. We must be free to cultivate our own powers, and open up the hidden treasures of our environment. Given our expansion, and the digging up of the latent potentials in our setting, we will be self-sufficient in the here and now. We need not be troubled over any ‘other world.’ Humanity neither needs divinity, nor profits from it, but on the contrary, humanity is merely held back by anything smacking of divinity.

This Humanism goes through sub phases.. [a] From the Renaissance to the Reformation, the divine is being shed, because it is being pared down only to the rational and moral. This is a prelude to ditching it entirely. [b] With the European Enlightenment — the watershed — we enter Modernism. We seek the Big Picture through purely human tools, in art or science, but that fails after a while.. No one believes in anything. Everything crumbles.. [c] There is now no big picture, no big theory– not even any such thing as ‘one theory.’ Everything fragments, and turns absurd. Thus Post Modernism enters the ultimate Relativism. And Capitalism has a field day, romping home the winner of the argument, because there is no moral vision left to oppose it.. We know nothing much, we aren’t up to much, but we can eat, get fat, get rich. There is still Mammon. But that is all which is left..

Both post-modernism and fundamentalism arise as reactions to modernism, and therefore are heads and tails of the same coin. ‘There are no reliable basics’ versus ‘Back to the only reliable basics.’

[2a]= Post-Modernism– ironic ennui in the face of modernism’s failure.
[2b]= Fundamentalism– a reactionary crusade against modernism’s failure.

[2a]= ‘There are no reliable basics.’
[2b]= ‘Back to the only reliable basics.’

[3] The Age of the Spirit= God in the depth of the heart

Secular Humanism collapses into the Anti-Hero of Post Modernism, but where next? Just more and more Mammon until the earth is totally destroyed, community is entirely divided, and the machines are set to take over? They might as well take charge, since humanity is played out.. From trying to glorify humanity on its own, we have ended up with humanity devoid of all point, meaning, purpose.

Yet this is precisely when passion of heart, and the Fire of God, the Ruach, come into their own. They alone can fight Mammon, and the pervasive emptiness in mind and soul and heart it brings. ‘The fire next time’..

According to Dostoyevsky, depth is the theme of the Third Age, and in this time, therefore, depth psychology will shade into depth spirituality. Even depth physics will shade into depth spirituality.