Our world – the world of Homo sapiens, humanity - is built on faith. We believe in certain things and they become real to us.
My dictionary defines faith as follows:
faith ► n. complete trust or confidence.
For the last three years or so, the faith of humanity has been directed towards a virus called SARS-CoV2 – a virus that cannot be detected with any of our human senses. We cannot touch it, taste it, smell it, hear it, or see it with the naked eye. Science tells us that this virus can be identified only through the use of a powerful electronic microscope. Yet, despite being almost wholly imperceptible, our faith in the virus’ existence has transformed the way we live, perhaps permanently.
Money is even less real than the SARS-CoV2 virus. There is no technology that enables us to see it. Yet we have such “complete trust or confidence” in it that it forms the very basis of our civilisation. Without our faith in money, we would not have jobs or consumables or technology, or any of the accoutrements we take for granted in the modern world. Without money we would not be able to buy or sell, and economic life as we know it would be impossible.
So what is money exactly? The things we regard as money, such as gold bars, coloured paper, or numbers on a computer screen, have no intrinsic value. We cannot eat them, or live in them, or wear them. But because everyone believes these things are valuable, they are. (For more of my ideas on this topic, click here.)
Our faith in these things - the SARS-CoV2 virus and money - exists because we have been told by people we trust that they are real. These people may be scientists, politicians, or newsreaders. Whatever their qualifications, we invest our trust in them and so what they say becomes real to us. In fact it governs our lives. We feel safe when we wear a mask on the bus. We regard having money as essential. Not to follow these rules and axioms would endanger our health - our very existence even. That is what we have been told by people – people we might not know personally.
What if we redirected our faith in strangers to someone we do know – ourselves? What if we placed more trust in what we experience in our own lives, and less in what someone else tells us, via television for instance?
What can each of us actually see, hear, smell, or touch within our own world? If it is daytime, we can see the sun or the clouds in the sky. At night the stars shine in the darkness above, maybe the Moon too. We feel the heat or the cold in the air around us. If it is raining we get wet. We may catch the scent of herbs on the evening breeze or hear water gurgling in a nearby stream. If we take off our shoes we can feel the ground beneath our bare feet.
We don’t need anyone else to tell us about these things because we experience them ourselves. We perceive them first-hand and so they are real to us. But what if these apparently trivial moments are just the outward signs of a world that is far more wondrous than we perceive it to be? If we scratch below the surface, what else might we find?
Many years ago my uncle was taken to hospital with advanced terminal cancer. Since his retirement a few years earlier he had stayed mostly indoors, smoking incessantly as he watched the telly. Now his body was so riddled with disease that he could no longer rise from his armchair unaided.
However no sooner was my uncle in his hospital bed than he seemed to wake up, as if from a trance. When I visited him shortly after he was admitted I was struck by the change in him. He told me that he was concentrating all his energies, all his thoughts, on recovering and leaving the hospital. He said that he could allow nothing to distract him from his goal, even eating and sleeping. So my uncle lay in bed all day, refusing food and staying awake – willing himself to get better.
At first his strategy seemed to be working. Instead of the few days that the hospital authorities expected he would last, my uncle was still there after nearly a month. By then he was skin and bone, but his eyes glowed fiercely in his head. Then one day when I went to see him his condition had deteriorated considerably. His voice was husky and barely audible. His eyes were dull. The spark was gone. A day or two later he was dead.
What caused this rapid change?
Apparently a doctor came to see him the day before my last visit. She told him that he was dying of cancer, that they could do nothing to save him. She was a qualified medic and spoke with authority. He decided that she must be right. So he gave up the battle and succumbed to the cancer. Would he have recovered if that doctor had not spoken to him as she did? Probably not, but could he have recovered?
That is the great imponderable. We are told that the world works in a certain way and we believe what we are told. Yet, as my late uncle demonstrated, our faith in ourselves can be powerful. So what happens when our own instincts come up against an external authority? Which do we follow?
Of course we can research a topic to see whether or not our instincts have merit. However research takes time, and interest, and some level of expertise. My uncle certainly had the interest (he wanted to live!), but he did not have the time or the expertise.
For most of us the stakes are rarely as high as they were for my uncle. Perhaps we decide to purchase something very expensive, like a house or a car. Then we probably would do some research to make sure we don’t make a terrible mistake. Even then (if my own history is any judge) trust plays a big part in the final decision, whether it is trust in the estate agent or the salesman.
In day-to-day matters we rely on experts to tell us what is true and what is not. We can’t research or investigate everything for ourselves, can we? Is President Biden really in charge of the US government? Did Neil Armstrong actually walk on the moon? We have been told that these things are true, and everyone else seems to believe them, so we probably do too.
Of course these external bits of news have no direct impact on us. If we never heard of Biden or Armstrong our lives would hardly be disturbed. Those intimate personal experiences are different however, whether it is hearing a blackbird singing in the garden or seeing a seal bob to the surface near the seashore. We perceive these moments as real without any second-guessing or even thought.
But is there more?
To go back to my earlier question, what if such sights and sounds are not merely random incidents? Is it conceivable that they are signs of nature calling to us from afar - even flirting with us?
This sounds daft I know, but as Shakespeare wrote a long time ago
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Perhaps it is easier to think of my idea as a thought experiment, or an exotic hypothesis, which might be true. If so, what if we responded to nature’s call, or what we imagine to be nature’s call? How should we respond? What then?
The question is not as fanciful as it seems. After all, we live in turbulent times where the outlandish is becoming commonplace. The answer to my question could determine where, and in whom, we choose to place our faith in the future.
The Great Reset offers humanity a way to continue to participate in the world that money has built around us: the world of technology, of medicine, of stuff. The price is high though. We would have to allow those who have designed and are implementing the Great Reset to access our innermost thoughts and feelings. In return for convenience and safety, we would be surrendering our personal autonomy.
The alternative is unthinkable, though, isn’t it: a return to the primitive barbarity that economist Adam Smith warned us about in the 18th century? (You can read my thoughts on Smith here.) But is that the only alternative? Or is it the only alternative the architects of the Great Reset want us to consider?
Over the last year-and-a-half of writing these musings, I have examined a diverse range of people: Jean-Paul Sartre, James Joyce, Étienne Cabet, Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Charlotte Brontë, etc. My interest in these figures was probably sparked by a desire to learn the answer to the question I posed above, “What then?” Some of those I looked at, like Hans Christian Andersen and D. H. Lawrence, came close to providing that answer. Closest of them all I think was George Orwell, whom I am convinced really was “the saint of common decency”.
Yet none of them, not even Orwell, answered the question to my satisfaction. None of them revealed the genuine ‘painting’ of which the Great Reset is a “silly counterfeit”. None of them even confirmed the existence of a genuine ‘painting’ that the “long march” planners have been struggling to copy.
To extend the metaphor, I believe that authentic ‘painting’ does exist, although it is kept well out of sight, as if behind a locked door. However we have the key to that door.
Our faith - if we can redirect it.
More to follow.
Thanks for reading History In The Making! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
J. M. & M. J. Cohen, The new Penguin dictionary of quotations (London 1998), p. 349.
Guardian, 7 Jun 2003.
Brilliant ! Faith is what keeps us going when our tank is empty. Imparadised, I am in the paradise of Communism, in the Nicaraguan jungle.