Hello to all… today it will be no question of physics equations at all. I want to contemplate a subject which is really burning my heart, a subject which is for me at the heart of the future evolution of mankind. How to socially re-unite Science and Spirit ? what would be needed to be done so that, at a social level, scientifically minded people can relate to Spirit in this world and reciprocally, Spiritual communities can take Reason with them ?
This question is bothering me for a very long time. As a spiritual scientist, it is obvious to me that Spirit exists and that the cosmos has an interior as well as an exterior. I believe that the only thing needed to provoke a complete change of paradigm into the scientific community is simply to convince scientists of the very existence of Spirit. Is the practice of meditation enough do the job, then ? Suppose that scientists start to meditate a lot, say two hours a day, then they would see with their own eyes that the world of Spirit exists. Mystics, like Science is foremost experiential. Just do the experience of mediation a sufficient amount of times and you will be convinced of the very existence of Spirit.
So… why doesn’t it work ? why don’t scientists massively switch towards the paradigm of the absolute reality of Spirit ?
That is where things seem to becomes problematic … I started to ask myself precisely the opposite question. How about the spiritual groups around me ? why are they usually so unimpressive to the materialistic world, and to scientists in particular ? why do somehow for materialists, they barely make the headlines ?
On the sociological level, the situation seems to be that the scientific world doesn’t really take seriously any spiritual organization. Why is that ?
After contemplating this question for a while (say, a few years ?)… forget me, my spiritual readers, but I found (to my surprise !) that scientists do have a point. A very important and good point that I want to address in this blog : namely, all the spiritual organizations I have met so far, are functioning on a very primitive level of evolution. Their mode of functioning is either archaic-magical, or mythical-hierarchic. I don’t talk here about the message of those groups, or the degree of enlightenment and wisdom of their leaders, which can be really great… I talk simply about the way they are organized, about the structure itself on which they are relying to function in this world at this special time in history. In terms of integral theory , we are dealing with the systemic organization of the group- namely the lower right quadrant of the Integral map. My claim here is that this quadrant is for most spiritual organizations, pre-modern, pre-rational.
Does it have to be that way ? does spirituality have to be trapped in structures that are “passé”, that are pre-modern in their organization, that rely on complete obedience to another person’s wisdom rather than on one’s own Reason ? does the reliance on Reason systematically kills Spirit or is there a way to include, to respect Reason in the organization of a spiritual group ?
My answer to all these questions is that, yes !, there is a way to take Reason with us, at the social level of a spiritual community, without denying the supremacy of Spirit. This way is well-known to us in a political context :
let’s build a modern Constitution, leading to a new kind of Spiritual Republic…. like our great ancestors did for building the rules of living together at the time of modernity.
Am I going crazy ?Let’s assume for one moment that I am right, that the structure of no spiritual group has yet passed the modern stage of development;
What then would a Spiritual Constitution look like, a text formalizing the structural organization of the Spiritual communities of the future ?
At this stage in this post, I will rely heavily on the work of one mystical philosopher, a prodigious genius in her own right : the young French Jewish philosopher Simone Weil. You can see her on the picture on the left; she had a tragic destiny, died at the young age of 33 during the second World War. The text I want to use is quite well-known in France, but maybe not as well abroad. It is called The Need for Roots: prelude towards a declaration of duties towards mankind. Let’s put a bit of context here. It is 1942, Simone is in exile in London with the Free French Resistance Movement. The period is atrocious on many accounts, for the Jew she is, for the French she is. It is during these very dark days that the special advisor to the general de Gaulle will ask her to write a monograph for a New Constitution for France after the liberation. Being who she was, she didn’t write “for France” but … for mankind. She didn’t only write a Political Constitution, but the first Spiritual One. She wrote the first attempt at a Constitution protecting the needs and duties of the Human Soul. She died a few months afterwards. For the France of after the liberation, it was too much, and the text was never used. It is my belief that the first Spiritual Group who will make good use of a text like this one, will have made a really important step in order to re-unite Spirituality and Modernity.
Introduction : Universal Needs and Universal Duties
Here was my fist shock when I started to read this text. Simone doesn’t talk about the rights of the Soul, but about its Needs and Duties. How about “my rights”? I was asking myself ? she explains that the Soul has no Rights, never. Only Needs and Duties. The good point she makes is that Rights are always relative, relative to a certain context, to a certain condition, to a certain relationship. Needs and Duties, on the contrary, are Universal. They characterize the human species “in toto”, without referring to a specific context, to a specific condition or time, or to a specific relationship. Needs and Duties go together. She explains that to every Need of the Soul corresponds a Duty that the Soul has to fulfill toward other members of the community. If there were no Universal Needs there would be no Universal Duties. This realization was already a shock for me; can it be possible that the Soul has Needs and Duties , and that we could simply enunciate them?
The Three Major Needs
Simone identifies three major needs of the Soul. And then she will get six others, coupled two by two, in pairs of opposites. It is familiar to us that we have some needs of the body. Like the body needs heat, food, shelter… In the realm of the physical body it is easy to see the difference between needs and whims. For example the body needs food; it doesn’t need “pasta or ice cream”. It needs shelter; it doesn’t need a thousand acres estate to live a lavish life. Simone Weil tells us that the same goes for the Soul. The Soul has special needs, which, if they are not fulfilled, are making it sick. A simple way to recognize a Soul need, to be sure to identify it compared to a whim of the Ego, it that needs are limited, both in number and in quantity. Whims are unlimited. Simple example : you give bread to a human being, after a while it will be enough of it. Same goes of the Soul, Simone says. The basic sanity of our Soul life relies on limited Needs. Well… to me the fact that needs are limited is a good news, since then it is easier to identify them and to use this knowledge to build the Good Society of the Future.
So…. the three major needs of the Soul are ( take your guess before reading !)
3. Need for Roots
before going in details into these three needs (notice, however, that Simone is really a Platonician philosopher : Plato’s Big Three are already present in those three fundamental needs) let me enunciate the six other couples of needs, going two by two as pairs of opposites.
* Freedom / Obedience
*Equality / Hierarchy
*Honor / Punishment
*Freedom of Thought / Responsibility
*Security / Risk
*Private property / Collective property
That is all, for Simone. I must state that I personally would put another need to the fundamental Big Three : the need to Evolve, or the Need for the New. I feel that “The New” shall become the fourth Platonic Big, the one forgotten at the time of Plato, but this is another story.
In the following I will go over all those needs in more detail. I make the cautionary note here that what follows is my interpretation, thus I urge the interested reader to go back to the original text if he/she (it ?) finds that I am not correct, or that I say something phony….
Order is the most fundamental Need of the human Soul, the closest to its eternal destiny, according to Simone. She compares the Soul to a crystal, with its regular arrangements of atoms in space. It is Order which makes compatible the various obligations that the Soul encounters in its journey on earth. Inside society, each human Soul is the subject of a considerable amount of obligations. The Soul necessarily suffers when it has to neglect an obligation in order to fulfill another one. On can understand Order as the Coherence of a society. The degree of disorder of a society can be measured to the number of incompatible obligations that the human Soul is submitted to. But it is not because one has to neglect one eternal obligation in order to fulfill another one that one is guilty. The Soul is guilty only if, in order to simplify problems, it denies the existence of certain obligations. In that case, and in that case only, the Soul has concluded an alliance with crime. In Plato’s Philosophy, Order can be identified with “the Beautiful”. In Ken Wilber’s four quadrants it will be the upper left, the “I”. In the Enneagram, it is the fundamental energy, corresponding to numero 9. Simone, as a good Platonic philosopher, is ranking the Needs of the Human Soul choosing Order as the first of all. Pretty good for me; with Plato on board, we are heading in a good direction….
Truth… this is a second “Platonic Big”. The Soul needs Truth. It looks like something we always knew deep inside us, but which is always New every time we hear about it ! Rudolf Steiner used to say that if even the mind is not clear, if one doesn’t see very well ahead, if the Truth is not apparent to us, simply the knowing, deep down, in our deepest interiors, that Truth exists, is already a salvation for the Soul. This second Platonic Big can also be identified with the right hand quadrant in Ken Wilber’s integral map, and the second energy of the Enneagram (numero 6, the energy of “ the head”) . For Simone, it is the most sacred of all the needs. And indeed, Truth has some very special connection Sacredness, as any good Spiritual Teacher will tell us. “Truth is solid, one can rely on it says A. Cohen. Simone adds some very important insights here. Above anything, with Truth, one needs to learn how to Love it. Love for the Truth is the very important pre-requisite of the protection of this need of the human Soul. In societies where the people don’t love Truth, there is no hope that the need for the Truth is respected. She says : “ There is no way to satisfy in the people the need for Truth if you can’t find people who already love Truth”. Truth, for Simone, is before anything factual. Facts. Having our facts correct, accepting to recognize that one is wrong when one is factually wrong… these simple scientific qualities are the basis of the love for Truth, but to me it has to be extended to realms other than Science as well. For example, what a relief would it be when spiritual teachers will be commonly allowed to publicly acknowledge when they are wrong. At the moment, the whole system is lacking this very simple form of love for the Truth and humility, because we believe that a spiritual teacher who would say “sorry I made a mistake” would not be perfect anymore and thus deprive us of our Idealization of him/ her. Well, on the contrary I feel he /she would be even more powerful. The same goes for the politicians. the “Sorry I made a mistake ” seems to be at the moment fully reserved to scientists, and even there, it is not as it used to be. So much for Truth, it is in perdition in our society, and in great need of being saved and protected by for example…. a Spiritual Constitution…!
3. The Need for Roots
This need is the most unknown of all the human needs, and the most dis-respected, Simone tells us. For Simone a human community of any kind, is sacred in the sense that it contains some nutrients for the human Soul. The human Soul needs to be fed through interacting in a human community. Hence the destruction of any form of culture, of any form of living human association is… a crime. This is a strong statement, it leaves us dreaming about the last century… how many times communities of men an women, cultures have been destroyed by the strongest and the fittest in the history of the last century? Do we really think of it as a crime ? She writes extremely convincingly and beautifully about it. Let’s listen to her words for a while : “From its duration, the collectivity is already penetrating into the future. It (the collectivity) contains some food, not only for the Soul of the living but for the Soul of the yet unborn beings that will come to be born in the future. From its duration as well, the Collectivity has its roots in the past. It constitutes the unique organ of conservation of spiritual treasures of the past…” To me the need for roots is connected to the third Platonic Big : “ the Good”. It is the lower left quadrant of KW integral’s philosophy, and it corresponds to the third energy of the Enneagram, also labelled “numero 3”. It is an energy of connection at the level of the Soul, that many Shamanic teachings often emphasize.
The Twelve Paradoxical Needs
It is maybe my favorite part of this text by Simone Weil, and I didn’t find anywhere else such an exposition of the twelve paradoxical needs. Maybe I am missing some ancient sacred texts, and Simone ‘s erudition was for sure much bigger than mine. But at the moment, I consider her thinking as a purely original work, and I want to share it with you. The beauty of her exposition of the twelve needs lies in that they are coupled two by two in paradoxical couples. In this way they constitute a reflexion of non duality inherent in everything. The ability of the human mind to access and deal with a high level of paradox without collapsing is, to me, a pre-requisite of very developed thinking. In the Integral context I would claim it is called Vision-Logic level of evolution to Subtle level of evolution. It is basically as far as thinking itself can go, before passing the flame to more etheric part of our Being. Let’s proceed then…
* Freedom / Obedience 
In the first meaning of the word, Freedom is defined as the freedom of choice. Freedom is necessarily limited by the rules of common life. The whole point of Simone is that if the rules are simple enough to be integrated by an average member of the community, to be understood once for all so that the mind doesn’t have to come back to them at every moment, then freedom, although limited in facts is total in consciousness. I like this way of putting things very much. The magics of this beautiful way of thinking is that from a set of basic rules, one can create a space which produces a total freedom in consciousness. I like to think of it in a very simple way; did it ever happen to you to be part of a community where things are going right ? there is indeed a few sets of rules, very good ones, that you don’ t need to be Einstein to understand. Then everyone is on the same page and we forget completely about the rules themselves. The Soul is Free, in Consciousness. Somehow freedom is not anymore a very unattainable state, but a simple space created by reasonable rules. Beautiful !
Now Obedience, is defined reciprocally. It is defined as an Assent of the Soul, a mutual Agreement of the Souls. To Simone, obedience is a viewed as very inalterable part of human nature : namely we always obey to some principle or another. A soul which would completely disobey would be the soul of a Tyran. She gives the example of Calligula who had appointed his horse :“Prime Minister” . His motto was : “ Shall they hate me, as soon as they fear me”. We cannot stop to obey because if we disobey a law, it is always for us in virtue of another law which we consider superior to the first one. If we stop obeying any law we become crazy. Hence obedience is put at the heart of the sanity of the Soul. A very important point stressed by Simone is that “ it is absolutely necessary and shall be recognized by the leaders, that assent, mutual agreement, and not the fear of punishment or the desire for being gratified is the main drive for obedience, so that surrender is never subject to any trace of servility.” I believe this last sentence is very much of actuality, in any political or religious / spiritual group that exist in our time. The desire of being gratified and the fear of punishment are more often than never the rule on which obedience is based. A group which would succeed to transcend these two low motivations, would have made an enormous step forward for mankind. This leads us to the two next needs/obligations :
* Equality / Hierarchy 
Ah! the couple Equality/ Hierarchy… it is very much of actuality. Equality has been the motto of all the New Age spiritual groups. Hierarchy… is coming back ! Ok, let’s starts with equality then. Equality consists in the effective recognition, that has to be concretely expressed through institutions and habits, that the same quantity of care and respect is due to each and every human being, independently of all possible external circumstances or degree of evolution, simply because he/she is human. The inevitable differences between humans shall not in any circumstance affect the degree of respect that is due to the person. The healthy society has thus to find a certain combination, a certain balance between equality and inequality in order to preserve the absolute respect due to any human being in front of the inevitable inequalities. Such a balance is for example established when there is equality of the possibilities, equality of chances for advancement. Anyone can arrive to the top if he/she works enough. On the other hand, since there are only a limited amount of space at the top, anyone can and at some point will have to go down the scale. How about this for a spiritual group? … going up is a very nice perspective, but going down… who would like it ? That’s why, if the group functions only on this type of balance, the equilibrium is very precarious and stability is in peril. Less gross methods are in order. The first one is to introduce a degree of proportionality which would impose to every man some charges proportional to his/ her social position in the group. The more you are up in the hierarchy, the more, if you fail or make a mistake, you should have to suffer. Social ranking shall always play like an aggraving factor and not the opposite. An even better factor of equality is to consider that the differences between human beings don’t mean “more” or “better” but simply “different”. A physicist is different from a musician who is different from a spiritual teacher. Different vocations, that is all. Simone here gives the example of an army “with the right spirit”. In an army with the right spirit, the soldiers would be happy to be under the fire, and not at the headquarters, while the general would be happy and proud that the final decision relies on his thinking. The soldier would admire the general, who would in turn admire the soldier. That would imply for each human condition some marks of consideration that are specific and truthful.
Hierarchy now. Yes, hierarchy is a vital need of the human Soul. It is the expression of devotion and of a certain veneration due to superior people, not as persons, not because they have power, or powers, but simply as symbols of what is higher. Gosh, Simone here reaches a summit of depth and simplicity.
*Honor / Punishment 
Honor is a vital need of the human Soul because the respect due to every human being, even if it is effectively given is not enough for the Soul. In order, for example that the need for honor to be respected in the professional life, one shall require that to each profession corresponds a collectivity capable of keeping safe the memories and treasures of greatness, heroism, probity, generosity, genius that were given in the exercise of this profession. Socially, the oppression is characterized by the observation that social prestige is different for different professions; if you are a scientist for example, or a fisherman or a worker, you don’t get the same social prestige. The deprivation of honor is the deprivation of consideration, recognition to a whole category of human beings. Honor, to me, goes in pair with the desire for recognition. Paradoxically in our very narcissistic society, recognition is not given or too partially, not fully given for the accomplishments of other people. There is nothing wrong in looking for recognition for what one has done. More : it is an essential need of our human Soul. It is basically what Simone tells us here. And guess what, the problem we have with the lack of recognition is due to our issue with lack of… punishment.
Yes it becomes tougher and tougher. Punishment is also a universal need of the human Soul. Look we are all a little bit fools. We will all make mistakes from time to time, and it is always possible to commit crimes against the Human Soul. Punishment then, is almost a charity measure design to re-integrate the Soul into the community of humans. The human need for punishment is not satisfied when too much terror is playing between people. Punishment needs to be an honor designed to erase the shame of crime. The degree of impunity has to decrease while going down in the social scale and not the opposite. The question of the best way to avoid that at the very top a sort of conjuration establishes itself in order for the leaders to have impunity, is one of the most difficult problems to solve for any community. Maybe the best way is to have a few external observers which will make sure that the leaders have to answer of their acts. Those observers shall not be tempted to enter the conjuration of impunity as well. To my taste, most of spiritual groups have at the moment absolutely no way of fairly punishing their leader without for the leader to lose all authority. The leader icon, is put on a pedestal, but well … he/she is only human after all, and can and does make many mistakes in judgment over the time. Maybe this last rule of Simone is of absolute validity and actuality for spiritual leaders of our time.
Simone has even stronger words for leaders. She claims that any man who is placed for life at the head of any social organization, without enough criticism and feed back is … slowly becoming crazy. Simply crazy. Something to meditate especially for Gurus and absolute political leaders, I feel. The need for them to get feed back, one way or another, at any coast, is absolutely vital.
*Freedom of Thought / Responsibility 
Freedom of Thought is one fundamental need of the human Soul. Any type of opinion which arises in the Soul has the right to exist and to be expressed. There is a very great danger when this freedom is confiscated, as it is usually the case by group influence. The true vocation of a group, on the contrary shall be to encourage the liberty of thought, and the expression of opinions. Liberty of thought is so important because on it relies the capacity to develop intelligence. Without being opinionated one is not intelligent at all, and to have the freedom to explore various opinions before acting on a few, is of ultimate importance. Freedom of expression which is not intelligent is dangerous. On the other side, when people love the liberty of thought, then comes naturally to them the notion of responsibility. Initiative and responsibility, the need to feel useful to the group, or even essential, is a universal need of the human Soul. To be really committed, the individual has to be able to internalize the totality of the work of the community, even in areas that are not of his expertise. He has to make one with the goal of the group. For this to happen, each person has to know very well what is his or her role in the community, it has to be explained to him/her very clearly and in simple terms. If his role is not very clear to the Soul, then slavery is not far away, and the need to be responsible is not fulfilled.
Strong personalities will push the need for responsibility to a quite extreme need to be a leader. This need is perfectly valid and has to be fulfilled, maybe with some rotations so that all those strong Souls could be leaders at one moment or another in their career in the association.
*Security / Risk 
This is a really nice couple. I remember one Teaching of Spiritual teacher A. Cohen which summarizes this very well. About romantic relationships… he said that the key was “ sex and trust”. Ok… I agree this is a very american way of putting things but well, it does the job, no? Long live Ameeeeerica !
back to our Frenchy Simone. The idea is pretty much the same for her. The need for security means that the Soul shall not be crushed all the time under terror or fear. Security. Once this secure space is created, then every effort shall be devoted to take creative risks together. The total lack of risk generates a boredom which is deadly for the Soul and, which can in certain cases, generate terror as well. Hence this couple of security and risk is perfectly well functioning… together.
*Private property / Collective property 
This is our last one. Private property is a vital need of the human Soul in the sense that it feels isolated and ( totally) lost if it doesn’t find itself in an environment which is familiar. It can be an environment of things, ideas, or cultural habits, all those are object of consciousness that can be possessed by the Soul.
The need for collective property enables the Soul to fully integrate to the life of the community. In a sense, it is a very important need nowadays, because all idealistic and utopian groups will inevitably encounter this notion of full participation of their members. How to motivate all their members to be fully present to the goals and accomplishments of the community ? To recognize that our desire for collective participation to the public life if an essential need of the human Soul is a very important step for the creation of social links in the society of the future.
For those who followed me and Simone up to there , thank you ! I had especially in mind some spiritual groups while writing this post, because Simone’s constitution project, which was written for France, is not at all likely to be implemented in the next 5 years mandate of the further French president ! So, maybe, some inspired spiritual evolutionary leader could lead the way, and show us, for the first time in history, a healthy spiritual group, where people fear not, where leaders get feedback from the lower ranks, where hierarchy is implemented, and where all this is protected by…. a Constitution.
Last, during the course of writing this post, I noticed that the twelve paradoxical needs coupled two by two do correspond to the 6 remaining numbers of the Enneagram. Gurdjieff used dot say that the Enneagram is to be found everywhere … maybe the great Esoteric master got it right? So… I have put some tentative Enneagram numbers into brackets in front of the titles.You can give your opinion on this, since liberty of opinion is one of the fundamental Needs of the Soul….