Tomorrow Britain votes in what could be the most fundamentally life-changing referendum in the history of the world. Is this mere hyperbole, exaggeration to grab your attention? No, in one sense, the decision will impact not just on the citizens of the UK, but on those of the entire EU and, by broader implication, the entire universe. It sounds like it could be the stuff of a Marvel comic strip. Superheros on either side of the debate… The great and the good pitted against the forces of darkness…
The wording of the referendum backs up an almost childish clarity: In or Out. It couldn’t be simpler.
Of course, in reality things aren’t quite this black and white. No Luke Skywalker. Not even a Darth Vader or evil empire against which to direct our resistance and rotten tomatoes. This lack of clear moral poles applies not only to the political arena but also to the intellectual and spiritual consciousness underlying both the Remain and Leave camps.
Especially in spiritual circles, it’s been common in recent years to search for deeper meaning behind events taking place in the dimension of mundane politics. There has been an increasingly deep, heart-felt need to find signs that the materialistic, godless world of consumer society is crumbling, that the current world order based on profit, exploitation, fear and greed cannot sustain itself.
In the end, of course, it cannot. No system based on the premise of infinite growth in a world of finite resources can sustain itself forever. And as we all know, the world is certainly reaching breaking point in this respect. This also happens to coincide with the culmination of the last five hundred years of capitalism, as we reach the point where only the great sharks of the economic seas remain, having gorged themselves on all the smaller fish. Within a few years, only behemoth monopolies will survive and the entire capitalist system will have devoured itself, ultimately collapsing in on itself like a black hole. This focal point in time itself also happens to have coincided with such a viral spread of technology that we are now literally all ‘linked in’ to one another across the globe. If only via the internet, we are one. Even if this is just a case of ‘virtual’ spirituality – as opposed to a direct experience of your true, deeper self – it nevertheless strengthens the yearning to find inner meaning. Just think, for instance, of the spiritual mood back in 2012.
And so, when major socio-political events like tomorrow’s referendum roll around, it’s only natural for people to jump at the opportunity to search for and find the signs they are looking for: that real change is just around the corner. No wonder! Referendums are decided for the people and by the people, as opposed to the more traditional process of decrees issued from on high – and real change can begin only when it takes place on a grass-roots level. Tomorrow, we the people do have a chance to speak from our hearts and vote down the technocrats. Surely that’s a good thing. More importantly, however, a decision in favour of Brexit would mean literally the first time in world history that the people of a nation make a conscious decision to turn away from the centuries-strong tide of globalisation and centralisation which has already led to the Sixth Mass Extinction and the near destruction of Mother Earth. It would also likely strengthen the movements for similar referendums across Europe, which could lead to the implosion of Brussels’ Death Star, with victory for Luke Skywalker and his band of happy rebels. The world would begin a process of healing, of gradually returning to its pre-fall state of natural paradise, and we’d all live happily ever after…
Wouldn’t that be a good thing too?
Of course it would. But, as we all know, things tend not to be as simple as In or Out.
It makes me think of the underlying spiritual mood during the five years or so leading up to 2012. An almost naïve optimism carried us happily forward towards the beginning of a New Age. (I can almost hear the song ‘Aquarius’ from the movie Hair, even if it does belong to a previous era.) Perhaps back then we really could have fixed the whole world with a simple referendum… As it was, the most decisive socio-economic factor in generations – the crash of 2008 and the prolonged recession which followed – was itself a powerful harbinger of spiritual growth: a sign of the imminent collapse of the global banking system, a catalyst for increased consciousness of ‘peak oil’ and, surely, the imminent demise of a society based on fossil fuels. Yes, we had to face the harsh reality of our economic karma, but it was all for the good, all for the cause of love and light. Wasn’t it?
And then 2012 came and went.
There were those who proclaimed the New Age had arrived, that we were already living happily ever after. But the reality was and continues to be that nothing much has actually changed. Neither politico-economically nor spiritually. The development of fracking slowly flushed out the need to worry about peak oil. The cynical financial forces driving our debt-based society fiddled the numbers until they got it more or less right again. Economically, the ‘new normal’ was just a slightly greyer continuation of the old. And as the old world order began to re-establish itself, as economic output began ever so gradually to pick up, so the momentum for spiritual change began to ebb in parallel. In not actively making a choice for change, a choice was nevertheless implicitly made. To be brutally honest, the scintillating love and light we were all bathing in began to fade, growing greyer, until – quite simply – the light was lost. People returned to their jobs, their mortgages, their holidays as if nothing had happened. Party over.
If only tomorrow’s referendum offered the potential to set things straight. If only it really were black and white. If only a vote for Brexit could mean an end to the Death Star and the beginning of a new world in which love replaced fear, in which respect for Mother Earth replaced rape and pillage, in which we had the courage to make real-life, 3D decisions based on the inner needs of our heart instead of our pocketbooks. If only tomorrow’s referendum could offer that!
The fact is, though, that if tomorrow the people decide for a Brexit, it isn’t going to happen based on the voice of 50 million open hearts courageously refusing to continue the madness of a globalised Matrix. No, the vast majority of people voting for Brexit are themselves voting out of fear: fear of losing national identity, fear of losing jobs, fear of immigrants, fear of other races and religions. And all that fear is driven by the feeling of inner isolation, by the disconnection from deeper self. Love simply does not enter the equation.
In fact, you could argue that – in purely spiritual terms – Brexit actually represents a step backwards. What kind of a world do the Leave campaigners envisage? One in which Britain gets its cake through a free trade deal with Europe and then eats it too. One in which Britain, as one of the wealthiest nations in the EU, no longer has to contribute to the support of its poorer neighbours. One in which Britain takes but no longer gives. Yes, through subsidies from rich countries like Britain, Brussels redistributes the wealth of the EU’s member states, but in raw economic terms, Britain still extracts more profit in terms of its companies’ foreign investment in and the exploitation of poorer nations’ economies than it ever gives in terms of subsidies. It’s just a kinder, gentler economic colonialization than the one backed militarily through the British empire in previous centuries.
Not only does Brussels help to ameliorate the brutal capitalist tendencies which have ‘made Britain great’ over the last five hundred years, it also has a more humanistic attitude towards the environment, the preservation of natural resources and Mother Earth in general. To give just one example, a Brexit will mean a move back towards the American model in which big business more freely dictates which pesticides, which chemicals, which GMO crops poison you. Why? Because Britain is a nation of big businesses. It’s obvious.
An overprotective, overly centralised nanny-state run by unaccountable technocrats or a free, cut-throat society based on the rule of money: this is the real choice we face tomorrow.
If you ask me, it isn’t much of a choice at all.
If you ask me, the age of en masse spiritual development is over. Higher spiritual consciousness by referendum is never going to happen. I do feel that the universe presented global human society with a certain openness to change and evolution in the period around 2012. I felt it in my own consciousness, through my own spiritual experiences, as well as in the field around me. But since then, to borrow the words of Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, a ‘darkening of the light’ has slowly descended over our society as a whole, like a dimming fog of forgetfulness. Turning away from our hearts, we simply continued on with the same meaningless jobs, we continued paying back our mortgages, all the while implicitly preserving the world financial order and consuming newly fracked oil. As if nothing had happened. Because on a societal level, nothing did happen. A gate opened. And then it closed again.
I know that spiritually this isn’t a very politically-correct attitude. But the kind of naïve optimism which some people are still living in is only an escape, a fantasy island where we don’t have to face our demons and fears. Because there are demons and fears out there and in us. As the failed, outside world continues to diverge from our spiritual needs – regardless of the spiritually irrelevant outcome of tomorrow’s vote – we will have to face those fears with increasing honesty in order to continue hearing the voice of our heart.
If you ask me, the current globalised world order will eventually begin to fracture – but not because of any democratic process or election. Simply, the way things are will become increasingly untenable. And when it does happen, we face a choice – not in terms of society as a whole, but with our own individual hearts. Will we live according to fear? Will we act according to the ego and its raw survival instinct? Or will we live according to our deepest inner soul-voice? We do have a choice. But there will be no brave new world to look forward to, no societal momentum to carry is through on days when we feel tired and weak. (Nor will the nanny-state survive to continue giving hand-outs.) The momentum will have to come from within each and every one of us. It will be up to us, alone, to discover that we really are all one.
It won’t be easy, but it isn’t impossible.
And for that, the only ballot box we need is our heart.