Episode:Civilization—Early Development (Part 3)
Probably the greatest single factor in the evolution of human society was the ghost dream, which terrorized early men, driving them into each other’s arms for mutual protection against the vague and unseen imaginary dangers of the spirit world. Hunger and love also drove them together, but vanity and ghost fear held them together.
Keywords: Urantia, Habits, Customs, Folkways, Mores
Summary by Kermit
Commentary on Review
We briefly revisited implications of the revelators’ use of the terms society and culture, those being the association of the term culture with the influence of the 6th adjutant and the term society linked to the social impulse of the 5th adjutant.
We also extended our consideration of the terms progress and growth. A progressing phenomenon or sequence can be thought of as development. Recall that we can have an awareness of progressing (development). The holistic, transcendent and unconscious phenomenon of perfecting suggests use of the term growth. Note in our thinking and the expressions of others, the instances of calling a process of sequence growth, when it is more correctly referred to as development and how it potentially leads to a false sense of satisfaction in our cosmic journey. Here we are challenged to trust in the vast domain beyond our immediate awareness wherein genuine growth takes place. Also, we reiterated the distinction between our actions in supplying favorable conditions for growth, and our inability to cause growth directly through our own efforts, while recalling the examples of such favorable conditions as loyalty, sincerity, humility, and patience.
In response to dialogue in the chat room concerning the oft referred to civilizational emergency, we emphasized that our job as loyal, sincere, humble, and patient cosmic citizens is to consecrate our efforts and subsequent movements toward progress in the arena of the inner life towards the goal of self-mastery. Begin with yourself and the collective will take care of itself.
68:3. Socializing Influence of Ghost Fear
As previously established, the biological drives for food, security, and sex produced original society, ghost fear held it together and added an extrahuman dimension to it. Thus garden-variety fear, physiological in origin, became extended to a new and sublime sort of terror. In upstepping the unity consciousness the ghost dream became the greatest single factor in the evolution of human society moving it forward towards culture. [86:4.1, p. 952] provides a particularly colorful description of the ghost dream in relation to the evolution of religion.
The early cult of ghost fear with its powerful social bond represents the earliest beginnings of mankind’s striving for the attainment of spirituality. Thus began the preparation of the minds of men for the discovery of “the fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom.” Most interestingly, Jesus in his instruction of the apostles regarding “the fear of the Lord” in Paper 149 articulates an application of the levels of meaning which were definitively introduced and illustrated in Paper 147. He clearly states that he finds their relations to the Lord functioning on the 2nd LoM (reverence), and declares his intention to lead them up through recognition, realization, and appreciation to love (at the 6th LoM). It is truly sad to record that even in light of our relatively new and more solid relation to facts, remnants of senseless superstition persist in institutional form in current day religious beliefs. Listen to the archive for a discussion of the nuances of the levels of meaning and as applied to genuine love of the Lord.
Our author points out that the influences bringing early man into group association—hunger, sex, vanity, and fear—conspire to plunge mankind into war and bloodshed due to the natural strain of the suspicions and irritations of human interrassociations, but for the influence of peace-promoting revelations. Specific examples of this dynamic abound today and in recent history. The 5th ER reminds us that on a more normal world a Paradise Bestowal Son arrives to inaugurate actual peace on earth. Of course, Jesus only inaugurated the potentiality of peace on earth, which is why he promised to return.
68:4. Evolution of the Mores
All of the institutions of present-day human society take origin in the evolution of the mores beginning with individual habits and moving up through group customs into folkways. Our discussion concerning the analogous parallel to the successive human association from the individual, clan, tribe, nation, and finally to territorial state is worth re-visiting in the archive. This evolutionary sequence to folkways (tribal traditions) is unconscious. Folkways are more rooted in biology, closely linked to genetics, whereas with the emergence of mores comes a more direct and objective recognition concerning the general welfare.
Ghost fear compelled man to envision the supernatural, laying the foundation for ethics and religion, which in turn preserved the mores and customs of society. We commented about the linguistic parallel construction of our author linking mores to ethics and customs to religion. The belief that the dead were capable and motivated to visit punishment on those members of society who dared to violate the rules of living of the ancestors early established and crystallized the mores, notwithstanding that advancing civilization increasingly liberates mankind form the bondage of fear and slavery of superstition.
Before the times of the civilizational uplifters ancient man was hardly more than a fancy animal, enslaved by ritual of the mores and exhibiting none of the freedom, spontaneity or originality characteristic of genuine human activity. Natural progress toward higher mental, moral, or social development was nonexistent. Primitive man was kept in bondage by custom and convention but for the sporadic appearance of atypical individuals who dared to introduce new ways of thinking and better methods of living. Yet it is this inertia of primitive man that serves as a biologic safety brake against the precipitous maladjustment of a too rapidly advancing civilization. All of which brings us to the predicament we face today. With the quickening spirit ministries of the Spirit of Truth and universal bestowal of Thought Adjusters we have the means to transcend these biologic restraints and advance much more rapidly than in ages past. But, without the external and visible guidance of authoritative planetary leadership or the internal self-mastery consequent upon supplying favorable conditions for growth we face the exigencies of over rapid change. We are therefore admonished to forsake attempts at wholesale modification of customs and traditions through radical revolution, and foster progressive evolution of societies’ mores wherein time and circumstances select those groups embracing the better ideas and modes of living. It was pointed out that this process of social evolution has drawn fire from recent and contemporary material idealists under the label of social Darwinism.
Concerning evolution and revolution we briefly discussed the women suffrage movement and suggested that was an example of punctuated evolution as opposed to radical revolution.