Spiritual Imperative

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Lawrence Taub. The Spiritual Imperative: Sex, Age, and Caste Move the Future.

(was: The Spiritual Imperative: Sex, Age, and the Last Caste)

URL = http://www.spiritualimperative.com

Status update via Lawrence Taub: "The Spiritual Imperative: Sex, Age, and Caste Move the Future. The interview of me about the book is now on YouTube at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlzE507T5DA&feature=youtu.be "

Summary

By the author:

"Now to summarize. First, form: The book has eighteen chapters, divided into four parts. Part One explains the basics of the three models, discusses the main directions that the Sex and Age Models “say” are likely to happen in the future, and explains how the models are connected to each other. The rest of the book focuses on the Caste Model as the central axis, with the Sex and Age Models revolving around it.

Part Two explains what the past three caste ages (Spiritual-Religious Age No. 1, Warrior, and Merchant Ages) and the present Worker Age are/were all about.

Parts Three and Four, the book's second half, deal entirely with the future. Part Three foresees the most probable scenarios that will play out in the near future, the peak (final) stage of the Worker Age (until about the years 2030 – 2040), while Part Four outlines the likely scenarios of the distant future, mainly the second half of this century (the Second Spiritual-Religious Age).

Age and Sex

Now content: The Age Model is based on the old idea that history evolves through stages of spiritual development that parallel the stages (the life cycle) of a single individual. That is, human history began with an Age of Birth, followed by an Age of Infancy, an Age of Early Childhood, etc. According to this model, though individual people, countries, or cultures may be “older” or “younger”, the “average” spiritual/maturity level of the human race as a whole is about 19 years old.

Like those of the other two models, the core idea of the Age Model is not new. Its origins are not known (please correct me if I am wrong). But Pascal is said to have stated it back in the 17th century. The evolution theorist Ernst Haeckel’s “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” is a biological version of it. Freud refers to it in Totem and Taboo, and it is the underlying premise for Ken Wilber’s thought and works.

The Age Model is a simple statement of this idea, which divides history into six or seven easily explainable developmental stages, and answers at least two major questions about the future: How will religion evolve and what are the chances of the human race surviving its self-destructive urge?

The Sex Model (you could call it the “feminist” model, though it is based on key concepts of Chinese philosophy) divides history and the future into three ages of human “sexual” development. The first was the Yin Age of the basically prehistoric past, when humanity lived according to the female principle. The second was the Yang Age, covering most of recorded history until virtually today, when humanity shifted over to a world view in tune with the male principle.

The third age is the Androgynous Age. Although its beginnings date back some 50 years, it is the future, when humanity recaptures key lost “female” elements that the Yang Age repressed or “forgot,” to achieve a balance between the female and male principles.

This Sex Model is clearly dialectical: a Yin Age (thesis); followed by its opposite, a Yang Age (antithesis); ending in an Androgynous Age (synthesis of yin and yang). Like the other two models of the book, it dates back to 1975.

Different versions of the model’s core idea have appeared in the past. The first I am aware of is that of Shulamith Firestone, co-founder of the radical feminist movement. Her version appears as a chart at the end of her classic work, The Dialectic of Sex (1970). She uses this chart to foresee how the resurgence of feminism is likely to affect the future in a very positive way. Like the Sex Model, her version is dialectical, and the two are in agreement.

The second version I know of is that of Amaury de Riencourt, in his book, Sex and Power in History (1974). I would call it an anti-feminist version of the Sex Model’s core idea, said to be written as an alarmed reaction to the rise of women and the growing influence of feminism. I consider his narration of the past, the Yin Age and the Yang Age, excellent, but the Sex Model disagrees with his view of the future: He sees the future, third, age not as an Androgynous Age, but as a Yin Age, a return to the female principle. So he sees history as fluctuating – from yin to yang, then back to yin, then back to yang, endlessly perhaps – rather than as a dialectical process. And so in his third age, women “take over” and create more human havoc than what male-supremacy did during the Yang Age. That might be true if it were to occur, but I doubt it will.

More recently (1987), our WFSF colleague, Riane Eisler, published her amazing The Chalice and the Blade, which also has a core idea like that of the Sex Model. Her macrohistory calls the Yin Age the Partnership Society, and the following Yang Age that “overthrew” it the male-dominated Dominator Society, covering all of recorded history until now. And Eisler is an activist working to bring about the “third age,” the Partnership Society, when the female principle will return to prominence.

De Riencourt’s and Eisler’s models seem to resemble each other in depicting the past – the first two ages – and in seeing history as a fluctuation (from yin to yang and back to yin) rather than as a dialectic. In that they differ from Firestone’s model and the Sex Model. But they come to completely opposite conclusions about the future: De Riencourt sees the future resurgence of the female principle as a menace to humanity, while Eisler, like Firestone and the Sex Model, sees it as the only way to prevent the human race from destroying itself.

My lone criticism of Eisler’s model is that she seems to see the male principle as all bad, to be discarded in the future Partnership Society, and the female principle as all good, and so hopefully the dominant, if not sole, principle of that coming age. I thus get the impression that she envisions the New Age not as an Androgynous Age, with the male and female principles in balance and equally important, but as a purely Yin Age. A society that totally suppresses the yang, the male principle, I feel, far from being a Partnership Society, could steer us toward a totalitarian matriarchy, another Dominator Society, but ruled by “Jewish mothers” instead of “Jewish fathers” (patriarchs).

The Sex Model foresees a wide-ranging future scenario, connected with holism, animal rights, synthetic thinking, ecology and environmental issues, class structure and male supremacy, networking, the meeting of the twain of East and West, gay issues, and a new sense of time, neither linear nor cyclical. Perhaps most important of all, it foresees the coming predominant role of women in politics and business and a merger of traditional male and female sexuality and styles of love and intimacy.

History as a History of Caste Struggle

The Caste Model is based on, but is different from, the Hindu philosophy of history and caste. Like that Hindu core idea, the Model classifies people into four broad, generic types, or “varnas,” a word that literally means “color” but usually translates into English as “caste.” The four castes are (1) the brahmans, let’s call them “seekers,” or religious- or spriritually-oriented people; (2) the kshattriya, the warriors; (3) the vaishva, the merchants; and (4) the shudra, the workers.

Every individual has features of all four castes, but the features of one predominate. That is the caste the individual “belongs” to.

The history part of the core Hindu idea says that the four castes take turns “ruling” the world, in the above order. The Caste Model adopts this basic core idea of caste and history, saying that history starts out, therefore, with a Spiritual-Religious Age, followed by a Warrior Age, then a Merchant Age, then a Worker Age, then sort of reverts to a second Spiritual-Religious Age, which is the end of human history, so to speak, and the beginning of a post-human or superhuman stage, which is humanity evolved into a higher species.

For convenience, the Caste Model calls the first spiritual-religious age Spiritual-Religious Age No. 1, the transition from animal proper to human, and the second, end-of-history one, as Spiritual-Religious Age No. 2.

According to the Caste Model, this switching from age to age happens because each caste takes power from the preceding one through “caste struggle.” Here’s where the Marxist macrohistory is a little off: History evolves, not through “class struggle,” but through “caste struggle.”

Defining “caste” is a little hard. Let’s say, simply, that it’s a group with common socio-economic roles, goals, and worldview – a particular standpoint on the meaning and purpose of life. The phrase “rules the world” needs defining as well. Simply, during the Age that a particular caste “rules the world,” it means, first, that the leading, most powerful members of the ruling caste are the world’s main ruling elite. For example, during the Warrior Age, the ancient and medieval worlds, the ruling elite were the kings, emperors, top generals, nobility. During the Merchant Age, it was the top businesspeople, entrepreneurs, financiers, and industrialists.

Second, a caste “rules the world” in the Age when its value system and worldview are the dominant ones in the world. For instance: fighting, weapons, machismo, and heroism during the Warrior Age; money and possessions during the Merchant Age (17th to 20th centuries); work, company, and professional and managerial skills during the Worker Age (20th century, now and for the next 30 years).

Third, a caste “rules the world” during the Age when its tools, skills, acts, organizations, and institutions are the ones that most develop and flourish.

A close look at history also shows various age patterns. One is that each age has at least three distinct stages. The first is the pioneering stage, when the caste is getting organized to resist the “oppression” of the previous caste in power. That “pioneering,” rising caste doesn’t rule anywhere yet.

The second stage is the revolutionary-evolutionary stage. The rising caste takes power through revolution, usually violent. These revolutions almost always break out in countries and regions far from the “great powers” (the First World) from where the ruling caste rules. Yet at the same time the rising caste evolves, non-violently, to power even in those latter “first world” countries.

And the third is the rising caste’s peak stage, when it actually rules the world and becomes the First World – and is ripe for falling, to be replaced by the next caste in line.

This leads to three important conclusions: (1) Since the castes are in struggle, the ages overlap. Example: The 20th century was the peak stage of the Merchant Age, the revolutionary-evolutionary stage of the Worker Age, and the pioneering stage of the now-rising spiritual-religious caste. (2) The ages get shorter and shorter. (3) The Caste Model explains why great powers rose and fell in the past and foresees which countries, cultures, and regions will rise and fall in the future.

Outcastes and Cycles

People make three invalid “knee-jerk” assumptions when they encounter the Caste Model. The first is that the Caste Model and the Hindu core idea, the Hindu philosophy of the castes and the ages on which it is based, are identical. The second is that the Caste Model has something to do with India’s CASTE SYSTEM, and so they always ask where the outcastes fit into the Model. And the third is that the Caste Model is a CYCLICAL view of history.

The Caste Model and the Hindu core idea are quite different. The Hindu idea is part of Hindu religion, and so comes in a package containing all kinds of religious beliefs. These include beliefs that not only differ from sect to sect, but also reflect questionable class, caste, and sex biases, and do not accord with history as we understand it. For instance, one version of the core idea says that a Satyayuga (a Spiritual-Religious Age) lasts for 1,728,000 years! A figure obviously out of the blue. Another common related religious belief says that whenever a new cycle of four ages (a mahayuga) starts, the God Vishnu returns to Earth in a new incarnation.

Whatever symbolic, mythic, and religious value these beliefs have, they are not believable in a way that can be applied to clarify history as we know it and to forecast concrete future trends.

But when stripped down to its bare bones, the Hindu core idea does shed light on actual history, and gives common-sense hints about broad trends to come. So the Caste Model ignores most of the “religious features,” the exaggerated time assertions, and the class, caste, and sex prejudices of the original, and simply looks at its barest essentials of caste and ages, and translates them into the language of everyday history as we understand it.

Second, the original Hindu core philosophy has little to do with the Indian caste system, although the caste system leans on that philosophy for its authority. The religious and warrior caste elite of ancient India legitimized its caste system on this ancient Hindu wisdom about the universal castes in the same way that the religious and warrior elites of Christendom built and legitimized their church and social power on the wisdom of Jesus.

Or maybe the ancient Hindu sages devised the caste philosophy by observing the caste social order of their time. Either way, the Hindu philosophy and the Caste Model based on it are no more identical with the caste system than the Church is identical with the wisdom of the great rabbi, Jesus.

And so, the outcastes, though their status is an abusive outgrowth of the CASTE SYSTEM, have nothing to do with either the Caste Model or the core philosophy it derives from. As the word “outcaste” implies, the outcastes are OUTSIDE the philosophy by definition.

Third, the Caste Model is not a cyclical view of history. When people say that a macrohistory is cyclical, they usually mean, I believe, that it sees history repeating itself endlessly, with no beginning or end, and that everything that happens will happen again in the “next cycle.” This implies that history has no real meaning or direction. Because what’s the sense of our acting to improve the world if, in the next cycle, both that same world situation and our action to improve it will reoccur endlessly, and in all future cycles to infinity.

This cyclical view is like the movie, Groundhog Day, where the same events recur daily, starting every morning, and Bill Murray, the protagonist, goes through the same experiences day after day, driving him “up the wall” with frustration.

This cyclical view of time is a feature of the Hindu core idea. Only, instead of history being a single, human “groundhog” day, it’s a “groundhog day” in the life of Brahma, lasting billions of human years.

The Caste Model is not cyclical in this way. It’s a non-linear spiral with both linear and cyclical features. Think of a typical spiral like the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements. In the Periodic Table, the chemical elements are arranged linearly by their atomic numbers (the number of protons in the nuclei of their atoms). The arrangement is linear because the atomic numbers go in a “straight line” from the lowest to the highest, that is, from 1, hydrogen, to 105, hahnium, or higher.

But the elements are also arranged cyclically, in periodic horizontal rows, one above the other, showing that all the elements in a Group, or vertical column, have “recurring” properties in common that make them related in character. The combined effect is a spiral. That is, every element in a Group is at a higher level than all the elements from the preceding periods in that Group, in the sense of being more complex.

But, and this is important, every element is unique and never repeated, and their number is finite, not beginningless, endless, and infinite.

The Caste Model is the same. According to it, no events ever recur, and history never repeats. Like the so-called (misnamed ?) Life Cycle, where no person ever repeats a stage of their life –neither infancy, childhood, teenage, middle age, or old age (once you’re old, you will never be young again, except in spirit) – the Caste Model sees all of human history as a single cycle. It has a beginning, Spiritual Age No. 1, the transition between animal proper and human, and an end, Spiritual Age No. 2, the future transition between human and superhuman, the next stage of evolution.

The Future: Religion vs. Spirituality

What does the Caste Model say is likely to happen in the future? First, the Near Future: what’s left of the present peak stage of the Worker Age – until about 2030 or 2040. The main focus continues to be on worker-caste values: identification with one’s work, job company, and professional skill.

So the leading, industrialized, countries continue to focus on “things”: science and technology, business and economics, manufactured goods, energy and natural resources, and related services, such as finance, communications, transportation, space exploration, government, conventional health and education, and organized and disorganized crime. Economic determinism, whether Marxist, capitalist, “left” or “right,” remains a key part of the dominant worldview.

Politically, the Caste Model foresees two grand trends based on this thing-orientation. One will be the continuing bundling together of all countries into blocs (“unions”), with the European Union as the model. The second will be that the North will still be more powerful than the South, but realigned into three new blocs.

The No. 1 of the three, so the world’s leading power, will be what I call “Confucio.” It will consist of Japan, China (and Taiwan), and Korea (North and South Korea reunified).

The No. 2 world power will be “Europa”: the EU expanded to include most of Europe. The No. 3 world power will be “Polario,” a Union of the countries surrounding the North Pole, which will include the two “superpowers,” the US and Russia, Canada, probably the five Scandinavian countries, and the ex-USSR European countries Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, and Georgia.

Second, the Caste Model indicates the Distant Future. The present revolutionary-evolutionary stage of Spiritual-Religious Age No. 2 will continue. It overlaps, of course, with the above “near-future” peak stage of the Worker Age, extends beyond it to the middle of this century, and is then followed by that Spiritual-Religious Age’s peak stage, at the end of the century and beyond.

During this Spiritual-Religious Age’s revolutionary-evolutionary stage, main world power will shift from the industrialized North (Confucio, Europa, and Polario) to the "Religious Belt," that central region stretching westward from Tibet and Bangladesh, across India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan, Islamic central Asia, the Arab countries, Turkey, and Israel, across North Africa to Morocco.

The Belt will probably divide up into four bloc-unions, which I call, from west to east, the Bharati, or South Asian, Federation, the Central Asian Islamic Federation (Iran, Turkey, the “Stan” countries, including Afghanistan), the Pan-Semitic Federation (Israel, Palestine, and the Arab countries), and the Maghreb Federation of North Africa.

As part of these Federations’ rise to power, Islamic, Indian, and Jewish fundamentalism will play a somewhat violent revolutionary role, but eventually these countries' fundamentalist tendencies will metamorphose to a high level of spirituality. The increasing influential role women will play in fundamentalist movements, and the ongoing struggle against particularly Islamic terrorism in Islamic, Western, and other countries (China, Russia, India, Thailand, the Philippines), will be key promoters of this shift from religion to spirituality.

As parallel examples earlier in history, remember how the terrorist fundamentalisms of the Jacobins after the French Revolution (Merchant Age) and of the Bolsheviks, Maoists, and Khmer Rouge after their communist revolutions (Worker Age), were replaced by "sweeter", less oppressive systems.

Though these Federations will lead the world politically and economically, their main source of power will be spiritual.

Finally, the peak stage of this age will see a shift of power and influence from this Religious Belt to the world’s indigenous cultures, especially in Africa, but also in the Americas, the Anzac countries, Asia, and the Pacific.

I realize that the forecasts of the above four paragraphs, in the spirit of futurist Jim Dator, sound especially “ridiculous," but the why and how of all this is detailed in the book, and may help make the ridiculous slightly believable."

Interview Excerpts

Interview with Lawrence Taub:


"Of the three models you use, the Caste Model seems the most prominent. How can an ancient Indian social system be useful to a futurist?

The Caste Model is derived from the Hindu caste philosophy first referred to in the Rig Veda. It recognizes four main castes: the religious or spiritual caste; the warrior caste; the merchant caste; and the worker caste. The Indians believe that each caste rules the world in turn. In other words, the world goes through a Religious-Spiritual Caste Age, followed by a Warrior Age, then a Merchant Age, then a Worker Age, then back to a second Spiritual-Religious Age to start a new cycle. The notion of caste is generally misunderstood. We have to see the different castes as generic types.


Generic types?

Yes, in the sense that every person has features of all four castes, but those of one caste dominate. The people within each caste share that caste’s world view, value system, and social ideal. According to my model, derived from this Hindu idea, the world view of the religious-spiritual caste is based on God, spiritual freedom, and Enlightenment. That of the warrior caste revolves around war and physical competition. The merchant caste values money and material possessions, and the worker caste is all about identification with work, skill, and job. My model says that we are now in a transition from the Merchant Age, which has just about ended, to the peak point of the Worker Age. We live in an age of identification with work. One of the first questions people ask each other is "What do you do?," which means "What kind of work do you do?" In Japan people ask, "What company do you belong to?" Up to the 19th century, it was not your job but your family name that counted, and after that how much money you had.


How does your Caste Model differ from the Indian prototype?

The Hindus understood the Religious/Spiritual-Warrior-Merchant-Worker sequence to be cyclical. When completed, it starts anew and repeats itself indefinitely. My Caste Model adds a linear, historical time-line, so that the ages run in a spiral rather than a cycle. In other words, I matched up the different caste ages with the different periods of prehistory and history that we’re familiar with, plus the future. Secondly, I added a geographical dimension. To give an example, the world power of 16th century Spain and Portugal marked the peak stage of the Warrior Age. The first world power of the Merchant Age was the 17th century Dutch Republic, after it cast off the Spanish yoke. America’s world power represents the peak of the Merchant Age. In other words, different countries or cultures show the characteristics of one or another caste. Countries rise when the caste they belong to rises during its age, and fall as the next caste rises to replace it. So the Model actually clarifies why different world powers and empires rose and fell in the past and which countries or regions can be expected to become powerful in the future. The Indian prototype, of course, lacks these historical and geographical elements.


America’s world power represents the peak of the Merchant Caste Age. You mean we are now moving to the Worker Caste Age?

That’s right. But the Worker Age has its roots in the 19th century. That’s when the blue-collar segment of the worker caste organized to resist its oppressor, the merchant caste power elite. It was the time of the utopian socialists, the anarchist and communist movements and the first trade unions. Then came the worker-caste, socialist-communist revolutions that started in 1917. The Worker Age is now starting to peak in the Far East. The people of that region best match the psychological profile of the worker caste. The Japanese, Chinese and Koreans best identify with the value system, social organization and world view of the worker caste.


The transitions of power from one caste to the next overlap?

Yes. The peak of the Worker Age is now starting. But the beginning, pioneering stage of the new religious-spiritual caste’s rise to power is already over. It lasted from the 1950s to the 1970s, and was characterized by two opposite religious and spiritual tendencies. One was the counterculture, the beatniks, the hippies, the human potential movement, transpersonal theory, the environmental, and especially the feminist movements. The other was the mass return to religious orthodoxy. Examples are born-again Christians, fundamentalist Moslems, and baal-teshuvah Jews. The next, revolutionary stage of the new caste’s rise to power is already underway. It began with the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and continues with the fundamentalist takeover of Afghanistan.


The rise of each caste to world rule happens in stages? How does it work?

I distinguish three stages: the pioneering stage, the revolutionary-evolutionary stage and the peak stage. In the pioneering stage, the rising caste organizes and sets up pockets of power and opposition to the ruling caste. This usually happens in the main centers of world power, where the ruling caste is most powerful and from where it rules the rest of the world. In the second stage, the rising caste takes power mainly through revolution in some undeveloped countries. Take the worker caste revolutions. They happened in Russia, Yugoslavia, Mongolia, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba and Nicaragua, away from the main centers of merchant caste power in North America, Western Europe and Japan. But the revolutions help the rising caste gain power even in those main centers. That happens in a more evolutionary rather than revolutionary way, which is why I call this second stage the revolutionary-evolutionary stage. I mark 1917 as the beginning of the revolutionary-evolutionary stage of the Worker Age, and 1979 as the end. Those were the years of the Russian and Nicaraguan revolutions respectively. The third and last stage of a caste’s rise to world rule is the peak stage. That’s when the caste reaches the height of its power and rules the world, but also ripens itself for falling. This stage unfolds in those countries that have evolved to be most in tune with the spirit and world view of the rising caste. The peak stage of the Warrior Age unfolded in the Spanish, Portuguese and Ottoman Empires and Ming China. The Merchant Age’s peak stage is today’s United States. The Worker Age’s peak stage will unfold in what I call the Confucian bloc, over the next 30-40 years. That bloc will consist of China, Japan, and Korea. It may seem far-fetched, but I foresee the peak stage of Religious-Spiritual Age No. 2 in sub-Saharan Africa, but that’s at least a century ahead.


Some of what you just said sounds like a theory of revolution. Is that also what the Caste Model provides?

Pretty much so. It shows that revolutions are inevitable in human history. Marx and the Marxists had it a little wrong. History does not progress through class struggle, as they thought, but on the much deeper level of caste struggle. The ancient Hindus understood this principle. And caste struggle includes revolution, by its very nature destructive and fundamentalistic.


You argue that the four castes each have their own class structure. Can you explain?

Think of each caste as a pyramid. In the Merchant Age now drawing to a close, the top of the merchant caste pyramid was occupied by the grand bourgeoisie of the wealthiest entrepreneurs, capitalists, industrialists, landlords and financiers. In the middle were the smaller entrepreneurs, traders, factory owners, landlords and financial people, and at the bottom were the hordes of small shopkeepers and traders, the 'petty bourgeoisie'. In the present Worker Age, the top of the worker-caste pyramid is occupied by the bureau-technostructure: the top executives of the big corporations, the top sci-technicians, professionals, government, party and labor leaders. In the middle level you have the less-powerful people of the same type. At the bottom are the 'wage slaves' - the armies of white- and blue-collar and agricultural workers, housewives, the unemployed and the homeless.

The Indian caste philosophy sees the caste ages as a regression. The Religious-Spiritual Age is like heaven, the Warrior Age not so good, the Merchant Age quite bad, and the Worker Age is sheer hell, reflecting the progressively lower quality of the castes themselves. Do you agree?

Yes and no. I synthesize the regressive Indian view and the progressive Western view. In some ways the ages regress, but there’s no denying that each successive caste age advanced human consciousness. The Warrior Age was brutal and imperialistic, and kept the human race continually at war. But conquests by warrior kings like Constantine and Ashoka spread advanced spiritual consciousness through Christianity and Buddhism. The Warrior Age also introduced such concepts as individual freedom and personal salvation, and a sense of moral and ethical responsibility. The Merchant Age raised the level of material well-being for masses of people, launched the Industrial Revolution, ended slavery, and introduced the modern concept of democracy for all. The present Worker Age was the first age to reject war and imperialism. It embraced sexual, racial and ethnic equality, and developed class consciousness and worker-caste solidarity. The worker caste was also the first to demand the right for all to basic human needs such as food, shelter, education, and medical care. Looked at in this way, it can’t be denied that each caste contributed to human spiritual and material development.


We are now in the Worker Age but we have already witnessed the advent of the next, Religious-Spiritual Age No. 2. Can you explain?

The revolutionary-evolutionary stage of the Religious-Spiritual Age has already started with the religious revolutions in Iran and Afghanistan. These two countries are part of what I call the religious belt, which stretches from Bangladesh and Tibet across India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Central Asia, Turkey, Kurdistan, the Arab-Israeli Middle East to North Africa. More revolutions are likely to occur in this region. And they will all be religious revolutions, as in Iran and Afghanistan, not socialist ones. This is because the revolutionaries, like the Taliban, are religious caste, not worker caste.


When you say religious revolutions, do you mean fundamentalist revolutions?

Yes, but the revolutions won’t stay fundamentalist. This has to do with the dynamics of caste revolution in general. Take the French and Russian revolutions, of the Merchant and Worker Ages respectively. They too started out with fundamentalists in control, who organized reigns of terror. But fundamentalism is impractical in the long run. Sooner or later the terror dies down. Pragmatists come into power who either replace or purge the fundamentalist generation. The religious revolutions of the religious belt will probably follow this pattern, as we already see in Iran. As the terror dies down, these countries will move away from fundamentalism and other doctrinaire forms of religiosity. They will move toward a more enlightened spirituality.


How will that come about?

The Sex Model, one of the three macrohistories in my book, suggests that women in the religious belt will play the leading role in taking these countries from fundamentalism to spirituality. Looking at Afghanistan today, this idea may seem far-fetched, especially when viewed from our present vantage point in the middle of the Worker Age. But we have clear indications that women will exert the main influence in the religious belt. This region has already seen more women prime ministers than any other region in the world. I should also point out the role of feminism, which has resulted in a growing influence of women in religions everywhere. This trend will spread to the religious belt, where religious power will translate into political power. The growing influence of women in religion will decrease the power of the male fundamentalist ruling elites. The two cannot co-exist.


Is this what the Sex Model tells us?

The Sex Model holds that humanity evolves according to a sexual dialectic, from the female principle to the male principle to the androgynous. As a metaphor I use the ancient Chinese concepts of Yin and Yang. The Sex Model holds that humanity first experienced a Yin Age, the prehistoric period, followed by a Yang Age, which began with the Patriarchal Revolution between 2000 and 4000 BC. We are now in the transition from the Yang to the Androgynous Age. The beginning of this latter age was marked by the feminist movement that began in the sixties. Our new holistic outlook, the environmental and gay movements, and many other new trends are indicative of the androgynous direction we are heading in. As androgynization proceeds, everything that was either too yin or too yang in the Yang Age will become sexually balanced. The Sex Model makes forecasts related to the environment, medicine, animal rights, the bisexual nature of future religion, homosexuality, hunting and cruel sports, the role of women in politics, business and society, and what male-female love-sex relationships will be like as we become more androgynous.


Your Sex Model argues that the West is essentially yang and the East essentially yin. Can you explain?

At the dawn of history, the start of the Yang Age, the world split culturally into East and West. The yang world view developed more strongly in the West than in the East, reaching its peak with the Western development of science and technology. This split is reflected in the main world religions. The Eastern world religions - Hinduism and Buddhism - are primarily yin, while the three monotheistic religions of the West - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - are essentially yang. Jerusalem, the focal city of Western religion, became humanity’s yang-male pole, while Varanasi [Benares], the focal city of the Eastern world religions, became its yin-female pole. Both Eastern and Western culture became more yang during the Yang Age. But the East stayed closer to humanity’s prehistoric yin-origins, and didn’t become yang enough, while Western culture suppressed most of its prehistoric female roots and became too yang. Androgynization also means we will integrate Eastern and Western culture, philosophy, religion, and sensibility. You might say that Jerusalem and Varanasi will be in a state of prolonged sexual intercourse.

I believe the Sex Model connection is the clincher. It leads directly to a feminist reinterpretation of the Abraham-Sarah-Hagar story. When talking about peace and coexistence, Arabs and Jews often emphasize that both peoples descend from the common father Abraham. But on a deeper level, the story describes the classic sexist situation feminism is designed to remedy. Abraham, the patriarch, owns the whole property, including the Promised Land, which his son will inherit, not the wives or daughters. Sarah becomes jealous of Hagar once she has a son, Isaac, and pressures Abraham to exile her and her son, Ishmael. Isaac gets it all, Ishmael gets nothing. How typically pre-feminist -- women squabbling over what men own, for the benefit of their sons. The feminist and pan-semitist in us will look at it differently, and argue: "The land is as much Hagar's as Sarah's, and vice versa. Both peoples have inherited it. Let us weaken the patriarchy and affirm the sisterhood of our foremothers by reconciling the ancient squabble. Let us bring the two halves of the family together by sharing the land, bonding spiritually, and working together to achieve a prosperity which will make both our peoples strong, and our Federation a great power of the 21st century."

Discussion

On the differences with the related model of Sarkar

By Lawrence Taub:

"Aside from the Hindu philosophy of castes and ages itself, from which the Caste Model derives, two other macrohistories that resemble the Caste Model are those of Hegel and, surprisingly perhaps, Marx. Though Marx's past stages of history, on which he bases the proletariat's overthrow of capitalism, resemble the past stages of the Caste Model, his view of the future stages differs: He sees the worker caste and the Worker Age playing the key “heroic” future role, whereas the Caste Model, closer to Hegel, sees the human race climaxing in a Spiritual Age. The basic differences between the Caste Model and Marx's grand historical narrative are detailed in the book's Introduction.

What most likely will pop into your heads as resembling the Caste Model will be the macrohistory of P. R. Sarkar.

You may have read the excellent critique of The Spiritual Imperative by Takuya Murata in the May 2007 edition of Futures. In it, Murata notes many differences and similarities between P.R. Sarkar’s macrohistory and the Caste Model. As he writes, both “derive from Indian philosophy,” both “ are based on the concept that a dominant feature characterizes each Age,” and both “ascribe the cause that makes one Age pass to the next to the disintegration of the age itself rather than an external force."

The key difference he notes is that, in Sarkar’s model, the Ages move in a cycle that continues endlessly through human history – humans pass through many Intellectual, Warrior, and Merchant ages. That is, Sarkar's is truly a cyclical model, while the Caste Model says that human history makes up only one cycle: it’s a spiral that combines a linear and cyclical element, as explained earlier

Here are a few more differences between the Sarkar and Caste Models: While both models include Warrior and Merchant Ages, Sarkar does not include a Worker Age; he sees no age in which the worker caste exercises actual power. The worker caste basically serves as a pawn for his other three castes. He therefore sees only three ages per cycle, not four, as the Caste Model does. Second, since Sarkar’s model doesn’t recognize a spiritual-religious caste, it doesn’t include spiritual-religious ages either, as the Caste Model does. Instead, Sarkar posits an intellectual caste that rules Intellectual Ages, a caste that rules through “head knowledge” rather than through a religious, spiritual, or wisdom orientation.

The third difference, therefore, is that while the Caste Model sticks for its source to the generic, everyday, popular version of the Hindu theory of castes and ages, with four traditionally-recognized castes and ages, Sarkar developed his own unique, original version, with only three castes ruling instead of four, one of which is an intellectual rather than a spiritual-religious caste.


I was lucky enough to actually meet P.R. Sarkar, back in 1966, while in India for a two-year stay. Mr. Sarkar wore many hats – spiritual guide, social movement leader and activist, thinker-philosopher, tantric teacher – and was impressive in all of them. His followers included people of all ranks and many castes all over India, and I was privileged to be at the train station when the organization’s first member to be sent abroad left for Nairobi to set up a center to make Sarkar’s teachings available beyond India.

I spent several weeks at Sarkar’s main ashram in Jamalpur on the Ganges, in Bihar State, where Sarkar was regularly in attendance. My purpose in being in Jamalpur was to learn tantric practice and Sarkar’s social, economic, and religious ideas underpinning them.

But for some reason Mr. Sarkar’s macrohistorical theory, the Proutist theory of history, was not included in my courses. I learned about it much later, in 1980, from the Australian Proutist magazine, Dharma. That was five years after I "discovered" the three models, which derived from another Indian source.

After leaving Jamalpur I visited Varanasi (Benares). In my eagerness to soak up as much Hindu and Buddhist lore as possible, I attended a lecture at the local Brahma Kumari Center. It was from that speaker that I first heard a presentation of the traditional, generic, version of the Hindu theory of the castes and ages, with all the religious mythology and accoutrements attached.

The ideas of the lecturer didn’t have much of an impact on me. As a student of history as conventionally presented, they struck me as curious nonsense, with little relation to “real” history. The only reason they stuck in my mind over the next nine years was because I often came across them in many contexts.

But one day, in 1975, in Tokyo, I read in the Japan Times how the North Vietnamese had completed their takeover of Saigon the previous day. The insight suddenly hit me: The worker caste was taking over worldwide from the merchant caste. I realized that the traditional Hindu theory of castes and ages actually contained a rough macrohistorical description of how history developed, stage-by-stage, and what the basic directions of the future were likely to be.

When I came across Sarkar’s version of that idea five years later, it struck me as too divergent from the traditional version to be as valuable to me for describing history and foreseeing the future as that generic version. Though, based on my experience with macrohistorical thinking during those intervening five years, I could imagine that Sarkar’s unique and original version could serve as an insight into history and the future for someone else – or myself at a later date.

Sarkar’s Proutist theory overlaps – and reinforces – the Caste Model on at least two key points. First, like the Caste Model, the Proutist theory is rational-scientific rather than mythic-religious in tone. Though likewise derived from the Hindu core idea, it discards its mythic religious accoutrements; it speaks to the modern-scientific Western(ized) worldview most of us, including futurists, share. Sarkar, the Indian “guru” and tantric, was also a modern Western thinker. His use of the Hindu core idea as the basis for his rational-scientific theory thus validates the Caste Model’s similar use of it.

Second, though the Proutist macrohistory is basically cyclical, with history endlessly repeating itself, it has at least one feature that lets you see human history as a single, non-repetitive cycle, as the Caste Model does. That is, though Sarkar sees world power in the future reverting to the intellectual caste (the vipra), he says it’s possible that the intellectuals who take over worldwide will be sadvipra (spiritually evolved intellectuals). These seem to resemble the Caste Model’s future spiritual-religious caste.

The big difference is: Sarkar sees the future influence of the sadvipra as possible, whereas the Caste Model sees the equivalent coming Spiritual-Religious Age as almost inevitable. But this coincidence of foresight seems to put the Proutist theory and the Caste Model in the same ballpark."

Appendix: Profile

By Masanori Kanda, in the Foreword:


What? Alvin Toffler is living in Tokyo?

That's the thought that went through my mind when I finished reading the last page of this book.

Even if it wasn't Alvin Toffler, Peter Drucker or John Kenneth Galbraith would have been just as good comparisons. The point is, what surprised me was the fact that a Westerner, with a fine and noble mind equal to that of the great thinkers of history, has been living in Tokyo for many years, quietly, and without anyone being aware of it.

Lawrence Taub. I gradually became firmly convinced that this unknown author, when we consider this book, his maiden work, is as worthy as those great thinkers who have carved their name into history.

Right at the start, the title itself of the original book hit me with great impact. The Spiritual Imperative: Sex, Age, and the Last Caste (which Mr. Kanda here translates literally into Japanese).

According to Taub, sex, age, and caste, three seemingly completely unconnected principles, can explain human history and the future. This bold hypothesis is interesting if you are sitting around talking and drinking. But serious people are not supposed to take it seriously. And to be honest, when I first picked up the original book, I turned its pages with suspicion.

As I feared, the book's content flies off in all directions through human time and space. As if I were in a time machine, the book let me observe at a glance all time from about 3000 B.C.E in the distant past to the year 2150 in the future. And as if I were looking down at the Earth from a satellite, my eyes roamed east and west, north and south, from Europe and North and South America to Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Further, the book discusses everything from sex to the international political system and currencies in a single straight line. So that the further along I read the more I felt as if my brain was being stretched to its limits.

Yet though the book is so comprehensive and covers such a wide area, and the discussion unfolds before and below you like an abyss, it's never hard to understand. It's more as if you were reading a mystery or detective story; you find yourself turning the pages faster and faster. And it's a book that gives the reader, once he or she finishes reading it, that sense of refreshing exhilaration and of being touched to the heart that you feel after seeing a high-quality movie.

Among the many books around that make future forecasts, what's so special about this one is that, though it covers thousands of years of human history, it explains the present, all the things we observe happening in front of our eyes that seem to make no sense at all to us, in a way that makes them seem perfectly rational and logical. And it explains these things in a clear and beautiful way using three basic concepts, or "principles", that we would never think of using for such a purpose: sex, age, and caste.

It makes clear to us, for example:

  • Why men are piercing their ears and the rest of their bodies, putting on makeup, in short, "feminizing" themselves.
  • Why China, which until now has been uniformly anti-Japanese, has suddenly been switching to a pro-Japanese line.
  • Why the "spiritual boom" of recent years shows no signs of letting up.
  • Why, despite the constantly decreasing birthrate, the education business continues to grow.
  • Why the environmental issue, although the scientific basis for it is to some extent criticized as being vague, has become everyday common sense.
  • Why homosexuality and adultery are constantly on the increase, while the "normal" conventional view of marriage and family gets shakier and shakier.

Taub’s models make clear that these hard-to-explain everyday events and trends are actually inevitable, because they lead to the next inevitable stage in human evolution. So the scene we are observing is changing to a completely different one right before our eyes. No longer are we forced to live troubled and discordant lives based on a value system divorced from reality. Instead we can choose to live our lives on the path that leads to a new value system just now under construction.

This raises the question, how is it that Mr. Taub, focused on delving deep into human history, could come up with such models that, though quite unusual, he can use to explain even everyday events? The answer, now that I think of it, was already there, though not easily apparent, the day I first met him.

The date was June 22, 2006. He and I had made an appointment to meet at a café on a side street just off Omotesando, in the Harajuku area of Tokyo. I imagined he would turn out to be one of those fussy, fastidious scholars, but instead, there he appeared, a small rucksack on his back and a pipe in his mouth. Although he had been living in Tokyo for decades, he seemed like a traveler who had just casually dropped into one more country. The pupils of his eyes moved a lot, like those of a child, which impressed me. And he seemed really overjoyed when suddenly, in the middle of our conversation, a call came in on his cell phone from a friend.

Mr. Taub phoned many times after our appointment that day, speaking not only with me, but also with employees at my company. These conversations always seemed effortless and enjoyable. Whenever he called to ask advice about something that was troubling him, or whenever a relevant question came up about some topic that interested him, he seemed to forget about time and talk about it with enthusiasm and without pretensions.

Mr. Taub is neither an ivory-tower type buried deep in old books nor a top-level figure in the worlds of politics or finance, whom everybody addresses as “sensei, sensei.” While leading an ordinary life (though “ordinary” is the most difficult thing of all), he continues his explorations of the world, human life, and space, wondering what will be. Paying no attention to a person’s status or national origin, and loving the people right in front of his eyes at the moment equally, he continues searching for the meaning of being alive, wondering what will happen.

This is something that spreads across the deep strata of this book, the thing that no sage or wise man before could ever acquire – the knowledge of the Trickster.

Yet why was he living for decades in Japan?

At the time the decision was made to publish this book here in Japan, I remembered wanting to ask him this question again. Just when I decided to get together with him again to do that, I got a phone call from him on my cell phone. He was calling from Narita Airport. I could envision his usual smiling face as we talked.

“I’ll be away from Japan and am going to Israel for a while.” With those parting words he left Japan.

How long was “for a while?” A half year? Twenty or thirty years? He didn’t know either. Probably his stay in Israel will last until he is sure that history is reaching the turning point.

When that historical turning point that he foresaw actually happens, his reputation will no longer be in doubt, and his name will be up there with the leading thinkers of history. And we here in Japan will take pride in the fact that Taub-san lived in Japan for so long.

That pride that Japan will feel will be similar to the pride it feels in having been the first country to value and adopt Edward Deming’s Quality Control methods and principles and in the fact that Albert Einstein was in mid-ocean, heading for Japan, when he received the Nobel Prize."

More Information

See the 30-minute interview on Internet TV Japan, with Lawrence Taub on the Spiritual Imperative and the Last Caste at http://www.itvjapan.com/mgmt_lead.asp?ID=1

Personal homepage at http://www.larrytaub.com (without ads) and http://larrytaub.tripod.com (with ads)

Please read: Integrating Jean Gebser and Lawrence Taub, an article by Jan Krikke