All history is propaganda and serves a purpose for the one writing it. I don’t deny that there is some objectivity to it, that the people and events described therein did in fact exist or happen, but that the narration can be quite selective. We humans aren’t omniscient, and so can only focus on a small amount of information in a certain sequence, giving historians some license to “play” with how they present a certain sequence of events.
Is history intrinsically political? Economic? Technological? Biological? Spiritual? Accidental? It can be any on these, or none. It all depends on the most useful and relevant way you think it will be to “slice the pie” of history. It’s only natural for the human mind to want to make sense of the world, even if that world is chaotic. We need orientation, and developing a sense of history is part of that.
Some while ago I wrote about the Three Circles of Existence, a cosmology based on Iolo Morganwg’s work with a naturalistic spin. This gives me a sense of historical “direction” and how humans and the universe we exist in developed. The three circles in question are Annwn, Abred and Gwynvid, with Ceugant forming a transcendent “non-circle”. For anyone familiar with Teilhard de Chardin, Annwn, Abred and Gwynvid roughly correspond to geosphere, biosphere and noosphere (though I wouldn’t go as far as saying Ceugant and Omega Point are equivalent, though there is room for interpretation).
In Annwn history is meaningless. There is no direction, meaning or reason in this physical universe. It just is, and all change within it is just an expression of its existence. Stars are born and die, chemicals react, galaxies crash into one another, balls of rock and gas go round in circles. Entropy rules, and eventually it will have all “burnt out”, or we’ll all end up in a Great Crunch with all we see around us destroyed and replaced with a different physical order. But within this directionless chaos, things happens, things that do have direction and, for want of a better word, “purpose”.
In Abred there is life. Within the apparent meaningless of this universe, life appeared – self-organising matter that (for a time) defies entropy. The basic impulse of life is survival of the individual organism, which itself is directed towards the survival of the species (the continuation of genes). Billions of species have developed complex, interconnected, interdependent relationships, forming a planet-wide family/organism/ecosystem – known as Gaia by some. An extremely diverse biosphere has found many intricate ways to achieve the closely twinned goals of individual survival and the continuation of the species. Life has become so intertwined that organisms must also fulfil the imperative that the biosphere as a whole must survive. A community or family has developed a complex contract of ecological solidarity, which means all lifeforms must be of benefit to the biosphere or risk their place within it. Human intelligence and culture grew out of our basic (biological) need to survive, and earlier manifestations of them were in harmony with the biosphere’s survival imperative, or limited enough to not cause problems on a global scale. But human culture has recently broken its “contract” with the biosphere and put our existence as a civilisation and even as a species into doubt. It’s imperative that we get our cultural values back “on track” with Abred.
The history of Gwynvid is the part of human history that isn’t strictly physical or biological; it encompasses culture and social relations, and the development of civilisation. All the values, symbols, concepts and customs that structure and guide society are part of the emerging Gwynvid. As Abred emerges out of Annwn, so Gwynvid emerges out of Abred, remaining a part of it, yet having its own set of properties that differentiates it. For civilisation to continue and develop, it cannot limit itself to an “aimless” physical existence or “blind” biological impulses, but must reflect “higher” values. It’s direction must become that of consciousness and the complexity and depth thereof, just as the biosphere has increased in complexity. Our technological, political and economic development must not rely solely on biological impulses, but more noble, refined and differentiated values stemming from a more reflective, self-aware consciousness. It’s also important that Gwynvid realises that it still remains part of Annwn-Abred, that though it is qualitatively distinct from them, it still forms a continuity with them, otherwise it courts ecological disaster.
The history of Ceugant is non-dual and is not really historical at all. It is all-embracing, all-inclusive. It is not contained within history but contains history. It is “ahistorical” in a timeless sense, but not in the directionless sense of Annwn, which is still subject to time. It offers an ahistorical backdrop to history, as well as a transcendent state of mind. It is present as a metaphysical reality and also in the core of consciousness. We might express the relationship of Annwn, Abred, Gwynvid and Ceugant like so: mysticism embedded within humanism embedded within biocentrism embedded within nihilism embedded within mysticism.
Time is a tricky thing, but the human mind has a habit of “making sense” of things, even if there is no intrinsic sense to be made, and so arises our concept of “history”, which as we have seen is not always a single thing but several things layered together, interrelated, but with their own distinct properties.
Here’s a link to a “creation story” I wrote some while ago, based on the idea of the Annwn-Abred-Gwynvid cosmos, as well as a triad which expresses the same idea in this blogpost but in simpler terms.