“It is said that what is called ‘the spirit of an age’ is something to which one cannot return. That this spirit gradually dissipates is due to the world’s coming to an end. For this reason, although one would like to change today’s world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation” — Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Hagakure.
The “spirit of the age” has been a significant point of discussion for the current election season in the United States. On the one hand, Donald Trump with his rhetoric of Making America Great Again, promises a return to a Golden Age of prosperity, abundance and a fertile middle class.
On the other hand, the Bernie Sanders campaign seeks to Immanentize the Eschaton by bringing out revolution, heralding an end of the old world and the summoning the beginning of a brave new one — which, in the end, is a return to a mythic collectivist Utopia.
It is a mark of Higher Spirituality to move carefully through this mine field of a fanatical zeitgeist. We must be the eye at the center of the storm, carefully observing the motion of the tempest while remaining impassive in our gaze, ultimately directing it beyond the chaos to the sunrise on the horizon. In order to make the best of current generation, we must make the best of ourselves.
The “spirit of the age,” or Aeon, signifies a conditioning of the soul on a collective scale what the martial artist experiences as an individual. Miyamoto Musashi’s precept, “Become acquainted with every art,” has a peculiar application here. It is not only sage advice on the necessity to perfect the form of one’s sonnet as equally as he does his deadlift. It also provides practical advice to the martial artist: to become acquainted with every art is to gain knowledge and experience of every fighting style and thus prepare oneself for the attack any opponent. If one gains mastery over their opponent through such thorough preparation, one has gained mastery over himself.
Likewise, it is advised to become acquainted with every age. We live in a multi-apocalyptic era, where as many ends-of-the-world as their are worlds that quantum theory can count. In order to gain mastery over the self through preparation against the danger of our age of catastrophe, one must embrace fully the darkness of the Kali Yuga as much as they aspire to the light of the Aeon of Horus. It is when the dueling blades of opposing ages cross in battle that the spark of the True Self is found.
Through sacrifice, dedicated training, and contemplative study, we may discover the spark of the True Self and temper our collective being into a formidable blade able to slice through the fog of delusions that clouds our current generation.