We regularly hear of young women from stable families in the West scuttling off in secret, often by plane to Turkey, where they can more easily assess the utopia advertised by ISIS in their propaganda. In the various social media employed by the group they are promised homes, husbands and an active role in creating a society purified of the evils that godlessness and materialism brings. Many of the young men they will be attached to are also from the evil capitalist West, inspired by visions tearing of down the Sodom and Gomorrah of the modern world and replacing it with a Caliphate dedicated to the pure and sanctified life as God always wanted.
Their naive and energetic idealism is no stranger to the rest of us. We have all seen how various commercial enterprises like religions and the military appeal to the idealism of the young. Join with us and help rebuild/remake society they say in their advertising and evangelism. Mainstream political parties do much the same on a smaller canvas, as do police forces and charitable organizations like World Vision or Greenpeace. That they are all pitches in public relations we know all too well, but we recognize their positions in society are tempered by respect and tradition and get on with our lives accordingly.
Interestingly enough, at least to me, is the fact that only greed merchants like corporations sell themselves to the young as portals to financial security and material success, although often tarted up with gaudy costumes of community betterment.
I certainly saw enough of youthful idealism in my own generation during the time bubble we call the sixties. Many of us were convinced society was rotten to the core and needed to be saved from itself. Some went to the barricades, some to Vietnam, some joined communes, grafting organic onto their diets, some stayed at home and operated on themselves with psychedelics. A sedentary intellectual with a minimum of adventurousness, I opted for the last lifestyle selection, Aldous Huxley and George Harrison having convinced me that the farther one travels the less one knows. Looking back with all the benefits of educated hindsight we can see that all of us learned the lessons we needed to learn, though some paid a much higher price for their wisdom than others.
But what I’d like to focus on here is the source of youthful idealism. For me, as an out of body traveler and practitioner/teacher of that esoteric knowledge that could easily get you burned at the stake in times gone by, that source is the soul’s recent transition from the paradises of spirit, where happiness, beauty and bliss have yet to completely fade from the waking consciousness of the physical being as it struggles through the challenges of daily life. The young have those memories, albeit subconscious, in spades. At four and five some recall past lives and others play with invisible friends. Later such transcendence is almost completely subdued, beaten out of them by family, society and religion. But deep down, they know, as Dylan sang, “There’s something happenin’ here and you don’t know what it is, do you Mr. Jones?”
They know society is just not right, there’s something deeply wrong with the way things are done, but they cannot quite put their finger on it and settle for such radical political and social analysis as they can find in their education. Maybe they’ll find Orwell, maybe Camus, maybe Marx and Noam Chomsky, maybe the Situationists or the Surrealists.
But what’s pushing them so mysteriously is their subconscious memories of being in Spirit before incarnation, when all was beauty, harmony and bliss. Their physical brain, resident in the skull, has no inkling of this, having been evolved with the growth of the fetus, but the soul knows, the mysterious soul, that ghost in the machine that is there to be befriended if you can find it in the maze of veils laid on it by the world of action/reaction and that ever present multitude of vested interests.
Most of the idealistic young will have to traverse their chosen path of charting the next utopia, fighting for its acceptance and then finding it wanting before they open to the soul and its wonders. That seems to be the way of things in this valley of the shadow of death. Myself, I don’t fear any evil as I know it’s an illusion bred by fear. And once you give up fear you give up the fabrication of mortality and the lustful accumulation of toys that goes with it. But it took me some time to get here, working my way through the structures of the intellect and its creations to see the beating heart beneath.