At this juncture, the ancient tension between past-centred conservatism and future-centred progressivism, together with every received notion of completeness, is devolving into new constellations of liberation, collaboration and co-inherence that transcend all we can grasp or possess. Today, tensions threaten to divide centre from periphery, north from south, east from west in a proliferation of new ways that press for devolutions of power that turn old tensions between past and future, conservation and progress, inside out. These tensions continue to exist but are cut through and overwhelmed in new ways. Edinburgh seeks to separate from Westminster because it feels ignored and excluded, whilst Lerwick and Stromness threaten to secede from Edinburgh for similar reasons. But this crisis does not just threaten to divide Scotland or Wales from England, because the same crisis of the disintegration of centralised power is devolving as decentralisation in every region, north and south, east and west. Old systems of centralised power are no longer functional, forcing a decision between difference or division that asks whether the solution is separation or new kinds of co-inherent union. At a time when populism is habitually controlled by economic elites, grass-roots democracy begins to open up new manifestations of decentralised but centred freedom. It is to these new openings that wisdom speaks, offering very ancient treasures that are capable of nurturing very new ways to proceed.
Wisdom in these new conditions calls for listening and free collaboration to discover devolved ways of exercising democratic power, employing co-operative but liberating means. Wisdom coherently holds to unconditioned decentralised liberation in the midst, without clinging to external centralisation, embracing difference without disintegrating into division. Every union is revered without monistic confusion, so that every difference is embraced without divisive separation. Wisdom breathes infusions of inspiration into one aporetic impasse after another, opening to radical spaciousness that is liberating, whilst being co-inherently coherent. Without wisdom, difference is unsustainable and disintegrates into separation, spawning populist nationalisms that easily degenerate into disastrous wars. Without wisdom’s embrace of love and freedom, co-inherence begins to degenerate into systems of regressive centralisation, globalisms that enrich a wealthy few but impoverish the well-being of whole populations. Christian wisdom sees all this from within the Beloved Disciple’s embrace of Christ’s wholesome divine-humanity, an insight and wisdom in the Spirit that embraces love’s ineffable glory. This wisdom is an embrace of love and freedom that does not fall apart, even in conditions that threaten to tear every union apart into divisive separation.
Liberating collaboration sustains wholesome co-inherence, through Christ, in the Spirit, even when theological language, such as this, has been long forgotten, because the Spirit of truth is everywhere present and fills all in all. These mysteries were always ineffable, transcending all known ways to express them. Secular cultures are not excluded when integral wisdom begins to open to fresh ways of uniting love and freedom, discovering new modes of liberating collaboration. These wondrous openings address the crisis of disintegrating centralisation in effective and wholesome ways, although they regularly transcend old, well-tested concepts that have worked for generations. Wisdom is not sustainable if it is insight bereft of the equanimity of graced stillness and grounded peace. Awareness divorced from loving presence is sharp but unkind, incapable of holding steady at the still centre, generously forgiving in the midst. Rigid, reactive mind-sets are all undone, here, where radical openness alone is capable of listening as well as co-operating. Wisdom abides at centre where spontaneity and freedom come up with wondrous ways to co-operate that combine liberation with collaboration. Wisdom sustains wholesome co-inherence instead of disintegrating into divisive separation, preventing culture wars from destroying all that is held in common by all.
Listening to the kindly voice of wisdom sustains a spirit of generous forgiveness, even in secular cultures that despise the sacred roots of hallowing forgiveness. Cultural differences continue to generate cultural difference, but do not degenerate into divisive separations or civil wars. That is because wisdom is present, gathering what binary thinking scatters, uniting what dualistic mind-sets separate. Wisdom is actually crucial in conditions of cultural conflict and threatening civil wars. Old pre-modern, modern and post-modern culture wars are all transcended when wisdom begins to uncover renewing ways of uniting liberation and collaboration, revealing the infused insights of hallowing co-inherence. They are transcended but included, not excluded, because wisdom is neither narrow intolerance nor shallow tolerance. Baffling to every rationalism, wisdom nourishes new openings as redundant centralisation gives way to wholistic, anarchic co-inherence, concentred but not centralised. Wisdom’s willingness to embrace unknowing liberates knowledge from abusive oppressions, freeing vision to awaken beyond the fixations of vanity and pride. All egocentric and ethnocentric power games are thrown into deepening crisis as healthy maturation gradually grows out of them.
Listening to wisdom breathes wholesome liberation into every kind of collaboration so that co-operation nourishes renewing depths of ineffable co-inherence. Wisdom continues to integrate the sacred past with a hallowing future, sustaining wholesome conservation along with healthy progression, but under new conditions where decentralised ways of holding contraries together at centre devolve in wave after wave of coherent devolution. Wisdom is radical openness that sustains profound coherence, holding together what neither exclusive union nor divisive separation, on their own, are able to embrace. Wisdom is indeed crucial in circumstances where culture wars threaten to plunge all kinds of partisan separation into incoherent disintegration. The regeneration of the world’s wisdom traditions is a collaboration that every liberating collaboration needs to sustain it. This is difficult to discern because secularism is blind and refuses to listen to wisdom. Secular culture is free, however, to outgrow secularism and to mature, along with ancient wisdom traditions, into a balanced and integral wisdom. Without the interventions of healthy wisdom, culture wars threaten to descend into civil wars and tear apart what unites us in our differences.
Liberating collaboration lives from healing co-inherence, as long as differences do not degenerate into divisions and unions do not disintegrate into warring separations. This is the wisdom language of Chalcedonian Orthodox wisdom, but each wisdom tradition has its own unique way of sustaining healthy openness without falling into divisive incoherence. Wisdom speaks to the heart of every religion and sacred culture offering regenerative ways of renewing each culture in ways that steer it through more recent stages of cultural development without disintegration. Wisdom integrates past and future with a timeless embrace that generously includes all kind of incompleteness in its comprehensive completeness. Wisdom also embraces decentralisation with a centred wholeness that lives from timeless completeness. All divisive exclusion is addressed when wisdom is embraced, offering fresh ways of opening liberation, together with collaboration, to regenerative modes of hallowing co-inherence.
Wisdom steps back from what is known in order to embrace what is not yet known, transcending past fixations as it includes what is of enduring value from every age. This step back takes nothing for granted but receives devolving decentralisation as a generous grace, assimilating its demanding challenges and welcoming its opening opportunities. Nothing of value is lost when wisdom transcends the past, just as nothing is excluded when wisdom embraces the future as welcome transformation. Devolved decentralisation is not dissociated dislocation as long as wholesome co-inherence is sustained at centre where all centres coincide. There are many ways to express the ineffable mystery of wisdom and glory arising at centre in the midst, but this recognition does not result in shallow relativism or condemn difference to the incoherence of dissipated nihilism. Wisdom cures nihilism together with the narcissism that subjects truth to fake news, aware that what is diseased points to sound wholesomeness at the heart of its easing. Liberating collaboration cures divisive collusion by integrating what divides into inseparable co-inherence. Wholesome love of wisdom embraces wisdom’s hallowing of every perception, even when culture wars are raging, promising to hold together what would otherwise fall apart.