William Morris was prophetic in his witness to radical communion that holds all things in common for the common good, not state socialism but radical democratic communion, not state communism but radical, grass-roots democracy. His vision of co-operative collaboration and shared responsibility was as uncommon in his lifetime as it still is in ours. Yet, without it, there is little hope of saving the blue planet or its diversity. The roots of Christian radical communion lie in God the Holy Trinity, in the love that transcends self-interested exclusion, in the Common Good that generously transcends human-centric exclusion of other sentient beings. State communism falls far short of the glory of radical communion, just as state capitalism does, which is why the conventional war of right and left is no longer really functional. With deep roots in the Hebrew prophets, the Christian tradition of the Common Good stood back when the Emperor Constantine imposed Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire, continuing to hold all things in common in the wilderness, together with the living practice of radical communion, co-operating together for the Common Good.
Trinitarian communion is always radical because it goes to the very roots of power and greed to cure them, refusing to worship power, wealth or the machine. Radical communion has always had this cutting edge because it transcends self-centred abuse of power, with its rule of the few in the interests of the wealthy few. Wilderness communion never totally succumbed to these abusing powers, although it was forced to relate to them to survive. Its witness is still radical, even after centuries of co-existence with wealth and power. There was always the prophetic vision of a Christian Commonwealth that refused to relinquish prophecy or utterly quench its radical communion. Morris saw this beginning to flourish within the Arts and Crafts movement and the radical co-operatives of his own day, but both Marxist communism and Fabian state socialism fell well short of it. The desert held things in common for the Common Good over two millennia, but secularisation drove its uncomfortable witness to the margins. Some dream of transplanting it to Mars, but others seek to renew it on earth in the hope that it is transmitted anew to all.
Radical communion continues to bear witness beyond the confines of safe seats of power and control, recognising that Mars, once a blue planet, like the earth, is so no longer. There are still symbolic deserts or forests on earth that enable seers to step back to bear witness to wisdom, even though the powers that be always seek to silence them. But wise stillness, hesychia, does not quench radical prophecy, because it still listens to the Spirit’s unceasing prayer in the heart. Indeed, it is nourished by it and in turn continues to nourish it unquenched. Artificial intelligence can most certainly calculate, but is incapable of noetic intuition, of turning awareness round or of conscious participation in uncreated wisdom. Since it is wisdom that discerns glory, artificial intelligence inevitably falls short of glory, just as the calculative intelligence that designed it did. Calculation is not wisdom and never could be. Wisdom alone discerns the glory of radical communion, whose roots are hid with Christ in Holy Trinity. Mars may distract those who celebrate artificial intelligence, but not those who love wisdom, who thereby love the Common Good.