Simply put, most Westerners assign no deeper metaphysical considerations to their physical incarnation in the West (which is understandable as most Westerners assign no metaphysical considerations to anything in their lives).
In spite of this, many are quick to express relief at having been born in the West rather than in some other part of the world. Westerners tend to base this expression of relief primarily on materialistic considerations, which usually manifests in an appreciation of one or a combination of the following: freedom, democracy, wealth, healthcare, education, equality, life expectancy, social justice, individual rights, functioning infrastructure, employment opportunities, etc.
Secular, atheistic Westerners and governments do not often extend their thinking beyond these material conditions. As a result, they pursue officially-sanctioned lives based on hedonism, self-gratification, and the selfish pursuit of power, wealth and status, all of which inevitably encourages a System of value inversion.
Unfortunately, many so-called Christians also fail to rise above the short-termism and superficial materialism that marks the System when addressing the question of why souls incarnate in the West and not elsewhere. Think of the charismatic prosperity preachers who equate the Christian faith with material and financial success. When I lived in the United States, I once heard the following from a preacher I happened to hear on the radio: “Why were you born in America? Simple. You were born in America because God wants you to be rich and successful! If God wanted you to be poor and unsuccessful, he would have had you been born in Bangladesh!”
Larger and more traditional organized Christian institutions don’t fare much better in terms of rising above equating Christianity with some form of materialism in the West – that is, above the System the West has become. Instead of the pursuit of personal wealth and success, most Christian churches connect the faith to some purely materialistic political or social cause – be that climate change or human rights or open borders or mass migration. The vast majority of organized Christianity works to inspire their believers to be a force for change in one or all of these areas in an effort to bring about improved material conditions or improved global harmony in the world.
I do not know a single form of organized Christianity that satisfactorily addresses the metaphysical considerations underlying significance of a soul incarnating in the West. Nearly all seem to regard being born into the System as inherently Good thing that ultimately opens opportunities to expand Systemic Goodness, be it purely personal and selfish – wealth accumulation, fame, power – or mostly collective and universal – social justice, material equality, environmentalism.
This is why I am grateful for Dr. Charlton, who offers an alternative view regarding the significance of being born into the West. Unlike the examples I have noted above, Dr. Charlton notes that at first glance, there does not seem to be much that is inherently spiritually Good about a soul incarnating in the West, which he (very accurately) identifies as little more an efficient System of soul damnation.
Seen in this light, being born in the West is the equivalent to being thrown into a soul grinder, which immediately begs the question – why would a loving God allow souls to incarnate within such spiritually horrifying conditions?
Dr. Charlton regards life as being fit for purpose - that is, souls choose the most conducive conditions for learning before incarnating in this world. He emphasizes that incarnating in the West is the result of a mutual decision between God and a soul made before incarnation, a decision that goes beyond potential material advantages and extends into deeper spiritual considerations. Dr. Charlton’s main point can be roughly summed up as follows – a soul chooses to incarnate in the West not because it seeks material comfort or advantage or the expansion of material comfort or advantage, but rather through the knowledge that it will inhabit a spiritually hostile world in which it will be given the opportunity to find its Real Self and God.
In other words, the soul has willingly placed itself in extreme conditions in the hope that these extreme conditions will essentially force it to make a final, and ultimate choice, “based upon the malign experience of sin.” The soul has chosen to put itself in a bad spot in the hope of discovering ultimate Good. Dr. Charlton elaborates below:
What do the social conditions in the modern West tell us of the nature of souls being incarnated in this era? These are, after all, novel conditions - unique in the history of Man.
We may potentially be able to reverse engineer our features and trends; that is, we may be able to discover the spiritual functionality, on the assumption that God has designed this world for the salvation of souls.
The features include a pervasive arrested adolescence due to a refusal to grow-up spiritually. This includes an extreme of adolescent detachment from The World, self-consciousness, solipsism, sensitivity, mood instability. Alternations between hedonistic excitement and existential despair. And the usual tradition/ parent detaching adolescent rebellion perpetuated to the point of subversion and then a satanic, systematic value-inversion.
So far, so bad - and the evidence of increasing demonic domination is undeniable; but the fact that this is allowed to continue should lead us to suspect that God is 'using' the evil with the intent of turning it to some good.
Specifically, it may be that the people (that relatively small and shrinking minority of the human race) who are born into The West include many souls for whom this is a suitable environment for them to attain salvation (paradoxical though that may, at first, seem).
Here is a guess. The Modern West takes us to an historically unprecedented extreme point of driving home harsh lessons; to the point that there is No Escape. The soul is finally stripped down to a level at which Life has nothing to offer, and then the soul looks at God... Eventually, there is nowhere else to look.
This is things coming to a point - this is the point toward which things are tending.
We live in a world of increasing incoherence, and this incoherence is increasingly coerced. What might be learned from an environment of mandatory incoherence, official insanity, moral/ aesthetic and truth inversion?
The answer: to experience these, each for himself, in the fullest possible degree; to have them strike deeper and deeper; past the many and superficial facets of personality and fakery; and in towards our true and divine selves. This is the confrontation that God (perhaps) is engineering; the starkest possible contrast between our naked self and the literally-hellish environment of The World...
A stark contrast leading to a stark choice: affirmation of that which we know (from experience) to be incoherent and nihilistic; or affirmation of God. That is, affirmation of love.
A hammered-home knowledge of meaninglessness, purposelessness and utter isolation in a dead world of materialism; and then, a direct knowing of creation, Being, and the friendship of Jesus Christ.
Read the rest of Dr. Charlton’s excellent post here.
Note: Most readers of this blog are a subset of Dr. Bruce Charlton’s readership. In light of this, I often hesitate to share posts from ‘Notions’ for the simple reason that doing so is likely superfluous or redundant. (I am also apprehensive about adding anything to Dr. Charlton's posts because I worry my added thoughts might not do justice to the subject matter at hand.)
Nonetheless, there are times when I am impelled to share and add to something Dr. Charlton has posted for the simple reason that I consider the post in question to be of vital importance. This particular share draws attention to one of those important posts. It is my hope that this share might direct the attention of the odd reader of this blog who may not be familiar with Dr. Charlton’s work.