Wednesday 15 August 2018

Sunset in the West

The philosopher Seneca who lived during the time of the Roman emperor Nero, sometimes regarded as a forerunner or type of the Antichrist, said that when the state was corrupt beyond repair and degenerate to the core, the wise man would not pointlessly battle against it but look beyond it to the greater cosmos and become a citizen of that. He would detach himself from worldly passions and remain rooted in reason, and so find his freedom in living above the messy disorder of the lower world.

An admirable point of view and almost certainly the one we should take during these distracted times.  And yet there is something in me that says we can't just turn our backs on the world. We have to continue, however fruitlessly it may seem, to point out its many and deep flaws. For if even one person is sustained and encouraged by that, it is worthwhile. If people who know the truth don't speak out against its destruction, how can those who are struggling against the corruptions of the modern world ever find support? We may be shouting into the blast of a mighty gale but to remain silent in the face of such a desecration of what is sacred and true is almost an act of complicity.

Sometimes people ask themselves how they might have behaved under the Nazis. Would we have been enthusiastic collaborators or would we merely have gone along with the regime without questioning anything too much? Most of us like to think we would have stood out against the tyranny. But that's easier said than done when practically the whole of society is pushing in one direction and goodness is defined as conforming to that direction with evil being resisting it. Because, you see, a very similar thing is happening today. That may seem absurd to many people but the fact is we are being led down ideological garden paths, indoctrinated with lies and falsehood, and most of us tamely follow the party line. In fact, we don't just follow. We believe it.

It has occurred to me that the supernatural forces behind the Nazis might not have been too unhappy when they lost that battle because they knew they could regroup and corrupt humanity using different tactics. This time they switched from a hard assault to a soft one. We were still to be made slaves but willing slaves this time for we would so react against the Nazi excesses that we would go the opposite way and throw out practically any kind of discrimination against anybody or anything. What is anybody called who fails to adopt the leftist ideology now? Why, a Nazi, of course! And that despite the fact that it is clear that most people who actually fought against the Nazis, such as my own grandfather and father, would probably be branded Nazis today for the opinions they held if these had remained what they were at the time of World War Two. Amusing, no?

When people are wrong about something, you have to ask why they are wrong. What is making them wrong? After all, truth should really be something to which our own nature responds almost automatically because it is true. What is true is right. It's that simple. But we have been gifted with free will and that means we can go wrong, go against truth. We have that choice. I would say there are two reasons for error, one centred in the mind and the other in the will. So first there is ignorance and then there is sin. Today much error is to do with the will, that is to say it derives from the rebellion initially against God and then against Nature, so first the Creator is rejected and then the creation and the natural order. This is all to do with the attempt by a created being to be its own god and create its own reality.

The rebellion against nature is one of the signs of a decadent civilisation. How does this manifest in our present age? Firstly, in the toppling of traditional hierarchies, those based on the natural order. Now these hierarchies can certainly be abused and become tyrannical but that does not alter the fact that they are based in reality. A thing cannot be defined by its corruption. So they might need to be reformed but they should not be overturned.

The rebellion against nature follows on from the rebellion against God, the creator of nature. This is shown nowadays in the almost total legitimisation of homosexuality and in feminism or what feminism has become for it had a certain validity at first as a correction to an over-balance on the masculine side. But it has progressed from seeking a fair opportunity to express a person's talents to a grab for ever greater power and 'top dog' position as the female seeks to usurp the male (just as the male sought to usurp God). But feminism has had a highly detrimental effect on women, above all spiritually but evident to the alert eye in their manner and even their appearance. It has caused them to betray their true nature in pursuit of a false reality. It has also been responsible for the reduction of grace, beauty, magic, mystery and love in the world, all of which are linked to the feminine (not the female) which is what feminism most despises. Unfortunately, this ideology is supported and promoted by those who wish to overturn the natural order of being to their own advantage and also because of resentment and envy. The cry of equality is a red herring. Equality does not exist in the universe and nor should it for the only true equality would be in a universe in which nothing was expressed. In a created universe, everything reaches its fulfilment by conforming to its archetype and not by seeking to appropriate the archetype of another. The idea of equality between the sexes is an irrelevancy. The sexes are not meant to be equal which is why there are two of them.

Western civilisation is currently pursuing its own destruction whether through mass immigration and below replacement fertility or through relativising its cultural achievements, easily the greatest of any civilisation ever, or through allowing lower standards to prevail in the name of fairness, diversity and equality. Boundaries, which protect as much as they exclude, are being smashed in the name of a spurious unity with the inevitable consequence of a vulgarisation of taste and culture. These are clear signs of a society that has lost its confidence and become tired of its own existence. Most critically of all, it is mindlessly allowing the destruction, both from within and outside, of Christianity which is its primary inspiration and the basic glue that holds it all together.

So this is a call to repentance, both individual and collective. We have to turn away from ourselves and back to God or we are lost. I started this piece by referring to Seneca and saying where I disagreed with him, but I will conclude by saying that basically he was right. In these days when the world is burning we have to detach ourselves from the always transient lower worlds of change and decay, and focus our hearts and minds in the higher world of eternal goodness and truth. We may not like being alive at a time of such spiritual decline but we wouldn't be here unless we were meant to be. It is quite possible that we asked or were, at least, willing to be born in these times so we should learn the lessons that they provide. Sometimes it's easier to turn to God in a world that turns away from him.


John Fitzgerald said...

This reminds me of recent speeches by Hungary's Viktor Orban, the only world leader - as far as I can see - who grasps the nature of the anti-Christian forces at work in today's world and appreciates the huge civilisational stakes involved.

Wurmbrand said...

A turning from the foreground chaos to the permanent things, to which great literary, musical, and pictorial art can give imaginative access. I used to keep a poster of Breughel's Fall of the Rebel Angels on my office wall when I was a university professor. I would often look at it and think: "News of/from the real world."

Dale Nelson

Chiu ChunLing said...

Simply put, we must not put our faith in civilization itself so much as in the foundational principles of morality that precede and either justify or condemn any particular civilization.

Avro G said...

I am reminded of Max Picard's The Flight from God. The world now flees from God, from repentance, from what is real and from itself. If it is forced to see itself it will have to see its own nakedness and sin. That is a terrifying thing to think about, especially given the depth of our culture's depravity. So it seems better to press on and to applaud those even more brazen than oneself because they make our own sins seem not so awful by comparison.

Moose Thompson said...

On the one hand, I totally agree. Clearly the west has been in decline in numerous ways for a long time. Even worse, there is a creeping belief in godless metaphysical materialism/nihilism infecting most modern people to one degree or another. So I agree with what you are arguing and the prescription to repent, I and don't mean this comment as criticism per se as I think writings like this are necessary and important.

But on the other hand something rings hollow with me when I read the broad brush pronouncements of how FUBAR the modern world is you and Bruce write. I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but allow me to ramble a little and maybe it will be come clearer. I welcome criticism/correction of any of my thoughts.

First, if we look at history, the rejection of traditional religion almost seems inevitable, like it was baked in from the start. In the past cultures were more or less isolated, so ordinary believers didn't have the cacophony of worldviews colliding that us moderns have to deal with. I suspect modern people have become numb to authoritative pronouncements on the life the universe and everything else. People of a certain intelligence and sophistication sense that not all religions can be true and also the human hand and motive to control in various truth claims. So it seems that what we see now is a necessary stage that humanity may have been intended to go through.

So where humanity is now spiritually, I speculate, is analogous to adolescence. Indeed I think one of you guys has said that before as well. But who is to say how long adolescence should last? Perhaps we have another century or two or even another civilization or two of this madness before we reach the next level of maturity. In any case, the answer to how long adolescence will last for humanity seems unknowable and therefore we are speculating and in the long scheme of things maybe it doesn't matter.

This also begs the question of divine providence. You guys seems to assume that we've gone somewhere we shouldn't have and therefore doomed, and that may well be the case. But how do you know humanity wasn't expected to stumble at times? I wonder, at time, how curated, controlled, managed, etc this world is and that is another thing I suppose we aren't supposed to know. But, if I recall correctly, the Masters told you Earth was a school - I suppose a moral and spiritual school. And if we look at the structure of the modern world, this sort of makes sense. Ordinary life experiences may have significance, even for godless. And if this is a school, we would expect things to be quite managed here.

Another thing I am uncertain of is really how widespread the acceptance of moral inversion is. I'm in the states, so maybe things are worse across the pond, but my conversations suggest a very large percentage of the population rejects the leftist cultural schtick. So some of the pronouncements seem overstated compared to my experience.

The one thing that seems especially pernicious though is reducing everything to material cause. This I do see everywhere and I think leads to nihilism and then demoralization. However, on the other hand, there actually is a lot of "evidence", even scientific evidence that doesn't fit the materialist paradigm. I find very few people that articulate this, and that seems like a strategic blunder on our side the argument. It seems like strategically speaking, discrediting materialism makes sense, but few seem to talk about it. I don't know why,

Such are my stream of consciousness on this topic. Thanks for creating a great blog here such i can ramble on.

William Wildblood said...

You make some very pertinent points there, Moose, and, though it may surprise you to hear this, I don't actually disagree with them. Our current situation is not simple because there are several conflicting elements involved in it. To begin with, there is the widespread abandonment of any serious religion or spiritual approach to existence. Often where it exists, it is superficial and subordinated to a more general worldly or secular attitude.

But there is also a reaching out to something more. Even the left has that aspect to it, albeit distorted and misunderstood. Human beings are not bad but they certainly have tendencies to pride, self-will etc in them, and I do think that these are being encouraged and stimulated by demonic forces at the moment. They always have been but now it is extreme.

At the present time, we are far from where we should be. Now, it may be that God and his angels knew very well this would happen when humanity moved from childhood to adolescence as you, correctly I think, suggest has happened recently. Prophesies from religion seem to indicate that this was so. That doesn't excuse it. We have free will and can always exercise that for the good. This appears not to have happened or not to have happened to the degree that it should have done. The stage of rejecting tradition was probably inevitable but we should have moved on from that fairly quickly to a new stage of seeing the truth in tradition but adapting that to our new state of mind. This just hasn't happened. We have become stuck in perpetual rebellion like teenagers who refuse to grow up. Of course, the timescale for transition may be a lot longer than one might anticipate but it surely seems to have gone on too long, judging by the state of the world today. Adolescence has only recently become quite the rebellion we now think of it as. In the past, it was only a brief stage, quickly gone through. So, judging by historical standards this phase has certainly gone on too long.

Yes, Earth is a school but you can fail exams! You can also retake them. Perhaps what is happening now is an exam. Those who pass move on to higher states. Those who fail will have to go elsewhere to learn the lessons they missed on out here. I don’t think in terms of eternal damnation except perhaps in a very few cases. I think the majority of the God denying populace will have another chance. We would do that for our own children so surely God would also do it. It may be harder for them as they have not taken the opportunities this time around but they are not left without help.

Probably you’re right and that many people follow the ‘leftist cultural schtick’ (good phrase) because it appears that that’s what everybody does, but they don’t really feel it inside. That’s why someone like Jordan Peterson has struck such a chord. But we do still need to make the next step and acknowledge the reality of God and do so in such a way that all life is seen in that light. I see too many people who accept religion but do so in the light of this world, thereby keeping their secular attitudes. These have to be completely thrown out.

These are my ramblings in response to yours!

Wurmbrand said...

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn on his Harvard speech:

---At the end of my speech I had pointed to the fact that the moral poverty of the 20th century comes from too much having been invested in sociopolitical changes, with the loss of the Whole and the High. We, all of us, have no other salvation but to look once more at the scale of moral values and rise to a new height of vision. “No one on earth has any other way left but — upward,” were the concluding words of my speech.

What surprised me was not that the newspapers attacked me from every angle (after all, I had taken a sharp cut at the press), but the fact that they had completely missed everything important (a remarkable skill of the media). They had invented things that simply did not exist in my speech, and had kept striking out at me on positions they expected me to hold, but which I had not taken. The newspapers went into a frenzy, as if my speech had focused on d├ętente or war. (Had they prepared their responses in advance, anticipating that my speech would be like the ones I had given in Washington and New York three years earlier?) “Sets aside all other values in the crusade against Communism . . . Autocrat . . . A throwback to the czarist times . . . His ill-considered political analysis.” (The media is so blinkered it cannot even see beyond politics.)---