Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Where did we go wrong?

One of the ways to discover what we ought to do (knowledge of which lies within all of us, but needs bringing to awareness) is to take a look at what we did wrong.

The basis of my analysis (which I have often stated) is that the West in general, and England in particular, had a divinely appointed destiny relating to the development of human consciousness towards what I have termed Conscious Participation.

This amounts to taking the modern scientific and highly self-aware consciousness, and using it as the basis of a spiritual Christianity embodying many of the aspects of early childhood 'animism' and 'anthropomorphism' - recognising that we dwell in a living, conscious reality composed of Beings.

Anyway, the basic (but approximate) chronology is that the Romantic Movement arose in England at the end of the 1700s, and heralded what was supposed to be the emergence of this new form of consciousness in more and more people. But what instead happened is that the purer and well-founded Romanticism of Blake, Coleridge and Wordsworth was subverted and hijacked into aspects of 'progressive'/ leftist politics such as pacifism, abolition, egalitarianism, sexual revolution (sexual license, feminism etc), communism and so forth.

So what happened that Should Not have happened?

Materialism - modern public discourse rules-out any reference to the reality of the spiritual/ immaterial. It was initially denied, not it is simply excluded.

This-world - modern public discourse denies any validity to anything other than this earthly mortal life. Again, continued existence after death was at first denied, but is not simply excluded as a possibility.

Empire. The expansion of English, and Western, influence around the world was at best a distraction from the spiritual poverty of the homelands, but even worse has spread this-worldly materialism almost everywhere. The true spiritual destiny of England related to England - it was for us to do as-it-were 'in isolation'; but instead of getting-on with this unique task, we adopted grandiose global schemes. These continue and have been corrupted to active evil, with massive and destructive UK military interventions all over the place - all of which seem to share the outcome of destroying Christian communities.

Impersonal. By multiple strategies - wholesale and universal bureaucracy, the destruction of marriage and families, the use of abstract procedures such as voting, laws and protocols... individuals and relationships have been largely eliminated from the public realm (except in the form of corruption for personal gain).

The mass media. The harms greatly outweigh the benefits, and the media have centralised and made-evil the major instrument of mind occupation and control.

The life of consumption. Living to consume is a natural outcome of materialism - is not what we English were supposed to do with our new way of thinking and being.We have become just-about the shallowest, fashion-driven, selfish, superficial, and self-destructive nation in history. This is inevitable if life is officially nothing but the attempt to maximise pleasure and minimise suffering.

There are other possible examples; but I'm sure you get the general idea... And the general idea of what needs doing instead...

Where we are now and how we live; our priorities and our focus, are not-at-all what was hoped-for circa 1800 - we are a very long way off target, and indeed moving in the opposite direction. 

What England should have done was indeed not even attempted, so far as I am aware, except by a very few isolated and little-known individuals.

We didn't try and fail, we didn't shoot and miss - we gave-up before we had even begun.


Moose Thompson said...

Isn't eating the forbidden fruit where we went wrong? Why do you think something extra happened more recently? I'm not saying you are wrong, but I doubt. If we liken human history to say a flower blooming or the development of an organism, we can see that there may be distinct stages human history goes through planned out in advance.

Sure there are many horrible things you mention regarding modernity and I'm sure we could add to the list. But think of the things we can appreciate about our situations as moderns (beyond the obvious physical improvements). The world contains more human souls than ever in a world with a huge amount of decision space where many sundry experiences can be had, lessons learned in relative safety. In day to day business the modern west is remarkably trusting and uncorrupt, in a world in which the global and historical norm is corruption and mistrust - I don't know that its all bad. We now have the luxury of living outside the illusions that our culture tries to box us in at and publicly disagreeing with those in power. I don't think we should take this for granted.

Peak 600+ years ago or so in the past and death lurked behind every corner. Quite a bit of it through violence. Human history is a blood bath. Just look at the Albigensian crusades as a small example. Wars for political religious, and economic reasons perpetrated through deceitful propoganda. And then there is all the slavery and cruelty. I'm not convinced that human morals were on the whole superior back then or that modern peoples sexual looseness and lies are somehow worse than the violence and lies of past peoples from a moral point of view.

Of course, that said, what is missing now, is a belief in God, which I don't take lightly - and indeed there is something about materialist metaphysics that I can only call demonic. On the other hand sometimes this criticism of modernity seems a bit overstated. I think there is some truth to the idea that it has always been the best of times and the worst of times.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Moose - I don't believe in Original Sin, which seems to be read-into the Bible as a way of explaining what Jesus did, why he was necessary. But the need for that explanation is mistaken metaphysics due to the takeover of Christian theology by (pagan) Greek and Roman Philosophy. With a better metaphysical basis, the need for this - the reason for it - its validity, disappear.

But what I am trying to explain is what has gone wrong in modernity. I take it that the impulse to modernity was valid, but the outcome has been deeply wicked. That is what I am trying to explain.

I can understand why you would not appreciate the depth of the spiritual problem we are in - since that is the normal mainstream belief.

But (as you can see from my books Thought Prison and Addicted to Distraction) from a Christian standpoint we are objectively the most evil society on record - perhaps the only society in which moral inversion has solidified into long-term official and mandatory doctrine; supported by propaganda, laws and regulations- from state, businesses, charities, all major intitutions and the mass media; and we are getting worse. This is most obvious in terms of marriage and families, sex and sexuality; but the phenomenon of inversion is very general in the arts, culture, science, religion... everywhere.