Monday 17 September 2018

Troubled Times and What To Do About Them

It's an amusing irony that many people on the left currently think we live in terrible times because of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, quite failing to see that it is their excesses and zeal for destruction that have caused these things. On the other hand, people who might be interested in the themes of this blog also think we live in terrible times but for completely different reasons. They see that humanity has turned its back on spiritual truth and substituted for that a secular version. 

But this secular version, liberalism by another name, totally ignores the greater part of what a human being is and thereby distorts reality to fit in with its impoverished idea of it. The modern left conceives of life as existing on the horizontal plane only, the material level, and dismisses not only the primacy but the actual reality of the vertical or spiritual level. Even those amongst them who do admit a spiritual dimension to life subordinate that to the ideologies of liberalism, apparently not appreciating that these ideologies are derived from a materialistic conception of the human being, one in which what it appears to be outwardly in this physical world is what it really is. Instead of subjecting their naturalistic views to the overlordship of spirit, they do the very opposite.

This is the basic difference between the secular left and religious right and it is why there can be no rapprochement between the two. Their metaphysical assumptions are too wide apart. Indeed, they are contradictory. When two things are contradictory, one of them must be wrong and in this case, it is the one that bases itself on a false and limited view of life. That is the left. 

The left is constantly expanding the domain in which it claims rights, economic, social, cultural and now even human and what passes in their eyes for spiritual. But actually this is just the inevitable development and working out of the ground principles on which their ideology is based, that being secular humanism with its foundation in liberty and equality. That would be fine if secular humanism were something that fully reflected reality but it isn't. It denies the greater part of reality, reducing it to its outermost expression. The left is also blinded by the fact that it has done some good on a material level to the deeper truth that it is fundamentally harmful to the proper growth of the human being. We are here to develop spiritually. Whatever aids in that process is good. Whatever hinders it is evil. In most respects, the modern left hinders it because its priorities are wrong. For instance, the liberty it pursues ends up being liberty for the lower, fallen self while its enforcement of equality merely brings a suppression of quality and lowering of standards. 

Jesus told us to love our enemies but I don't believe he told us to treat them as friends. We must be careful not to take words of his spoken in a particular context and misapply them. He told us to love our enemies but he was also scathing about those who did the devil's business and he exposed them as such. Did he love the Pharisees? Probably he did, but he knew them for what they were too. His love for them as children of God did not mean that he held back from condemning them, and revealing their falseness as those who had perverted the light that was within them. If good tries to be accepting of evil through some misplaced sense of fairness and desire to be 'loving', it will be crushed and evil will triumph. That is why we must point out the evils of our day though do so without hatred of those we see as defiling human nature. The ideal of hate the sin, love the sinner is a hard one to live up to but if we keep our hearts open to the truth of God and know that, however it may seem at the moment, truth cannot ultimately be denied, then we are safeguarded from falling into the sins of pride and hatred ourselves. Perhaps if we understood that the liberal ideology that puts the desires of fallen human beings at the forefront of their programme cannot possibly win in the long run, we would be more able to confront their excesses and deviations without undue antagonism in our hearts. 

Everywhere in the world there appears to be increasing polarisation. At the moment, this is mostly on the political level but there are strong cultural elements too. History teaches us that this cannot end well. Most people who read this blog will presumably lean more towards the right but I would strongly suggest that you do not allow yourself to get too involved in the current ideological battles. Instead, try to focus on the spiritual. I realise that the spiritual must and should spill over into the worldly, but when it does always remember that the spiritual is primary and that the worldly, while important, will pass. Don't let your attention be brought down to the world of change and decay any more than is necessary for if you do you risk losing touch with higher truths and getting ensnared in earthly battles. Keep your heart and mind on eternity. Know that these times were anticipated and that the apparent triumph of anti-spiritual forces was predicted. But that triumph will not last. God has promised that those who hold fast to the true vision of reality will be rewarded. Given that promise, is it really worthwhile feeling antagonism to those who are eventually going to lose the game and maybe much more? They are erring souls. Don't let their errors lead you astray and cause you to lose focus on what really matters which is your own soul.


Adil said...

Thanks for continuing to repair the broken spiritual infrastructure of our times. Yes, indeed, what we are doing is a kind of exorcism, and there is always a risk getting caught up in pride, falling for the demon itself when trying to bring it out. I must confess I often point out the wrongs of Them, when I should be more concerned about myself. As soon as you get caught up in that, They have the upper hand. And They are very clever indeed, you might think you are winning when you are only reacting to IT.

William Wildblood said...

"Falling for the demon itself while trying to bring it out". Yes, Eric, you're right, that is just the risk we have to be aware of without falling into the opposite trap of being non-judgmental. The snare for the spiritually inclined is that they let their awareness of truth lead them into hatred for those who profane it. It's a delicate line to walk but if we are alert to the dangers and put our trust in God we can walk it safely.

edwin said...

It seems to me that we are undergoing a great clarification of values. Here in the USA, I have seen many people who had heretofore identified their principal concern as spiritual being swept into the political maelstrom that followed Trump's election. To be a Leftist means having no other gods greater than the political deity of your ideology. And formerly mild-mannered people have become spewing fountains of hatred because they see what really mattered to them being threatened. I have been amazed by all of this and realize how many people I thought I knew were not as I understood them to be. It is as though a layer of concealment is being peeled back, masks are being dropped, and people are showing their real faces for the first time. I keep thinking about Dostoevsky's "The Possessed." Some polite and sophisticated liberals begin talking about a new world order. Their inspiration is demonic, but they don't see it immediately, not until they get swept up in the murder and mayhem they have inadvertently unleashed. I am awaiting your book "Remember the Creator." It is a great title, because it is in forgetting the Creator that all of our miseries come to be.

William Wildblood said...

Trump and Brexit certainly seem to be bringing things to a head. They might be serving to help make manifest the darkness at the heart of the liberal project in a way that less confrontational things and people would not be able to do. I've noticed this rage here in England too.

My book is not out until March I'm afraid. I don't know why it takes so long but that is the publisher's decision. The title didn't come from me but is something my teachers said. I do think it sums up the need of the moment.

Seijio Arakawa said...

I had the benefit of seeing in Toronto a very early version of Trump, and discerning the essential pattern behind these events. The moderate-Left candidates opposing these votes were essentially representing the status quo, which has been thoroughly discredited in the popular feeling. There is a strong sense that when people come out and say the basic system is working, we have a functional democracy, only certain reforms in the Left or Right direction are needed at the moment, that these words are absolutely hollow. And the optimistic tone of the words gives people an unconscious sense that they are being mocked. However, there is no analysis of why nothing works or how to fix things, which means people act according to the logic of despair.

Thus the choice for Brexit or Trump (or Rob Ford in Toronto) is not discredited when the positive promises of the person or platform being elected are not realized. They were not chosen as saviours but as destroyer figures whose primary role is to offend and stymie the bureaucrats and hollow men speaking hollow words, and this role they have fulfilled according to the desires of the population.

It just that the whole political process doesn’t solve much of anything... and indeed, people who are more intelligent but materially-oriented (who think the purpose of life is to have functioning plumbing) are pushed further into alignment with the Left. The best hope for these people is that some of them might “burn out” from going too far Left too quickly and being forced to adopt beliefs that are also incompatible with functioning plumbing, and that might force them to reevaluate what they believe in, and why.

Ron Tomlinson said...

>materially-oriented (who think the purpose of life is to have functioning plumbing)

Nice definition. Other senses of materialism I'm familiar with are: thinking that reality consists solely of things like space-time, fields and particles. Or: thinking that the purpose of life is to make money and/or to buy large yachts and expensive shoes.

Btw, I don't think that many scientists are materialists according to these last two definitions. They do believe in the reality of abstract entities such as numbers, minds, computer programs and information. But they don't believe in abstract entities that purportedly contravene the laws of physics (i.e. miracles, the supernatural).

But many are still materialists, I think, by Seijio's definition.

-- Tom Robinson

Chiu ChunLing said...

It's not fundamentally about what you think the universe is mostly made out of, but rather what is more important. Do you live to have plumbing, or do you have plumbing so that you can live?

Do you get married so that you can have a big wedding, or do you have a wedding that helps you have a lasting marriage?

Do the people exist to serve the government, or the government exist to serve the people?

Is the purpose of religion to realize your divine potential, or is your divine potential only serve to promote religion?

Do you have a car so that you can get to work, or do you get to work so you can have a car?

Not all such choices are clearly morally right or wrong. And people functionally disagree about the answers even when they are culturally sensitive enough to realize that they should avoid giving the 'wrong' answer. Which makes it important that we examine ourselves with a certain honesty about our own answers, how we're really answering them in our lives and how that differs from what we're willing to tell others.

William Wildblood said...

Spirit and matter both exist, just as inner and outer do, and each needs the other for the full expression of life. Reality is made up of the relationship between this essential duality. But one exists to make manifest the other so there is a clear order of priority. You might say religion, true religion, recognises this order but politics when severed from religion inverts it. As I see it, this is the real difference between right and left though the situation is confused by the fact that much that is called right is heavily coloured by leftist attitudes.

A said...

Could it bare any significance that we are only 15 years from the 2,000 year anniversary of Our Lord's crucifixion?

It certainly looks like some major shifts are happening in the Catholic Church with the uncovering of Pope Francis' personal role in covering up abuse and revealing of networks of evil priests.