Wednesday 28 November 2018

What is the primary cause of the decline of Western civilisation?

Somebody who read my previous post here asked this question.  

In that post I said that the main cause was loss of faith in God and denial of transcendent reality, but there are other factors ranging from the hedonism and greed of the materially comfortable, to probable degeneration of human stock resulting from the preservation of those who in previous times would have been weeded out by natural selection (this is a simple fact, like it or not), to demonic interference and corruption which we are too feeble to perceive or resist, and so on. Many of these are connected. However, I see a principal, not primary but secondary, cause as something which is regarded as a great virtue (which is precisely the problem), and that is compassion. Or rather, it is fake compassion, the appearance of compassion, for this is certainly not the real thing as understood spiritually since real compassion is allied to wisdom and love of God. And this version has neither of those as it is not truly and intelligently felt but thoughtlessly sentimentalised.  

Our fake compassion is extended to everything equally regardless of what it is. In fact, its perverse nature means it is increasingly extended to the less worthy rather than the more so since, paradoxically as it may appear, but is not when you understand what is behind it, its real motive is destruction of the good. This may not be a conscious motive of those who respond to it but certainly is of those who are using and exploiting it

What are the criteria for judging what is more or less worthy? To understand that you have to see reality as spiritual which, of course, it is. Then you will see there is a hierarchy of truth, goodness and beauty. What corresponds to these in their higher aspects has greater merit than what corresponds to them on a lower level. This does not mean that the lower is less deserving in its own way but it has to be seen as lower or else it will obscure and even destroy, in this world, not really, of course, the higher.

This is what our fake compassion is doing. It is destroying truth, goodness and beauty. It is being used to level down and reduce the higher to the lower in the name of unity. A culture arises because it seeks to manifest the higher. It sinks when it refuses to distinguish between the higher and the lower or acknowledge that there is any such distinction. It can be a delicate balancing act to be able to perceive the higher but not use that to override the validity of the lower, and the fact that in the past we have sometimes failed in that is being exploited in order to eradicate the higher altogether. But real compassion allied to wisdom would be able to do this without any difficulty.

When you no longer have the idea of God as the centrally organising fact of existence you have to replace it with something else. Today that something else is the abstract notion of humanity, and humanity, abstractly considered, is regarded as just one thing with no distinctions within it allowed. It is seen in purely material terms and so everything is equal. There is no better or worse except insofar as better corresponds to this idea and worse is what goes against it. Compassion is defined as treating all humans and their cultural achievements in the same way, and anything that resists this tyranny (which is what it is) becomes branded as hateful.

It is easy to look at past generations and say they lacked compassion because often they did in the way we understand it today. But in our zeal for imagined progress we have forgotten the actual purpose of life in this world which does not exist of and for itself but as the means to know life more fully in a higher dimension of being. Any supposed compassion which ignores this is a false compassion which will cause more harm than good. And that means, more often than not, it is just an excuse to feel good about oneself. The greatest teacher and exemplar of love there has ever been, the one from whom we actually get our idea of compassion in the West, said that his kingdom was not of this world. We should not forget this and the implications of it.


edwin faust said...

As a young man I read Flannery O'Connor's comment that in the absence of faith, we rule by compassion, "...and compassion leads to the gas chamber." It puzzled me then and it was some years before I began to appreciate the crucial truth of the statement. By Faith, I think O'Connor meant trust in God and His Providence; by compassion, I think she meant the sentimentality that views suffering as absolutely undesirable and irredeemable. In a materialist view, suffering has no value and should be eliminated at any cost: suicide, euthanasia, abortion - all are not only justified but rationally demanded. And, as you suggest, all differences can constitute a form of suffering, at least for the aggrandizing and ever needy human ego. The search for a universal anesthetic, for a form of social organization that eliminates pain in all its forms, seems to be what we are about these days. But as suffering can be salutary, and as hierarchy is God's creation and, therefore, the condition of our existence, the levelling and numbness is doomed to failure and, ironically, will cause even more suffering.

William Wildblood said...

That's a very wise statement you quote there. When compassion is conceived materialistically, that is, directed to the earthly human, it does become sentimentality and can cause great spiritual harm.

Chiu ChunLing said...

Ultimately, the refusal to acknowledge valid differences in value between different purposes in life (with some being better and others worse) leads to the inability to distinguish valid differences in utility among the different means of life.

That is to say, the cause of decline is less urgent than the inevitable and now imminent outcome of such decline. What needs to be proclaimed far and wide is that the decline of Wester civilization is not just a matter of old white soon to be dead guys being sad about how the culture has left them behind. It's a matter affecting the future chances for survival of everyone who depends on the current global civilization.

Western civilization created the wealth of the modern world. The alert can already see the danger signs of what is happening to that wealth now that Western civilization is no longer fit to maintain it.

William Wildblood said...

It's a good point that to turn on the people and mindset that brought you to the point at which you were enabled to turn on them might be counter-productive.

Faculty X said...

I'd say the lack of direct spiritual perception abilities in too many Westerners. The Third Eye, as the yogis call it, is closed for too many.

Bruce Charlton said...

@FX - I agree - and, even worse is that when the eye Is opened, people refuse to believe in the validity of what they have experienced.