Sunday, 28 November 2010

How *not* to be systematic: Orthodox Christianity and Real Science

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Mainstream modern management is characterized by an uncontrolled and uncontrollable totalitarian impulsion to impose system on all instances of social organization concerned with the production and distribution of valued goods.

System is understandable as meaning standard practices leading to predictable outcomes.

Libertarians emphasize the standard practices (impartial process) with outcomes being variable according to the outcome of competition and selection; in contrast political correctness emphasizes the predictability of outcomes with processes being adjusted to achieve a pre-determined end result.

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Modernity cannot even comprehend social affairs running without a system; this is because modernity is secular, atheist, materialist; has no higher human value than happiness and no higher concept of justice than system.

Consequently, modernity cannot conceptualize any possibility others than various combinations of system and chaos.

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But there is a third possibility, and this is to transcend the debate, move the analysis to a higher level.  In particular to move the debate to the religious level.

At the religious level the dichotomy of system and chaos is transcended by the ordering capability of divine guidance and intervention.

Minus a belief in the reality of divine guidance, system is supreme as a principle of order and tends inevitably and unstoppably towards totalitarianism - and the only alternative is chaos.

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For many hundreds of years - there was no 'system' for choosing the Emperor of the Byzantine Roman empire, and this lack of system was deliberate. 

All possible systems to select the Emperor were regarded as merely human creations (hence inevitably partial and corrupt), while the choice of Emperor was supposed to be made by God (the Emperor was God's representative on earth). 

The Byzantine attitude was that the correct choice of new Emperor would emerge with divine guidance, so long as the society was devoutly Christian and sincerely asked for God's guidance.

The idea was that this deliberate lack of system would lead to the 'best' choice - best from a divine perspective, which might mean a 'bad' Emperor for a while, as an instrument of divine punishment for heresy or lack of devotion.

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And for the past two millenia or so, the Christian Orthodox church has had no centralized and formal system of authority; no final court of appeal. 

This could be expressed as a long list of negatives - there is no Pope or senior priest (the nearest being five senior Bishops), no final authority (the nearest being some early Ecumenical Councils), multiple national jurisdictions which are diverse and independent, no clear centrality of doctrine or training for priests or formal criteria for ordination...

These are negatives - but the negatives are (on the whole) deliberate; because in a positive sense, such lack of system leaves more space for the operation of the Holy Spirit by more possible routes and means. 

Naturally, this is only effective (even in theory) when many or most people people are devout and sincere, and especially when some are extremely holy (spiritually advanced).

In particular, Saints - before their death - have authoritative knowledge of higher things (living both on earth and in heaven simultaneously) - although even here the humanity of the Saint and (especially) of those less advanced souls trying to understand the Saint, mean that the Saint is not 'infallible' in a legalistic sense.

(The true Saint will speak the Truth, to the best of his ability in that time and place; but may not be correctly understood.)

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Essentially (as I understand things), the focus of authority in Orthodoxy is located in 'the Church' conceptualized in an ideal fashion, as the collective mind of those who are devout, divinely-ordained and spiritually-advanced (each of whom has limited knowledge, prone to error and may be corruptible). 

But who decides who these people are who are are 'devout and spiritually advanced'?

The answer is (roughly) those who are also devout and spiritually advanced.

And there is Revelation - written evidence and oral transmission of how to understand and interpret it. There is the Bible and the oral transmission of the early Church Fathers, and (perhaps) modern Fathers who are spiritually in sympathy with, perhaps actually in touch with these sources...

In effect, there are multiple loops of loose and slow influence and feedback, through which the Holy Spirit may (via devout souls) shape the Church over the generations.

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From the modern Western perspective all this is perceived merely as lack of system and equated with chaos.

Indeed, from a Roman Catholic perspective, Orthodoxy is often perceived as being anarchic (due to their denial of the Pope's supreme authority) - hence merely chaotic.

Or else Orthodoxy may be perceived as systematic but exhibiting circularity of reasoning of the 'whatever happens is good' variety - by which deficiencies are arbitrarily re-labelled as strengths.

In other words, that the Orthodox choice to use 'tradition' as authority, and to keep traditional mostly undefined, is arbitrary.  

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However, this criticism of 'arbitrary circularity' applies to all human systems without exception when they are evaluated using materialistic, non-transcendent criteria; and the more highly systematic the human system, the more arbitrary.

At the highest moral level of secular modern organization - political correctness - there is the 'arbitrary' decision to regard abstract systems of principled human allocation as the highest authority. 

And in secular right wing (libertarian) socio-politics (the less powerful, less moral and more hedonic form of partial-PC) there is an equally arbitrary decision to regard the outcomes of markets as the highest authority, or the outcome of scientific processes, or the outcome of democratic procedures.

And within religions, the Orthodox point to the primacy (and 'infallibility') of the Papacy as an artificial (and - the Orthodox would claim - arbitrary) mechanism for terminating dissent and increasing the temporal (not spiritual) power of the church. 

The institution of Papal infallibility is seen as system which many be advantageous in the short term, but which renders the Church more humanly corruptible and less susceptible (i.e. susceptible by fewer channels) to the influence of the Holy Spirit.

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Science provides a further example. I believe that real science can only survive in a society which acknowledges the reality of the transcendent; because otherwise arbitrary system (specifically peer review) will displace real science on the basis that it is reducing chaos.

So modern mainstream careerist professional scientists all regard the science of the past as chaotic; and see the application of formal systems of peer review to science (to all evaluations: education and training, appointments and promotions, grants and publication, prizes and prestige) as evidence of scientific progress (increase of order, reduction of chaos) - when in fact this is merely the imposition of arbitrary system: the imposition of scientific totalitarianism.

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Yet, real science in the past was not more-chaotic, it was instead orientated towards a transcendental understanding of science as Truth.

Science in the past therefore had this spiritual aspect, which is closely analogous to the operation of Orthodox Christianity (albeit at a lower and more partial level).

In real science of the past, scientists could, and did, have a court of appeal above and beyond formal procedure - a level of authority and validity above the formal processes of peer review. 

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In other words, real science had a transcendent level above peer review against which peer review could be evaluated, which regards peer review as merely a means to an end and equally capable of harm as benefit.

Indeed systems such as peer review are intrinsically harmful when regarded as valid in their own right, because they impose upon the transcendent, eventually make invisible (hence impossible) the transcendent. 

Transcendent scientific Truth was that which the most honest, devout and idealistic scientists pursued directly and unsystematically, with feedback not being abstract, formal and explicit but mainly coming from other honest, devout and idealistic scientists in a process that was circular only at a materialist and worldly level - but which was constantly and sincerely being referenced to a higher and transcendental level.

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My take-home point is that there is a coherent alternative other than chaos to the current Western trend for ever-increasing bureaucratization and abstract systematization of human society, an alternative to the ever-increasing subordination of humanity to abstract procedures and allocations.

But that alternative involves moving the debate to a higher and religious level, and regarding systems in terms of serving divine rather than human purposes.

So long as we stick at the level of secular materialism, the trend will be towards the extinction of human agency: the trend will be towards totalitarian political correctness.

Totalitarianism versus chaos; a totalitarianism of arbitrary systems or a chaos versus the arbitrary lack of such systems: these are the only coherent alternatives for a secular materialist society, and secular materialist societies will always be moving toward the one or the other because no other alternatives make any sense.

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Addendum

The nature of totalitarian secular political correctness is encapsulated in the words of that great prophet of modernity: Saruman, in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, when he says:-

"We can bide our time (...) keep our thoughts in our hearts, deploring maybe evils done by the way, but approving the high and ultimate purpose: Knowledge, Rule, Order, all things that we have so far striven in vain to accomplish, hindered rather than helped by our weak and idle friends."  

For Saruman, lined-up against Ignorance, Anarchy and Chaos there is only Knowledge, Rule and Order: the alternatives are therefore primitive disorder or a unified, consistent, totalitarian system. 

He therefore envisages a system of imposed behavior which (arbitrarily) has Saruman at the summit - who happens to be immortal - but which in principle might equally be headed-up by Sauron, or Gandalf (who are 'angels/ demons'), or even Elrond or Galadriel (immortal humans - i.e. elves) as its ultimate authority. 

But for Saruman's (ultimately triumphant) rival Gandalf, by contrast, the totalitarian systemization of 'Knowledge, Rule, Order' must be subordinated to divine purpose (which necessarily includes the free will of autonomous individuals) and divine providence (the operation of which is merely impaired by wholesale and arbitrary systemization). 

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5 comments:

a Finn said...

Your most important article, especially the part about Byzantine orthodoxy. A victory song:

"That you drove away the slavery,
And that you did not bend under oppression,
Your day has come, O land of birth."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfx4J6aL3dE

Practical examples of Byzantine processes would be useful in the future articles.

Thoughts:

- System consists of predictable and on average fairly stable and permanent processes; mostly little adjustments and changes are done here and there, mostly according to predetermined formulas. Thus the system means relative permanence of processes; relative permanence of positions connected to them; relative permanence of people or types of people connected to those positions; and relative similarity of interests connected to those positions, both in particular fields and in the system in general. This allows three types of secular corruptions:

1) Outsiders know their own interests and they can relate and connect predictably those interests to the predictable processes, positions, people (e.g. PC bureaucrats), etc. in the system. Outsiders use money, power, advice, intellectual manipulation, collective action, personal close relations, etc. to bribe, influence, manipulate etc. the system to their favor.

2) People working for the system know individually and collectively, in whole or in part their interests and can influence, manipulate, bribe, "correct", adjust, etc. the system to their favor. Individually these interest might be fairly harmless, i.e. perhaps mildly harmful, but collectively they create serious problems and they have the tendency veer out of control, also more or less out of control of the people working for the system.

3) The abstractly defined processes of the system have unintended consequences, and their development through time, interaction between them and interaction between the system and it's environment, competing systems, groups and individuals create further corruptions. Processes of the system can't react to these and change accordingly even if people steering them wanted to (and mostly they don't want), because parts of the system and it's processes are interconnected according to formulas and schematized information about events, peoples, histories, developments, predictions etc., and changing one process significantly would require changing every interconnected part in the whole system every time one part requires it (impossible).

Thus secular system = unavoidable corruption in the system increasing as a function of time.

- Secular right, by demanding impartial processes, which are dependent on the system and it's bureaucracies/ de facto bureaucracies are doomed to lose, because:

a) There are no such thing as impartial processes and system (referring to the previous points).

b) Interests of those who would regulate, observe, influence (it doesn't work without influence in practice) and punish subjects in the "impartial" system are by definition above the subjects in power and possibilities. Their relation to the system is arranged in such a way that their interests automatically point towards abstract altruism ---> their direction of automatic degeneration, no matter what is the starting point and situation, no matter who are the people starting this system, no matter what is the constitution, processes and laws of such system. These interests are as automatic as the general interests of private entrepreneurs below the highest status and highest wealth entrepreneurs. The highest status/wealth entrepreneurs can't go much up, but they can go all the way down, so they have a tendency to collaborate with bureaucracies and the state to make the situation static and to prevent entrepreneurs under them from displacing them. Thus they favor and support big state and big bureaucracies.

Continued ...

a Finn said...

Part 2.

- What is the thinking of the abstract altruist system like? How it sees the people and environment around it? What are the limits it perceives? Slightly metaphorical language, but deadly serious.

a) The present liberal PC system is an inversion of the sovereignty.

Sovereignty was the only truly individualized, permanent and visible person in the sovereignty system. Other people, subjects, had an intermittent and partial existence, and versatile existence when they were taxed, punished in spectacles, when they participated in celebrations and processes, when they gave services to the crown, etc.

The sovereignty is limited by other sovereignties at the borders. It generally expands by war.

The sovereignty targets mainly bodies, and through and with the help of them, minds, e.g. the spectacle of public execution, lasting impact on minds, increases the internalization of power relations. This makes discontinuous power more continuous.

In the present liberal system the power is opaque or invisible, omnipresent, deindividualized (not dependent on any particular individual), omniseeing, continuous, etc. The people, the subjects are fully and permanently individualized, they are always visible to the power. They go automatically, starting from the birth, through system's stages, progressions, and processes, during which they are recorded; divided into classes, types and categories; measured, assessed, defined and written into various schematized universally applicable and accessible stories; observed, punished, rewarded, guided, taught and influenced. All these have a tendency to become more finely defined and divided, and more finely realized in the processes. The subjects are continually and permanently surrounded by ectoplasm of numbers and words, from birth to death.

Liberal PC system targets mainly the minds of it's subjects, but it's ultimate purpose are docile, obedient, and coherently (according to the systems rules and definitions) functioning and cooperating bodies.

The limits of abstract altruist system are the outliers, the unassimilated, the dysfunctional, the unknown, etc., i.e. anything that is outside it's normal distributions or inoperable with them. System thinks through these distributions. The normal distributions (I am not referring to the shape of the Bell curve, but it's position), the basic distributions, in Western countries are the whites, their quantities and qualities, and others are compared to this baseline. Distributions are the food of the system, the system needs distribution foods to be able to function. The baseline distributions of whites are the basic amount of basic food, needing just basic upholding, maintaining and corrections. Whites don't provide much extra work outside normal, whites are insipid. The system wants more abundant, nutritious and delicious foods; seriously dysfunctional and inoperable distributions, which need perhaps permanent assiduous extra work (work provides livelihood/ money, status, careers, etc.); corrections; normalizing; process adjustments and regulations; new processes; etc. The system constantly searches, sucks into itself and secures new unassimilated and dysfunctional distribution foods. System constantly recycles everything towards normal distributions.

At the same time the system is dependent on whites' resources. Whites can refuse to give the resources. And at the same time system thinks it is or is above the whites in status and power. This combination (basic low calorie distributions of whites + dependency on whites' reaources + the threat of whites withholding the resources and subverting the system + higher perceived status and power) creates the system's pathological hatred towards whites.

Continued ...

a Finn said...

Part 3.

Thus the rational thinking of the system is at the level of insect, which is compulsively and constantly hungry for new distributions and hates whites pathologically. We are ruled by a huge insect that hates us. It doesn't have any morality, any positive feelings towards us, any limits on it's possible negative behavior. If and when it does something to whites, which those whites think is good, it is because the system has to do so to uphold the system. The system strives towards independence from whites with various methods, including so called race replacement by mass immigration. Immigrants are on average more dependent on the system than whites and the system less dependent on immigrants. If and when the system reaches such situation that it can somehow acquire enough resources to it's extravagance without whites and feels secure without whites, mass murders of whites by the system are possible.

This is aggravated by the nature of the system/bureaucracy; it's functions and processes are divided into fairly small impersonal, fairly abstract and distant (distant from the people) tasks. This reduces the feeling of responsibility, feeling of morality, feeling of positive emotional attachment towards the targets of it's functions, and reduces contact surface with the mass murdering (In matter of fact bureaucracies can externalize the whole mass murdering). According to researcher Stanley Milgram, these kinds of conditions makes mass murdering easier and more likely.

This is the crowning achievement of secular science and secular bureaucracies; hateful insect system, inclined toward tyranny.

This is why we must remove the present system, and create a "system" without a system.

This is part of the reason why we whites must kneel down in front of God, repent and change our ways.

a Finn said...

Additions.

More accurately, the added word is surrounded by stars: "... collectively they create serious problems and they have the tendency veer out of control, also more or less out of control of the *individual* people working for the system."

I wrote: "In the present liberal system the power is opaque or invisible, omnipresent, deindividualized (not dependent on any particular individual), omniseeing, continuous, etc. The people, the subjects are fully and permanently individualized, they are always visible to the power."

- More accurately: Omniseeing system and always visible people means that the system is nearly omniseeing in ways that are important to the system. The system knows almost all the persons born into the system and records them with social security numbers etc.; the system records almost all the firms in the system and knows approximately or close to accurately how much they must pay taxes; the system knows the progression and school results of almost all the students; etcetera.

bgc said...

Thanks. Some valuable points here for future consideration.