Thursday, 23 July 2015

" If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him" - the vacuum after the Death of God

That phrase attributed to Voltaire " If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him" recognized that God served an indispensable function in the public sphere - and when Nietzsche stated, noticed and advocated that God was now dead - the reality of that death has turned-out to be primarily in the realms of discourse (rather than in the privacy of the individual mind, where God may still, often, be acknowledged).

The other famous phrase of relevance here is attributed to Dostoevsky and states that: Without God everything is permitted. This captures on the one hand the horror of a world in which evil is openly advocated and enforced under the label of Good; and on the other hand the demonic delight, and intoxication, at the endless new possibilities for transgression and destruction that this allows.

But discussion of this whole area of the post-God world has collapsed over the past forty-some years since I came to adult consciousness. When I read that old socialist atheist Bernard Shaw, I found a man who brooded on the absolute need for a 'new religion' to replace Christianity - and this was a theme of his writings for more than half a century: he even tried to launch this religion of Creative Evolution via some of his most successful plays.

So, despite his being a major figure in promoting the evils of Leftism, Shaw was not so much of a fool as to suppose that Man could live without religion.

But we are! - I mean that is the implicit conclusion of a million items per day of propaganda from the mass media, the education system, government officials and corporations. Their message is loud and clear: that God is Dead - and we do not need to reinvent him.

Shaw knew that men must have religion... or else! So did Fritz (Small is Beautiful) Schumacher - whose early works were based on the advocacy of Buddhist Economics, and whose last book was an argument for traditional Thomistic Catholicism.

When I read Robert Graves, I found another author who, like Shaw, was viscerally hostile to Christianity - but promoting his own version of Neo-Paganism (which turned out to be extraordinarily influential is establishing that new religion). Graves was a very strange man with innumerable odd ideas, but he was not such a fool as to imagine that Man could live without religion.

Anyway, here we are! In a world which has no religion, and has lost that understanding shared by Voltaire, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Shaw, Schumacher, Graves... and indeed everybody who had thought about the subject for more than five minutes: that Man must have a religion.

Is this a paradox - that Man does not have what he must have? If so, the paradox is there for all to see, in the gross incoherence, negativity and destructiveness of modern public discourse.

The answer is that "everybody who had thought about the subject for more than five minutes" knows that Man must have a religion - because we live in a world where nobody from the major leaders of public opinion, the 'intellectuals', from the Politicians to the People - including both the Mandarins and the Masses ever has thought about the subject for five minutes.

Five minutes counts as an impossibly long attention span nowadays. Nobody thinks about anything for five minutes without 'working', or doing, or engaging with the mass media. This was a revelation when I became a medical scientist - to find out that famous researchers had never thought about their subject for five consecutive minutes - and indeed stubbornly refused to do so.

(I became a theoretical biologist simply by thinking about the implications of my empirical research for a little while - although, of course, most theoretical biologists never think either, because they are too busy reading other people's papers and doing hard sums.)

So this is the situation. A few generations ago everybody - including atheists and anti-Christians - knew explicitly (and discussed endlessly) that Man cannot live without religion; now everybody 'knows' implicitly (but never discusses) that Man can, should and does live without religion - and indeed nothing else makes any sense to them!

Thus incoherent nonsense caused by not-thinking, has been take-out of Men's heads and put onto display in the world for all to see... but nobody sees it!