Tuesday, 7 November 2017
Life outside The System?
In 1986 I read a book by Don Cupitt called Life Lines - which purports to provide a complete typology, a map, of possible spiritual lives. It failed to do so, because its assumptions were wholly reductionist, materialist and positivist.
(The book's, the author's assumption were indeed, covertly typical of modern intellectuals, and perhaps especially those like Cupitt engaged in what they suppose to be Radical Theology; in that for them the bottom line of reality - that which was assumed but not argued-for - was the Leftist agenda. In other words; the moral concerns and impulses of then-current-Leftism are the only assumptions that are Not subverted - everything else is up-for-grabs.)
Life Lines was, indeed, a typical 'postmodern' book of that era - critiqueing The System, but - because its critique was based on System assumptions, in-the-end arguing that it was incoherent to suppose that there was anything but The System - there could be no escape, no opt-out - because there was nowhere (no coherent thought-space) to opt-out-into...
At any rate, this was a work representative of the assumptions and mood among mainstream humanities intellectuals over recent generations.
Its error was that it excluded the divine; and the divine is that place and space which is outside The System. That which is divine in Man is beyond The System; and that is why and how we can (almost all of us) be dissatisfied by The System - because we do not always-and-inevitably view The System from inside-it; instead we are able (and sometimes compelled) to view The System from outside - when we are thinking from our Real Self, which is our divine self.
So it is neither unusual nor paradoxical to view The System from outside, to dwell outside The System, to yearn for a better life outside The System.
No matter how large, complex, pervasive The System becomes; we know what it is like to live differently. Of course, for much/ most of the time we are being propagandised, exploited, pandered, numbed and compelled by The System. But - unless we choose otherwise - we know with intuitive and experiential certainty - that there is more.
The role and function of modern intellectuals such as Don Cupitt and the other mainstream Postmodernists (such as Derrida, Foucault, Rorty, and the hegemonic theorists of liberalism, feminism, antiracism, postcolonialism etc.) has been to persuade us that what we know by intuition and experience is actually delusional. That the only reality is The System, and it is incoherent, ignorant, exploitative to assert otherwise.
The surface plausibility of this idea comes from the fact that The System controls communication and interpretation - so any writer, artist, musician (etc.) can (and will) be interpreted within-system - at least by 'authoritiative' and mass communications. The System assumes it is everything, and everything considered by The System thereby becomes a part of it.
As usual, the fault lies in metaphysics - postmodernists were/ are merely restating their own assumptions; they make assumptions, forget them, then rediscover them wherever they look - and take this as evidence proving their original (forgotten) assumptions...
Meanwhile, we - each of us - know differently. What is needed is (merely) a metaphysics that explains the validity of what we already-know.