Monday 11 November 2019

More on the false concept of 'Holiness Spirals'

Not only do Leftists Not engage in Holiness Spirals - HSs don't exist as a phenomenon; assuming (as Christians do) there is a such a real-thing as spiritual Holiness.

There is no tendency (or, at least, it is extremely rare) for Holiness to spiral out of control. Holiness is too difficult to spiral!

The tendency goes in the opposite direction - to spiral into worldliness, not Holiness.

Of course, if Holiness is equated with hypocrisy; i.e. if all possible examples of Holiness are interpreted as being necessarily hypocritical 'virtue signalling' - then that does indeed spiral out of control, in order to cover for itself.

But if Holiness is a real and spiritual thing; then this is not so.

'Spiral' implies an innate tendency towards positive feedback; the idea that when once something has started, it will not tend to revert to the starting point (negative feedback) nor will it go to the opposite extreme (like a pendulum swing) - but will instead become more extreme with accelerating rapidity.

And indeed there is this quality about Leftism: it feeds-off-itself until...

Well what exactly?

Positive feedback mechanisms can only end by destroying themselves. Does Leftism destroy itself? In a material sense - yes; but for a Christian, the essence is spiritual. And in this spiritual sense, Leftism is a type of evil; indeed the dominant mode of evil in the modern world.

In this spiritual sense, Leftism leads to more Leftism without any necessary end-point - just as evil can always become more evil.

Neither Leftism nor evil more generally can continue to completion - because evil is purposive, and purpose has an ineradicable element of divine creation. A parasite kills itself when it consumes its host - but in the case of evil, the parasite is part of the same creation as the host. But evil can always become more evil, like an asymptotic curve.

So, Leftism may well (almost certainly will) destroy our civilisation, with the death of many billions worldwide who depend on this civilisation to sustain the seven-fold global population growth since the industrial revolution.
However, the spiritual harm of Leftism - the value inversion, the self-chosen damnation - could in principle just keep increasing and increasing: as evil feeds upon evil.

In sum, from a Christian (hence spiritual) perspective; Holiness is the wrong term, Spiral is actually a negative attribute; and the common assumption that Holiness Spirals are self-limiting is not necessarily true.

If there is a spiritual limit to the harm of Leftism, it comes not from intrinsic properties of Leftism; but from that which is Not Leftism: that which is Good.

God is the only antidote to Leftism.


Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Your blog is the first I've ever heard of "holiness spirals." Where does the concept come from?

Bruce Charlton said...

@I don't know.

Epimetheus said...

I'm not certain, but it might've been coined by the guy at Jim's Blog.

Otto said...

Wm Jas,

As I encountered it before, the term used was "Purity Spiral" not "Holiness Spiral". And it referred not to increasing amounts of being holy, but to increasing amounts of accusations of unholiness, in other words '"Excommunication Spirals" or "PC spirals".

Bruce Charlton said...

Purity Spiral (PS) is - presumably - directed against the puritans who (as a class) evolved towards Leftism. Purity Spiral fails - like HS - to distinguish between real purity and hypocritical purity.

Indeed the term has a built-in assumption that all claims of purity or attempts at purity are hypocritical and politically-motivated - it thereby links motivations towards purity/ holiness to Leftism.

This fits with my observation that those who deploy/ promote such terms as Purity or Holiness Spiral, explicitly wish to avail themselves of the sexual revolution - especially extramarital promiscuity. Usually this is explicit - I am merely connecting the dots.

So the particular demonic temptation behind the use of PS/ HS in analysis would seem to be the idea/ assertion that there can be such as 'thing' an anti-Leftism that is pro-sexual revolution.

Opposition to the promiscuity aspect of the sexual revolution is being labelled (by PS/ KS) as intrinsically hypocritical and Leftist.

In total contrast, I regard the sexual revolution - including the promotion and celebration of extra-marital promiscuity - as a major mode of Leftism through its history, and by far the dominant mode ver the past fifty-plus years.

And in complete contrast to the PS/ HS complex; I assert that the only non-Leftism is (some kinds of) religion; and any socio-political view, philosophy or ideology that is Not religious is (always) a type of Leftism.

Bruce Charlton said...

See also my critique of accusations of Leftists being the New Puritans

What I greatly object to is that Holiness/ Purity spirals, Puritanism etc. are being used as a secular, non- (therefore in practice anti-) Christian mode of analysis - applied indifferently between people who regard God as the primary reality and eternity as the the scope of life; and those who regard their own feelings as the primary reality and here-and-now as the dominant timescale.

In sum, these are Leftist categories. When applied to Christianity they tend to do what Leftist categories always do - subvert, destroy, invert...

Bruce B. said...

I suspect some of the people who come up with these concepts are fake internet personas. I know you are not fake because you use your real name and are a publicly known figure.

Bruce Charlton said...

@BB - That's a good point. The prevalence of anonymous/ pseudonymous bloggers and commenters is an important factor in evaluation.

Most of the macho, tough guy, 'tell it like it is', no nonsense, street fighters, men-of-action, serial seducers in the blogosphere (and especially among commentators) are thus masked: they are personae - in the original histrionic sense.

They are only as likely to be what they assert, as actors are likely to be whom they portray. If you want a real hero, Hollywood is Not the best place to find one! If you are looking for authenticity and courage, anonymous/ pseudonymous bloggers/ commenters is not a promising area to search!

Some will be fantasists, some trolls; some are fifth-columnists, false flags and agents provocateurs.

Not many can or should be taken at their own words; anymore than we should believe the mass media, mainstream news, official announcements and documents, or NGOs. They are Not Even Trying to be honest or truthful - so any reality is purely expedient and accidental!

Charlie said...

Maybe a better term for the concept would be Virtue Signalling spirals.