Saturday 25 April 2020

On missing the core (spiritual) point about the birdemic

I have myself often missed the point of the current crisis; in the sense that I overemphasised that the epidemic is a fake - an excuse for totalitarian coup.

Whereas the key point is that even if this were a real plague (e.g. if it 100 times more common and deadly than influenza); a spiritually healthy society would not have responded as ours has.

And spiritually healthy society would have continued with whatever spiritual activities it regarded as primarily important, despite everything. It would have put the spiritual above the material; where it belongs; and without-which life falls to pieces.

Such a society would have recognised that sacrificing all of life to any monomania is necessarily evil - and a health monomania is a particularly insidious and corrosive evil (because so superficially plausible).

As it is - we have all the disadvantages of a real plague or natural disaster, but with spiritual consequences worse than the real plagues of the past.

The lesson of these times seems to be that 'society' is itself a insane, stupid and evil: all three. We are living the fact that all goodness and strength is outwith The System - in each individual, in families, and in nature. Probably, these are vital lessons that we absolutely need to learn.

And the price - which is destroying The System and bringing-down civilization - is ultimately worth paying, given that nothing else has worked; taken in the context of life eternal.


Bruce Charlton said...

Barry - I'm afraid I'm not your man for discussing Roman Catholic theology - you might try The Orthosphere:

Ingemar said...

What's so discouraging is that when you discuss the corrosive effects of the shutdown and its illogic with the Asleep, you hear the litany of "But but buts" and some double down on the propaganda.

I've even shared my own scientific expertise (as someone who worked in medical diagnostics) regarding why the testing regime (back in late February, at least) was spurious:

"But but but!"

Even now, as the many United States municipalities have admitted their coding cases were far too liberal, no one is willing to admit that they either believed the Lie nor propagated it. I think this is what Vox Day was referring to when he favored rhetoric over dialectic, but rhetoric over Truth is still playing into the Left's diabolical game.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Ing - The masses are actively supporting their own manipulation - which means it is not really manipulation but collusion.

The strategic demonic evil of the Global Establishment forms a circle with the embrace of this evil by the masses, evidenced by their entrenched resistance to truth and their clamour for more of the same.

This is not the oppression of innocence and weakness by cynical power, but a working-through of the consequences of multiple positive choices to join the side of evil.

I have seen this at work over several decades, building-up, in my professional life. The cancer began grwoing and metastasising some generations ago; with the Western apostasy from Christianity, the metaphysics of materialism, and the morality of hedonism. So I cannot affect surprise. Nonetheless it makes for a grisly picture.

Andrew said...

My understanding, from the stories of the behavior of Christian saints, would be to accept God's will in this! This brings peace. I originally feared the possible collapse of the present systems, especially the material hardship it could lead to, but to truly accept God's will even in the face of hardships brings a great sense of peace. To accept some suffering and know it is actually good - as Christ's suffering was ultimately - is the necessary outlook.

"Accepting God's Will in All Things" - I've heard many times over the years, and always had a hard time understanding, but I think this crisis makes it the most clear for me.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Andrew. I certainly agree that is what we should strive for, especially in the specifics of our actual experiences of life. But that does require us to discern God's will from the (more prevalent?) demonic will. Without discernment, we find ourselves accepting Satan's will, instead of God's!

Sonny Robinson said...

Years ago I remember reading an article by Obama's "green czar" (what a term) Cass Sunstein, in which he speculated that bowling leagues might have led to the rise of the NSDAP in Germany, or at least contributed to it. I think, as insane as that is, the key to understanding the elite's hatred and fear of us is right there. Community itself is intrinsically dangerous to them and they fear it. Keeping everyone home (and giving them a weekly allotment of medical marijuana, Netflix streaming movies, and Amazon swag) might atomize people completely, but they can still go in their backyard and lean over the fence to rap with their neighbors. And now they have more time (and more subjects about which) to rap.

Bruce Charlton said...

@SR - Yes. Another example is the mainstream left's visceral hatred of 'home schooling' - since destruction of the family, stripping the family of all power, is a lynch pin of leftism. Yet at the same time this impulse is so viscerally horrible that it needs to be denied and disguised under fake concern for social/ educational values.

Brief Outlines said...
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Sean G. said...

It took a few days for the truth of this post to hit me in the mouth. Spiritual practices should ALWAYS be put before expediency—or what are they really?

The birdemic has crystallized how effective modernity has been at keeping our focus on our brief, material existence, eyes fixed on the ground while we run off the edge of cliff and into eternity. We're more concerned with the quality and comfort of our path than what we KNOW is coming at the end of it, and whether there isn't something we can do to prepare ourselves.

I myself am guilty of fitting spiritual practices where they're most convenient so as not to interfere with my oh-so-important day to day life (that's ending sooner or later). If the plague was real our spiritual practices should be as urgent as they've ever been.

Bruce Charlton said...

sean - You're right. And it wasn't even as if (with an appropriate spiritual response to a birdemic) we would be asked to do anything extraordinary in courage in daring; just *allow* those who wanted to - to carry on living a human life - meeting people, touching, working at our normal work, going to church and other activities... Nothing extraordinary. Instead, the materialist response was easily manipulated into not merely ourselves cowering indoors, but compelling everybody else to do the same. Despicable.

Bonald said...

Hi Bruce,

I'm not one who usually trusts his intuition, so it has been very difficult for me to think about the "birdemic", as you call it. I've had such an immediate, visceral response that the lockdown is evil that I struggle to set it aside. Perhaps it's being a communitarian for so long that caused me to react so strongly when I first heard the phrase "social distancing", thinking that only great wickedness could redefine what I had so long defended as a core human good to be an evil.

So I step aside and try to think rationally.

Reasons my first reaction is probably wrong:

* Lots of people whose judgment I generally trust support the most draconian lockdown they can get and seem genuinely horrified by the thought of relaxing it.

* The powers that be no doubt take some satisfaction in the closing of churches, but they surely wouldn't deliberately damage the economy and the public school system.

* Some state governments here in the US seem to be looking for prudent ways to gradually re-open (while others are still ratcheting up the society-crushing control).

* Charity demands I give people the benefit of doubt.

Reasons it could be right:

* The media has been pushing hard to shut everything down and make us panic. We are getting into a social loop where dissenters are vilified and people are pushed to ever greater extremes. Thus, even when the press takes the right side on an issue, their dynamic toward group-think fanaticism quickly turns it reckless and net evil.

* So, rather than a good vs. evil story that the media tries to turn everything into, probably we have a problem of balancing competing goods and opposing dangers. In such a case, there need to be people pushing hard in both directions. Politicians can't strike a reasonable balance unless they have groups on both sides of the compromise pushing with comparable strength. As a communitarian, my best service would be to keep reminding people of the importance of what we're sacrificing.

* The tech companies, who are definitely are enemies, are definitely becoming much more powerful as we become more dependent on them because of this.

* Regardless, I'm unsure of our leaders' endgame. Is the goal just to slow the virus' spread enough to keep it manageable--we all still get the virus and millions will die, but spread out over a year? In which case we don't want to slow the spread too much, because fewer deaths now means either more later or for a longer time. (The fewer that die now, the more die in the fall.) Or are we to live like this until a vaccine or cure is found? Can scientists really deal with viruses on command like that?

Then I remember that it's pointless for me to try to make decisions about things I can have no influence over. Whatever will happen, nothing we can do would affect it.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Bonald - These are indeed some of the issues - although surely some are more important and powerful reasons than others.

"it's pointless for me to try to make decisions about things I can have no influence over" I disagree with this, in the sense that I think it is absolutely vital (a matter of salvation) to discern good and evil in these times - as in all times...

But in *these* times it may be (I think it is the case) that a very large majority of people are on the side of evil. There is a tremedous unanimity among the global Establishment and also the masses. If they are (overall) unified in service of Satan rather than God, then the task of discernment is extremely difficult - because it leads to a profound isolation; and entails an extreme confidence in one's own rightness (ability to discern) in face of almost everybody in the world who is convinced you are wrong, mad, stupid and/or evil.

In the past, there was the church; now, the main Christian churches have joined the mass majority. But have done so for explicitly secular and materialist reasons - which leaves open that they are all wrong at the Christian (and immaterial) level.

The destined task seems, pretty obviously, to be to ensure that each individual Christian takes primary responsibility for his faith. No hiding place.