Sunday 10 May 2020

Can there be heroes in a bureaucratic totalitarian world where Resistance is Futile?

Not in the traditional sense, there can't

There cannot be a hero leading a fellowship of fighters for freedom and The Good; because there is nothing specific for them to fight, or beat; no wicked Emperor (or Vizier), no all-powerful dictator (just replaceable suits, puppets and drones), not even The Party nor a Ministry of Magic...

Instead a nebulous, all pervasive, globally-interlinked, bureaucratic-abstract System; to-which all are linked, with-which all are complicit, and from-which nothing stands altogether apart. 

Indeed, with things as they are; the idea of a hero defeating evil on behalf of a silent oppressed majority of the good masses, is unrealistic. The modern materialist masses overwhelming desire their own oppression - mostly tacitly and implicitly, but often-enough explicitly and aggressively.

So, even if the fellowship somehow did defeat the many-headed system - and succeeded in 'Scouring The Shire'; the would-be heroes could not expect the gratitude of the populace; but quite likely the opposite. 

So if group rebellion and mass resistance just isn't going to happen - because unwanted - what should Christians actually do?

Some principles are that whatever is done, we must do alone, or with (at most) a handful of like-minded folk (who we would need already to know). Our advantage is that we do not need to wait on persuading others, or developing consensus: we can get on with it immediately!

What is 'it' that we should do? Well, for our-selves 'it' must be to develop personal understanding: knowledge of what is happening in a spiritual sense.

As for evangelism, this understanding and knowing is also what must be encouraged.

It would be unwise, as well as futile, to encourage action in a situation when so many people are so wrongly, as well as feebly, motivated. Right motivation must precede that strong motivation necessary for effective action.

And if this 'plan' sounds just as futile, or even more futile, than trying to organise resistance; then we need to bear in mind that God works through-us - and anything of value that we personally do, can (and will) be amplified and directed by divine providence - to whatever degree is best.

Always bearing in mind that effectiveness will be calibrated by the divine against the eternal condition of post-mortal Heavenly life; and will not be aimed-at optimising our immediate comfort and pleasure in this mortal world.

Thus hope is sustained by faith.


My name is Matt said...

In the linked article making an analogy to The Borg, someone mentions a relief valve system. Being debt free, physically fit, and having emotional mastery might be considered a piece of that system. But I can't think of any other system that would be similar to Unimatrix Zero that would be a relief valve, other than living off the grid.

Bruce Charlton said...

mnim - I would say that living off the grid does no more than buy a few days, when The System collapses - either way, people need to start thinking about the spiritual realities rather than exclusively about material ephemera.

Matthew T said...

Yes, I was thinking about this after the original comment. I would guess that when societies get so big and complicated that an individual hero can't alter things, that's an intrinsic evil. It's intrinsically evil for societies to be that big.

It's reminiscent of the view that modern democracy is intrinsically evil because it's rule by committee which disperses responsibility.

Ingemar said...

Jesus knew this (because of course He would) which is why He did not promise the Jews a physical Messiah in the mold of David that would Make Judaea Great Again.

Jesus defeated the System by allowing it to kill Him--and demonstrating His power and authority over Death itself.

I expect no less from Christians today. This year I began active participation in the pro-life movement. It is one of the best practical trainings you can get today in confronting naked, no-holds barred spiritual Evil, as the pro-death crowd will use every horrid trick in the book to destroy you. I had the unpleasant experience of being cursed at for half an hour straight by a particularly obsessed man who also threatened to do physical violence upon my person.

Of course, during the lockdown our Leftists insisted that abortuaries remain open while our rights of public assembly were conveniently (if illegally) suppressed. This looked like a win for the System. Nevertheless, 11 locations in my state were forced to close due to lack of funding.

Where am I going with this? I suppose my point is you can't expect your (or anyone's) efforts to be a swooping kill blow against the System because it's frankly impossible. But everyone who resists the System is a stone in their boot and reminds them that they are not in control. Besides, the greater spiritual reality is that God hears the cry of the poor and oppressed and vengeance is ultimately His. So be patient, and oppose Evil in any way you can, no matter how insignificant it seems.

Luther Burgsvik said...

The amorphous, ruling system that you describe sounds similar to 'The Council of Ten' that governed The Republic of Venice for ~500 years:

"The Council of Ten stood somewhat apart from the hierarchy of offices but was proverbially powerful. With its secret funds, system of anonymous informers, police powers, and broad jurisdictional mandate over matters of state security, the members of the Council of Ten, along with those of the Collegio, rotated offices among themselves and constituted the inner circle of oligarchical patricians who, in effect, ruled the republic."

In the end, the Council of Ten wasn't defeated by individual heroes or itself, but by an invading army (Napoleon when he invaded in the late 1700's). Maybe something similar will be needed to destroy the system in the West.

Francis Berger said...

Not to disparage allies, but the ineffectiveness of organized resistance is nowhere more apparent than in the prepper/guns crowd who profess to live by the "give me liberty or give me death" motto, which is quickly being exposed as the 'give me liberty or whatever" motto. This is not meant as tacit, callous criticism; rather it underscores the reality on the ground and the nebulous nature of physically opposing the System.

I like Ingemar's comment concerning a stone in the shoe. When I contemplate the nature of our current evil, I can't help but think of communism. Communism in Europe didn't collapse because of any open and hostile physical resistance (though this did exist from time-to-time), but rather as a the result of something far more powerful and subtle. So you are right, Bruce. Open, heroic resistance at the material level would likely prove ineffective, but heroic resistance at the spiritual level will prove incredibly effective, first at the individual level and, eventually, hopefully, at the collective level.

We must remember that the spiritual level is where all of this really matters - and though it may not seem obvious to most, the Establishment's goals are primarily spiritual. They seek the damnation of souls. Damnation is far more destructive than any material inconvenience, hardship, or death could ever be. The System strives for spiritual destruction above all else. The most effective way to counter destruction is to focus on spiritual creation.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Francis - Following on - if resistance were organised, but with the wrong motivation (e.g. for hedonic reasons) then this would probably strengthen the forces of evil. They love to create two side, both of which are wrongly motivated; and encourage/ compel people to choose between them.

Doktor Jeep said...

There can be heroes but they have to be unsung or anonymous heroes. How often have, for example, hackers ended up in trouble for white-hat hacks because they let other hackers know who did it? They wanted the cred after all, which normal men would want because cred may, albiet indirectly, feed other needs or is thought of as potentially doing so. Like, to put it bluntly, it could get him fame=fortune=getting laid.
The heroes under this system will have to be the absolute freaks who can throw two ton monkey wrenches into the system and not say one word about it to anybody and take it to a lonely grave. But such men who are capable of that are not motivated to do anything.

Bruce Charlton said...

DJ - Good point.

Of course, if everyone scattered a couple of pieces of grit a day - quietly - that would suffice; but then if people were like that we would not be where we are now.

In the end, there simply has to be a spiritual Christian awakening in as many as possible for anything good to happen - and the churches have just abandonded their flock, so it is up to each person. And it has to be 'spritual' rather than ritual/ sacramental or communal, because those are abolished.

So each is spiritually responsible for himself. Which is how it really ought to be anyway, but now there is no alternative.

Bruce Charlton said...

@MT - I agree about size, but I have come to believe that the proper human size is more like and extended family than much we have known since the invention of agriculture. Once there is an institution, one is on a slippery slope.

@LB - Well, it looks to me as if The System is going to collapse, and quite soon. Indeed, I have heard (from personal contacts) that people are already starving in some parts of Africa, and will be dying in large numbers within a few weeks or less.

But since that collapse is being done by the primary powers of evil (who are not as stupid as the general public). What we have at present will kill billions of people, with no exaggeration - yet the powers are absolutely determined to maintain the current lockdownsocialdistancing. Such a collapse - engineered by demons and supported by corrupt and cowardly masses, will do any good unless there are changed hearts.

I don't rule out a war, but a winner would not be able to rule if the world is collapsing.

@I - I agree. We should strive to do what is right and forget about trying to predict consequences; good means lead to the best possible ends (where best is defined in terms of eternity).

Jacob Gittes said...

Is it possible that the "system" is partly illusory anyway? That the "system" can print and create money at will, using computers and algorithms. And as long as basic necessities are being produce: food, shelter, and energy, then the inhabitants of the most developed nations will limp long under lockdown, getting their unemployment benefits, walking around with masks on and fear in their eyes, but getting food and shelter, and some medical care?

I just don't think the "system" wants to kill everyone. You say that also, but believe that evil gets ahead of itself, or simply can't control outcomes.

I guess we shall find out. I'm going to go with the idea that the more interconnected nations are going to limp along, and continue to produce necessities and keep people entertained with Netflix, porn, and drugs.

But much of the developing world will suffer more than is imaginable.