Wednesday 19 January 2022

The weight of tradition - our task

These extraordinary times are made the more so by the stunning inability to see what is plain. We are living through the end of a great tradition and long history of Western Civilization; rooted in Greek and Rome, and, for some 1700 years, the Christian church - in its various forms. 

Insofar as this reality is known at all; it is experienced as a weight; and that weight can be felt either as an astonishing (but intimidating!) litany of unsurpassed achievements in human endeavor - or as, just, an oppression. 

On the one hand, such a long and astonishing tradition is stunningly impressive; yet on the other hand it has been overcome. 

Has been... This overcoming of Western Christian Civilization has already happened, and we stand at a point when the implications are being worked-out. Our world has moved from a long phase of collapsing, into its current phase of active destruction. 

Western civilization has-been overcome; yet the ideology that overcame it, which hates that heritage (of Classicism, but even more so of Christianity) does not acknowledge this fact - and indeed, with the right hand, presents itself as both steward and patron of exactly that civilization which, with its left hand, it is destroying as fast as possible.  

If there is a dominant ideological mode by 2022; that mode is untruthfulness, dishonesty, misrepresentation, lies - our world is built from lies, and by lies. 

The spirit of negation has triumphed over the spirit of creation; and (such is this mortal life) negation has the purer and clearer motivation, feels itself the more justified. 

The long history of Western civilization has greatness of creative achievement; and also greatness of horror - its motives always mixed, its triumphs always disputed. (Such is mortal life.)

But the spirit of negation which has, as a matter of fact, brought-down Western civilization, operates from a baseline assumption of absolute purity and coherence of motive; it demands nothing less than absolute perfection - and when it fails to find this, it destroys. 

Such is the ideology of negation - it is able to be and demand purity and perfection exactly because its sanction is destruction. 

The world has changed sides; everybody with power, status, influence is (more-or-less so, but always) of the party of negation*; hence (most of the time) nobody is questioning where this is going, what the destruction is supposed to achieve

Recent attempts to describe the goal of the party of destruction - the nature of the world being-aimed-at - are risible, and largely ignored. Nobody asks the ultimate purpose, everybody is engaged in the proximate work of 'clearing the ground' under the (vague) assumption that something not just better but perfect will spontaneously grow to occupy the ruins of The West; will (presumably) grow from the pure seeds of motivation possessed by the destroyers...  

When such 'where?' questions are being-asked; the right hand briefly brings-forward and points-at some goal of the Old West - like science, education, art - and the powers of negation briefly masquerade as steward and patron, guardian and sustainers of all that is good. 

They have, after all, long since taken-over all institutions (bureaucracies, corporations, organizations), all the social functions. Whatever remains of the long tradition of Western Christian Civilization is in their 'care'...

Yet as soon as the discourse moves-on, the directionless work of destruction recommences.

The world now stands-within this ideology of negation. 

Looking outwards from it at the collapsing ruins of tradition; it sees nothing but oppression, hypocrisy, failure. Against such a litany of injustice and disaster, their task is obvious - the necessity of destruction is clear. 

And no matter how much has been destroyed, there is (so far) always more yet to do; the spirits of negation feel that little or no progress has been made, since so much of Western Civilization, of tradition, still stands.

Hence the raging impatience, the urgency that characterizes those on the side of negation!  

So this is the shape of our times. A defeated civilization, the achieved triumph of negation, the zeal of destruction. 

Our choice would seem to be a broken tradition versus nihilism. 

But neither will do. The one is terminally ill and living in a hospice administered by those who would murder it; the other, the mass majority, are destroyers - fuelled by a morality of opposition and inversion. 

Against such a world, each of us can bring the alliance of our-selves with God. 

We can oppose both senility of civilization and the nihilism of negation by taking the side of divine creation, and a providence that works from individual souls rather than from the crumbling sweep of history or the accumulations of negative, oppositional, destructive power.

This can happen only if the base of activity is withdrawn from the arena, and if the mode of operation is lifted above the material. 

Its 'effectiveness', as a life-strategy, depends on our capacity to align with the divine, which depends on our motivation to do so. 

Success (or failure) we must discern and evaluate for our-selves - mindful that this-world is on the one hand 'only' the means to an end; yet on the other hand, so long as we personally remain alive, we have something of potentially eternal value to achieve. 

Since God is the creator - maker of this world, and our loving Father; we need not seek for this personal task:

Life will bring our work to-us. 

Our job (yours, mine) is 'merely' to recognize that task; then to choose well.

*Note - 'The party of negation' is more commonly known as Leftism - but it must be understood that as of 2022 all parties are Leftist; including not just all socialist, liberal, progressive parties, but all centre, moderate, right-wing, libertarian and officially-religious (including 'Christian' church) parties. This because Leftism is rooted in the anti-spiritual/ anti-Christian metaphysics of materialism/ positivism/ scientism and reductionism - which assumptions pervade and dominate the entirety of public discourse. 


Pletho's Ghost said...

Once again, Steiner got it *essentially* right.

The future of western civilization lies, rather ironically, in the east, in Russia, which yet preserves some semblance of Christian tradition.

Probably why the cryptocracy is so keen to invade and destroy that country.

Bruce Charlton said...

@H. I agree, and Steiner also understand the reason why (which is why he got it right). My own understanding is heavily indebted to Steiner in these matters, obviously!

But I regard Russia as very much part of The System, part of the problem, and not an answer. They are just less inverted, less actively destructive than the Anglosphere and Europe.

A decade ago I had more hopes of Russia, but (for example) they have remained secular and materialist dominated; and therefore failed the birdemic litmus test (inxluding closing churches), so there seems no doubt of their fundamental wrongness in the spiritual war.

Todd said...

One man or woman planting a garden and saving seeds, and showing a child what you can create with life, is worth more than the output of Harvard at this time.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Todd "worth more than the output of Harvard"

That is setting the bar pretty low, since 'the output of Harvard' is grossly net harmful and evil.

An empty parking lot is 'worth more'!