Tuesday 4 July 2023

The yearning for immersive belonging, and the fear of self-deception

There is, and has been for many generations, deep yearning for a life that is one of immersive belonging

It has many individual and cultural manifestations - the yearning for the idyllic aspects of early childhood, for 'primitive' tribal societies, for a future "Age of Aquarius" in which we are all united with everything in a state of cosmic consciousness...

This intense combination of nostalgia and the hope of escape from suffering and angst; goes-with the assumption that this needs to overwhelm us, and that overwhelming is a measure of authenticity, truth, validity. 

In other words, what we want is that we ourselves, and everyone in the world, will be-transformed, will be-made-anew, even against our resistance. 

So; this yearning fantasy is also one in which we desire to be un-free; it is (perhaps covertly) a rejection of our freedom as having caused existential-loneliness, division and misery - it is a hope that this alienating freedom will be dissolved away into a state of blissful connectedness. 

I think that some such mistrust, even hatred, of freedom and active agency underlies the great fear of self-deception that afflicts - and too often paralyses - modern people. I mean, the idea that if we take an active role in attaining knowledge, then that knowledge will be tainted by our own wishful thinking. 

This, then, is the flip-side of the above-described idea that valid and authentic knowledge is - ought to be - overwhelming; that what is true must be irresistible

It is also perhaps exactly this feeling or expectation that underlies the self-annihilating spiritual death and chosen-slavery of the majority of modern Men

Modern man has a profound mistrust of himself; of his personal capacity and motivation to seek what is true and good - a kind of terror of following any line of thinking that steps out-with the overwhelming and immersive ocean of external influences.

Any other-person who is suspected of doing this, of genuinely working from-himself; may well become an object of fear or ridicule - and perhaps loathing. 

Even worse is when this is incipiently is detected in one-self: a thinking actively from one-self that launches-out beyond immersive external influences...

Stop It At Once! 

There is thus a profound mistrust of free and active, independent thinking; which mistrust is only made worse by the fact of its joyousness, and sense of self-validating truth and creative flow.  

For Christians, this self-mistrust may be made worse by some version of the conviction of 'original sin' - which conviction can induce self-loathing and a craving to be-controlled. 

So, in the end, Mankind en masse has willingly submitted to the mind-control of global totalitarianism - as administered by its converged and controlled pseudo-Christian churches...

And all the time The Answer - the path to escape! - lay unused and indeed rejected; located within the mind and capability of every Man. 


Michael Dyer said...

I had a thought yesterday as to how this might pertain to prayer. Jesus taught us to pray in secret, I suspect one effect of this is so that we know that we are sincere when we pray. After all no one is watching, it’s just you and God, and why would you even be doing it if you didn’t believe? Of course self doubt has few limits, maybe you’re just lying to yourself as an aid to comfort, etc., but on balance again, there’s no audience but you and God. And if a grain of mustards seed worth of faith is all that’s necessary, well then. This thought was also influenced by a CS Lewis essay where he mentions George Herbert’s “prattler”, the temptation to think “did I really mean it? I mean really mean it”. And it just came back again, if I didn’t mean it, then who was I talking to?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Michael D - A good point.