Wednesday 18 October 2023

Leftist trends are a materialist distortion of innate, spiritual motivations

There is an analytic idea, which I took and somewhat adapted from Rudolf Steiner; and which I have found useful. It is that the leftist trends of the past three centuries (e.g. pacifism, abolition, socialism, nationalism, feminism, vegetarianism, antiracism, environmentalism) are materialist distortions of underlying changes in men's emerging spiritual instincts and motivations. 

Leftism is the greatest evil in the world today, because it represents a vast, changing, expanding range of materializations of spiritual impulses

The reason that leftism is a novelty in human history, is because Men have changed. 

And Men have changed ultimately and necessarily for spiritual reasons, reasons that are (no matter how much distorted) originally in accordance with God's plans of creation. 

That is, Man's nature is meant to change through history; in part because different civilizations and societies provide different experiences that are valuable for different souls. God made the world, and God made this way, and he made a world that was meant to 'evolve'. 

But, for God, reality is that the spiritual is always primary. Because 'the material' (which is also always spiritual) is a sub-set of the spiritual. Modern Man has inverted this reality by making the material not just primary but the only reality: in modernity, the spiritual is denied reality. For so long as the spiritual is denied its reality and primacy; we will live in evil-times - since our ultimate values (i.e. the deepest metaphysical assumptions that rationalize our everyday values) are necessarily inverted. 

Leftism ultimately derives from the inevitable distortions that occur when Man's spiritual evolution is forced-into materialist models, and provided with fake materialist solutions.  

We can see this everywhere, all over the political spectrum. A spiritual value, which has some kind of spontaneous inner existence; can only enter public discourse by being 'modelled' materially. Thus human spiritual problems are inevitably re-cast as material problems. This is inevitable because - for our society - only the material is really-real. 

This material model them leads to - apparent - solutions to the original human problem; which are of course material solutions - that is, the solutions derived from the theory are always 'answers' to do with making, destroying, moving, reshaping physical things.  

And therefore leftism always, inevitably, fuels totalitarianism; because when the answers to real human problems are always conceptualized in material terms, then the obvious way - indeed, the imperative - is to impose these material pseudo-answers, by whatever means seems likely to be most effective. 

Therefore; leftism always reduces to the insatiable demand for power over Men; the need for power being rationalized by the imperative of coercively imposing pseudo-materialist solutions, to fake-materializations of genuine but spiritual problems.  

Thus society and civilization is colonized by leftism; colonized incrementally; by materialistic theories that falsely 'explain' spiritual motivations and spiritual phenomena; and by the consequent materialist solutions to the problems thus conceived. 

The deep motivations underlying leftism are therefore spiritual; which is why leftism is powerful and enduring, why leftism is innerly-experienced as value-imperatives. 

But leftism is always and necessarily evil; because these valid inner spiritual motivations are reduced and re-cast into false, outer, material forms. 


Francis Berger said...

A vital insight! Though I can't remember where I encountered it, I've seen this described as the "exteriorization of spirit" -- the jettisoning of the spiritual into the material. I suppose altruism is one of the most glaring examples of what you have described, but all other leftist values also fit the bill when it comes to the inversion of the spiritual into the purely material (which does not and cannot even exist)!

The distortions/inversions you have outlined here also help shed light on the wrong turn we took and the inevitable consequences of this wrong turn. Hopefully, it will get people thinking about potential ways to right this wrong turn.

Ron Tomlinson said...

Let me try with the hopefully simple example of vegetarianism.

We start with the spiritual truth that existence is purposeful and therefore precious. This becomes 'life is precious' which is interpreted by the materialist as 'biological life is precious'. Hence all killing is bad. Since we have to kill animals in order to eat them, eating meat is therefore bad --which is the materialised version.

Is this along the right lines? If not could someone patch it up for me?

NB I'm ignoring people's *motives* for practising a vegetarian lifestyle here, which perhaps I shouldn't because Bruce talks about impulses and motivations in his post.

William Wildblood said...

Over the last 200 years (it's longer than that really but took off in that time period) human beings have reacted to a downpouring of new spiritual force, if I can put it like that. A few have reacted to it spiritually but most have reacted to it on the material level thereby distorting it. Leftism is the result. The corruption of the best is the worst. Here is a good example of that.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Ron - Yes, that's what I am arguing.

One might add that the materialist solution of vegetarianism, is believed to solve the *moral* problem - which is why vegetarians usually favour coercion to enforce the lifestyle.

Nowadays, vegetarians are typically among those most strongly on board with the totalitarian agenda, since this could most effectively enforce vegetarianism - and its Litmus Test manifestations (i.e. vegetarians are also socialists, antiracists, feminists, anti-carbon climate emergency activists etc etc. - and the Great Reset/ Agenda 2030 has strong vegetarian-vegan components).

William Wildblood said...

Jesus anticipated this when he said that it's not what goes into a man's mouth that defiles him but what comes out of it - and I speak as someone who hasn't eaten meat for 40 years. Sometimes I feel I should just to show the fanatics that it doesn't matter but I've lost the habit. There was an Indian teacher who said that if vegetarianism made you a good person then sheep would all be saints.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William - Similarly, I have not drunk alcohol for many years - maybe 15 or more (except communion wine, occasionally). But I am not a teetotaller, nor am I against alcohol usage per se, because my refraining is personal, and for health reasons (i.e. alcohol triggers and exacerbates my migraines).

Alexey said...

All ideologies follow the same pattern: identifying the ultimate evil, cause of all bad things(capitalists, state, fascists, communists, rarer technologies), creating logical system that explains and "proves" it, then stating that overthrowing evil is the obligatory thing and all who disagree are themselves on the side of the evil and therefore must be liquidated politically or physically. It is universal, works with any ideology

Hanrahan said...

Speaking of the destructive nature of spirit-killing gross materialism and those who defile themselves by what they put in their mouths and what comes out of it too isnt Donald Trump the perfect (living!) example of such a syndrome. As indeed is the entire MAGA movement.

Junk food and junk "culture" all-the-way-down - quite literally!