From Nihilism by Eugene Rose (later Father Seraphim Rose)
"Anyone aware of the too-obvious imperfections and evils of modern civilization that have been the more immediate occasion and cause of the Nihilist reaction--though we shall see that these too have been the fruit of an incipient Nihilism--cannot but feel a measure of sympathy with some, at least, of the men who have participated in that reaction.
"Such sympathy may take the form of pity for men who may, from one point of view, be seen as innocent "victims" of the conditions against which their effort has been directed; or again, it may be expressed in the common opinion that certain types of Nihilist phenomena have actually a "positive" significance and have a role to play in some "new development" of history or of man.
"The latter attitude, again, is itself one of the more obvious fruits of the very Nihilism in question here; but the former attitude, at least, is not entirely devoid of truth or justice.
"For that very reason, however, we must be all the more careful not to give it undue importance. It is all too easy, in the atmosphere of intellectual fog that pervades Liberal and Humanist circles today, to allow sympathy for an unfortunate person to pass over into receptivity to his ideas.
"The Nihilist, to be sure, is in some sense "sick," and his sickness is a testimony to the sickness of an age whose best--as well as worst--elements turn to Nihilism; but sickness is not cured, nor even properly diagnosed by "sympathy."
"In any case there is no such thing as an entirely "innocent victim." The Nihilist is all too obviously involved in the very sins and guilt of mankind that have produced the evils of our age; and in taking arms--as do all Nihilists not only against real or imagined "abuses" and "injustices" in the social and religious order, but also against order itself and the Truth that underlies that order, the Nihilist takes an active part in the work of Satan (for such it is) that can by no means be explained away by the mythology of the "innocent victim."
"No one, in the last analysis, serves Satan against his will."
Thinking back to my own days as a PC Nihilist, and of course the frequent (daily, hourly) lapses into that state which naturally I still experience, this passage is absolutely correct: I was not an innocent victim of ideology, nor was I mererly in error; but I actively embraced nihilism, invited it into my mind - essentially as a means to justify living for my own worldly comfort and gratification. My behaviour was understandable, my situation one to evoke sympathy; but I was wrong and I was actively fighting against even the possibility of Truth, Beauty and Virtue
Post a Comment