We are inculcated into modernity. Through childhood the unity of our experience is broken up and in teens we emerge into consciousness with already fragmented thinking.
We become adults already pre-alienated - and with no concept of how to heal this alienation - because using modern thought it cannot be healed (but only by retrieving ancient thought).
It has been the great illusion of the past couple of hundred years that there is some way, some *trick*, by which we can retain the advantages of fragmentation (i.e. retain the advantages of specialization in science, law, art, public administration etc) while glue-ing all these fragments back into unity.
There is thus a vast tradition, going back to The Romantics and up to New Age, of people who diagnose the problem brilliantly but utterly fail to solve it, because they seek a new solution (e.g a 'new' religion, or spirituality).
Working through these failures - learning, testing and discarding them - took me more than thirty years.
We are now in the situation where the baby will (indeed must) be thrown-out with the bathwater.
Because trying to preserve the baby will lead to drowning by the bathwater...
(The baby is the good things of modernity, the bathwater is the tide of total destruction of all things Western that is overwhelming modernity - from within and from without.)
We are in the situation where destroying the One Ring will also and inevitably destroy the power of the High Elves (because this depends on the Elven Rings hence comes, ultimately, from the same source of the One Ring). And where the High Elves have nobody to blame but themselves, since they tried to use evil to promote Good, with the inevitable result.
I don't think anybody is willing to throw the baby.
But I also think the bathwater will throw the baby.
Collapse is inevitable. Modernity is not sustainable.
Nobody is willing to throw out the baby, anonymous, which is why it will be chucked with the bathwater by divine providence, via eucatastrophe.
But in the mean time, Christians are advised to know about this because believing that the "baby" should be saved can lead into error.
But what I expect is not an earth-shaking catastrophe in which millions perish, but rather something like what happened at the end of the Soviet Union. At some point, the realization will begin to set in that liberalism and nihilism and skepticism – and, therefore, tolerance and pc and the whole false Potemkin village of the modern ostension – are just false. People will look around and admit to each other at last that everyone has been playing pretend, and that the time for pretense is past. It will be a “naked Emperor” moment. Everyone will wake up, except of course for a few die-hards.
And when that happens, the foetid bath water will drain away quite suddenly, all by itself, leaving behind the baby to be washed clean by the rains: the real church, the real scholars, the real artists, the real farmers and entrepreneurs, the real engineers, soldiers, craftsmen and tradesmen. These are the people and institutions that have been keeping us going up to this point all along, the ones generating the surplus of real wealth that has been supporting all the fools and wastrels. The Good and the True and the Beautiful, being in general also the Best and the most Robust, will be standing there just as they always have been. So, the real scientific knowledge and engineering and manufacturing abilities we have generated over the last 400 years, that are embodied in those competent, capable, solid men and their organizations, will not go away. The real, true knowledge and skill we need to maintain an advanced civilization is embodied in just exactly those men and women who are most likely to prosper in a time of adversity.
There will, to be sure, be adversity. There will be a massive economic adjustment, as all the people who have been doing fake jobs – perhaps 60% of the population – discover that they must go out and find real jobs that produce real goods. But the poverty we experience as a result of that adjustment will be a poverty of fake goods. Once the fake economy has collapsed and vanished, and the only sorts of jobs left are real jobs that create real goods, we will instantly start growing wealthier than we had been, in terms of the sort of wealth that is real.
It’s like this. Say that there was lots of debased paper currency circulating, essentially fake money, and that there was also a bit of real, old fashioned, gold currency still also circulating. Then one day everyone woke up and realized that the fake currency was completely worthless, and that only the bit of gold still circulating was really any good at all. This realization would create havoc, bankruptcies all over the place. It would nevertheless constitute an improvement in the understanding of the people, and an improvement in the understanding is an increase of real wealth. As knowledge is power and capacity, ignorance and error are impotence and futility. Any decrease of error is an increase of wealth.
Kristor, it seems to me that you are too optimistic. Historically, the end of a degenerate worldview has not played that well. Think about ancient Greece, ancient Rome... When vice replace virtue as an ideal, people embrace vice and blame the disaster on other things. As Bruce often says, logic can be prone to error.
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