Sunday 15 July 2018

The disappearance of all real institutions - a fact

I keep having the experience of looking-at or thinking-of a church, or school, or job, or place... and realising that - institutionally it has gone. And that it has not been replaced.

A lovely cathedral, a college, an ancient village; some activity like teaching, farming, scholarship, law... I realise that these have gone... What remains is the shell, and the deep, universal spiritual reality - but at the practical, everyday, functional level they are all gone; they have all been replaced by bureaucracy, which is totalitarianism, which is evil.*

Of course, no evil is total because there cannot be pure evil in terms of purpose (it would revert to chaos) - but all of these are now evil (overall, as net-effect, and by intent). They all lack any core, they all serve dishonest expediency; and that is ultimately harnessed to strategic global evil - the demonic agenda.

This is what people, en masse, have chosen; by their rejection of creation, of God, of meaning and purpose, of any spiritual reality.

By their rejection of Jesus. (And this rejection applies to most, almost all, self-identified Christians.) They want other-things more, much-more - stuff, distractions, sex, power; or daydreams of these...

When there is no cohesion or reason - this is what you get, inevitably.

So far, so uncontroversial - for readers of this blog anyway. We all know that this is the case - but what next?

The other realisation that I cannot shake is that this is irreversible. Real, good, functional institutions are not coming back.

Why? Because all evil institutions are self-destroying (sooner or later) - and real institutions have been decisively rejected, even by those who suppose they support them. Essentially nobody lives by the belief that institutions are more important than individuals - least of all those who run the institutions, who have power in them.

(The people who run the institutions, who advocate their priority, in practice - therefore in reality -  are merely serial parasites upon institutions; which they treat as hosts to be sucked dry for personal benefit, then discarded.)

I think that we are heading for a post-institutional future. Like it or not. Meanwhile, the remaining institutions will all be - ever-increasingly - fakes and frauds.

This is a hard teaching! Because it means that all groups, groupings and organisations will be evil; and only individuals and families and close friends will be good.

But that seems already to be the case, pretty much - and where not-yet that is always the trend.

The Good News is that, if all this is correct; God would not put us into such a situation (we would not, as pre-mortal spirits have volunteered for it) without good reason; so there must-be ways that we can and should learn from it, to our benefit.

*Note: To clarify... If we see a beautiful old church, some inspiring countryside, or contemplate a craft such as farming, or profession such as priest, doctor or scientist, or a nation such as England ... the surface may be beautiful, the depths (the myth, or deep history) may be good - but the middleground, the everyday functionality, its explicit purpose, the mission statement and policies, the procedures and processes, and the personnel... these will be already and increasingly evil-orientated and loathsome. 


William Wildblood said...

Doesn’t this always happen when a civilization or culture reaches its end? The creative energy has gone and all that remains is, as you say, a parasitical bureaucracy that feeds off that energy until there is no more. But now seems to be something more than just a localized culture petering out. The decay is worldwide, though especially noticeable in the West as that was the driver for human development for the last few centuries.

It is surely a sign of the ‘end times’ along with so many others, from inversions of hierarchy to disruptions of the natural order to materialism and spiritual decay. Perhaps God’s purpose in all this is to force people to go inside themselves to find any kind of truth. That’s the test and the opportunity though it’s hard. When the animating life of institutions dies, leaving only their bodies behind, that is what you have to do.

Thank goodness we still have the figure of Christ to support us. That is one 'institution' that can never be damaged in this way.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William - Absolutely.

I have become increasingly convinced that this is indeed far more extreme and *pervasive* than with any previous example of civilizational decline - in a way wholly-compatible with this being the end times.

It's not merely a failure to achieve goodness, or a weakness to temptation - it looks more like an underlying positive and strategic desire towards evil 'rationalised' by vague, incoherent, un-enacted 'good' excuses.

(This is the opposite from 'normal' evil, which is good intentions undercut by short-term selfish temptations.)

a_probst said...

"I think that we are heading for a post-institutional future."

The anarcho-capitalists will suppose that their time has come. Maybe it will have.

Chiu ChunLing said...

To be clear, the institution was always a means, not an end.

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness."

At a fundamental level, we partake of the divine will as part of creation. And in every actions, we seek the divine light of truth which guides us to do that will.

The institution is merely a framework for organizing the formal instruction, it cannot replace the innate desire we have to fulfill the purpose of God nor the inspiration necessary to express that will correctly in each specific circumstance we meet.

It is a reminder, a litany, a ritual of shared determination. It can help when we would feel alone and helpless. It can help. But it is not indispensable.

Unknown said...

From a prophetic point of view, the coming of the Antichrist will be preceeded by a unification of the economical and political systems.

Hence, the institutions will not disappear.

Some even speculate that the Antichrist will rule through United Nations, or a similar organism.

As a side note, Christ foretold that his Church would never be defeated by the gates of Hades. We conclude then that no matter how chaotic or immoral the world becomes, there will always be one institution: the true Catholic Church.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Unknown - I would assume that the unification has already happened - as I have often written, for quite a while now there has been a single linked global bureaucracy; and the linkages bte more numerous and tighter (what some call 'convergence).

But this also necessarily means increasing dysfunctionality, inefficiency and ineffectiveness; and a science and technological collapse is already well advanced. I'm sure the plan is that antichrist should rule a centralised totalitarian transhumanist techno-dystopia of microchipped serfs - but before much longer that will become impossible; and 'ruling' may become a very partial thing.

With seven billion people and growing on a planet which only supported 1 billion until a bit more than a century ago; a huge collapse and rapid death of some billions is, I think, absolutely inevitable. At least, I see no possibility of escaping it - only of delaying it at the cost of making it worse.

I am always surprised by the precise confidence that so many people have in that prophecy of The Church surviving - given that The Church may by then be a tiny group (as it was when the prophecy was made), and may not be any 'official' Church, and the denomination of that Church is highly contested. Like most prophecies, its meaning is obscure until after the thing itself happens.

Seijio Arakawa said...

Initially I feared the posts about non-institutional society and the illiterate, informal hunter-gatherer Christianity at a higher consciousness level, because I still love the great cities of the world, tarnished though they are by poor stewardship, ugly architecture and automobiles. The truth of these posts seemed to imply that such things are not possible to preserve without great evil. But then I thought that the things people think make up civilization — the education system, corporations, governments and laws — are more or less entirely parasitic on completely informal and unacknowledged networks of real people doing real things, learning via informal apprenticeship, and acting according to customary morality. Since the formal institutions are all corrupt and teaching evil, these informal relations are clearly extremely powerful — since they are the only thing staving off instant collapse, even with everything working to destroy them as fast as possible. The net effect of formal education and management is to waste learners’ time and obstruct the work of competent people — learning and success occur in spite of these things.

Conscious acknowledgement of these unacknowledged but very-important informal links might lead to interesting results. The soul destroying Ahrimanic magic replaced with something — poetry, prayer, intuition — enacted in similarly informal rituals nourishing to the human spirit.

A Japanese documentary brought to my mind the parable of the canals of Yanagawa.

They would hold a great yearly festival with canal boats. To hold the festival, they would diligently clean the canals.

However, under modern economic conditions, the young people of the town moved away and there was no more Festival.

The canals became choked with garbage and the bureaucrats came and said “let us replace them with concrete sewers instead”. All in fine Ahrimanic style, practical on paper and completely anti-aesthetic.

In order to clean the canals and drive away the bureaucracy, they had to revive the Festival.

Of course, because Yanagawa was the only place in Japan that did this, they promptly became a tourist destination, like Venice... so Ahriman had the last laugh in this case.

But it made me think about what it is that really holds up civilization.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Seijio - I feel sure you are correct; and that this has always been the case to a much greater extent than realised. This was the theme of philosophers such as Polanyi (tacit knowledge) and Oakeshott (tradition). But these are being actively attacked now, on all fronts - and the basis of stability and casual trust upon which these depend are also under attack.

Civilisation is clearly most a by-product, and never a primary goal.

I too face this prospect of civilisational collapse with personal dread, not least because I am dependent on modern medicine, and would be dysfunctional in days and dead in not very long! But it will happen - unless perhaps there is a major Christian awakening (of which I see no sign); but it would be a side effect of such an awakening (eg a cohenet and not-actively-destructive world view) and cannot/ should not be the reason for awakening.