Thursday 31 January 2019

The importance of Resentment in modern materialist evil

It is Resentment that the Establishment uses to control us, and to keep us focused on the material world. 

The first (attempted) major socio-political movement to come after the massive collapse of Western Christianity in the 19th century was Nationalism; which was a movement of Resentment, originating in the lower-upper classes; the high school teachers, journalists, clerks and others clinging to the margins of the ruling elite.

For a while, some Nationalist movements could create cohesion and motivation by inculcating a belief that prosperity, power and pleasure were due to if The Enemy could be thwarted. Nationalism worked best (albeit always temporarily) when there was such an historical enemy - a perceived 'oppressor', and not very well when there wasn't.

But at a deep level Nationalism is untrue, and indeed a lie; because it is materialist - that is, its implicit claim is that if material things can be sorted-out - then life will be Good (or, at least, as Good as Life can be...).

One would have supposed that the fact that is was Not true, and that material prosperity in the absence of spiritual meaning led to despair and nihilism ought to have been recognised by 1965 at the latest - since that recognition was the currency of much public discourse across the whole of The West from the middle 50s - Existentialism, the Beat generation, the 'Angry Young Men' etc.

My understanding is that  the (evil, demonically-controlled) Establishment recognised the danger of a spiritual, ultimately Christian, rebirth; and decided to manipulate Western societies into mutual resentment; so people would be focused on the lie that 'if only' they could escape oppression (by the 'Bourgeoisie', men, white people, The English, Christian churches, 'heterosexual' married families, or whoever) then life would be... well, Good Enough.

Half a century later - we have never been less spiritual, less Christian, less Romantic - and almost everybody in The West is seething with Resentment against some group, or many groups.

To 'fix' the source of this Resentment in some material, literal fashion is, for almost everybody, the number one priority - but there are so many number one priorities that the societal quest is futile/ deceptive/ obviously-manipulative.

And if ever it was achieved in any single domain (which attainment could/ would, anyway, never be acknowledged) then such people would find themselves no further forward than The West circa 1965: a state of meaninglessness, purposelessness, superficiality - and despair, nihilism and death.

So beware making Resentment your guiding motivation - no matter how justified it may seem, no matter if it is (apparently) wholly-justified... because it is a demonic deception, the path to death and despair; and Resentment will seal you off from the true happiness of Life.

Note: We all feel Resentment, and none can truly prevent its emergence - especially in this world. But all Christians can repent what cannot be prevented - and Repentance of itself places resentment in a subordinate position in your life - and thus neutralises its ultimate evil.  


Francis Berger said...

Resentment is the reason I do not particularly care for the secular Right who are justifiably disappointed, angered, and disgusted by the resentment-induced Left, but who essentially utilize the same tactics – the whole “things would be better if only these leftists would stop being so resentful” approach. Simply put, they both wallow exclusively in the same materialist slough.

Having stated this, I often wonder where the line between criticism and resentment lies, especially for Christians who, understandably, have much to feel resentful about. Yet, as you so rightly point out, resentment is not an open or viable option for Christians.

Nevertheless, I believe opposition and criticism are things in which Christians should engage when necessary, but that the source of this opposition and criticism cannot be resentment, but love. Does this make sense? If so, what does criticizing from the standpoint of love involve, and how can we make sure we do not fall into the resentment trap when we oppose or criticize?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Francis - Yes indeed; there is a great deal of exactly this resentment in online 'Right' discourse, as well as (and usually worse - because assertively self-righteous and officially sanctioned) in Leftism.

But few of us are immune. You may be aware that I have the chronic illness problem of migraine - and it is not unusual for me to fall into a kind of materialist resentment against this illness, in exactly the way that others do about Men, or Immigrants, or The English!

It's an insidious thing - because to be against something is necessary and reasonable (after all, who wants their life continually disrupted by illness, who wants pain?) but resentment is a peculiarly insidious and corrosive sin.

One way I think of it is that this is the life I have been given and - here and now - it is my job to live it in the proper spirit. Resentment prevents this, because 'living' is continually deferred until 'after' such and such has been sorted-out.

Yet often things *can't* be sorted out - are we then never to live? Or even when things are sorted out - we find that we still are not alive, because we are habitually, exclusively, focused on 'things'...

The great thing is that when we can't help resenting, we can acknowledge by repentance that we ought not to be resenting, and we ought instead to be living in awareness of God and creation and love.

By stating clearly to our-selves what we shouldn't do (albeit we still do it), we pevent resentment (and other sins) from attaining mastery. They are still there, but not in-charge.

Hari Seldon said...

Agreed. In the US, the secular/nationalist Right is focused on “taking back” the country from the Evil Globalist Establishment, the Media and, to some degree, foreign trading partners – most notably China – that have exploited US weakness and greed to run up enormous trade deficits with us. To some extent, of course, this resentment is understandable and stems from real causes that need to be criticized and addressed.

From a Christian perspective, however, the dangers of resentment are obvious. It's easy to mock the Leftist obsession with “hate” – a term that, as Orwell said about fascism, now has no meaning except insofar as it signifies “something not desirable” – but perhaps hate really is the best word for the powerful, sulfurous stench of anger and resentment that oozes off many individuals on the nationalist Right, making it easier for the Left to (dishonestly) characterize the entire movement as motivated by bigotry.

Some “light” nationalist figures are careful to focus on fixing problems, rather than stirring up anger against entire categories of people, in Communist or SJW fashion. For example, I appreciate how Trump always goes out of his way to praise his “friend” the Chinese president and make it clear that his quarrel is not with the Chinese people, even as he seeks to reverse China's unfair trade practices. This strikes me as a healthy and pragmatic way to remove the causes of resentment without embracing resentment itself as a way of life.

Of course, that sort of approach may become a nonstarter when the next economic crisis hits the West and the public, now totally demoralized and divided, seeks revenge against the various groups who are deemed responsible for their misery. In that environment it will become increasingly clear that we need God, because materialist explanations and priorities are simply not good enough.