Friday 3 January 2020

Everybody is always wrong

And I mean that literally - so far as I know.

I'm talking about the world and what ought to happen. It is a strange situation - to know for sure that everybody is wrong and yet not to know what is right.

I spend a fair bit of time (far too much time) reading analyses of the current spiritual (and materialist) malaise; how we got where we are, and the main features and problems. There are plenty such analyses - many I find broadly convincing, and some seem very astute.

But when it comes to the matter of what we should do, everybody is always wrong. This seems very obvious to me. It is not a subtle matter. When it comes to making suggestions about how to make a better future, when it comes to policies and plans - everybody is always wrong. 

Of course, some/ most people are not just wrong - but are the opposite of right: they advocate stuff that will make things much more, much more quickly. Some are incompetent and uninformed; but many of these, indeed, want to make things worse - they are evil people, with inverted values - and they want to make this mortal life as much like hell as possible.

But even the well motivated people, even Christians, even Christians who really understand things - are always wrong about what we should do.

It suddenly struck me that this is an exact description of our situation. It isn't going to change. We know what is wrong, but we don't know how to fix it - we don't even know approximately. We haven't a clue.

And this is rather strange.How is it that I know for sure that everybody is always wrong when I myself do not know what is right, when I myself am always wrong?

It doesn't seem to make much sense - how can wrong plans and policies be known without right to compare it with? Yet wrong obviously can be and is knowable, even without knowing right.

Where does this leave us; where does it leave me, specifically? The situation is that I know for sure that all these plans and policies are wrong, and will make things worse; yet I cannot suggest what ought to be done instead. Even if I could, nobody would take any notice - but in fact I can't and never will be able to say what ought to be done.

I don't think things always have been like this; I think this is something new. I think it is a characteristic of the End Times.

What it tells me is that the whole System and set-up of world civilisation has come to the point when it is unavoidably finished - when it makes no sense of any kind, and cannot be made to make sense.

We live in an insane and incoherent world of purposive lies, deliberate ugliness and the inversion of virtue. We know enough to recognise the fact, and not to go along with it - but there is nothing we can do about it.

There is no way out - in this mortal world. Of course there is a way out through the portal of death and (by following Jesus) to Heaven, if we choose it.

In a sense this is a great relief! I can - and should - stop worrying, have faith, and get on with my actual life. Time spent on plans and policy aiming at a better future would merely be making matters worse (because inevitably wrong).

So, everybody is always wrong... This is good news! What a liberation!


Epimetheus said...

This is so true. I wonder if coming up with plans and ideas is a return to the same psychotic bubble of the rest of mainstream society.

Almost everything we do is dissociation and distraction from living Life as it is now, whereas we really should be in constant, attentive, intense communion with God's Reality.

The one problem present in all the problems with the Western World is a sincere deep disinterest and terror about Reality. Maybe abstract diagnoses, autopsies, plans and policies are also a dissociation from Reality?

It's so strange that we are so attentive to the tiny psychodramas of faraway psychopaths and stooges in a handful of capital cities, and we pay relatively little attention to our next door neighbors, or even our own friends and family. I've wasted years doing just this.

Everybody's solutions revolve around somehow getting the world's most powerful and wicked people to bring about Utopia. But the joke's on us - this *is* their utopia.

Even the attempt to get other people "on board" with our plans and policies is - somehow - an attempt to live other people's lives for them. Meanwhile, we're barely living our own lives for ourselves. Maybe this is the whole problem?

If we lived Real Life in the way that ships explore the horizons, would everything work out for the best? Would things just sort themselves out in the unexpected, wonky, mysterious way that angels work? Maybe the end of our civilization will end up resembling a Shakespearean comedy.

One of the most interesting aspects of Sebastian Junger's book Tribe was his thesis that urban disasters and war zones pop the evil "lotus-eating" enchantment of modern life. People suddenly feel Alive and Together, like they've woken up for the first time in their lives, and they remember such moments long after the situation ends.

Maybe, when we're starving and stepping over bodies and dying and so forth, we'll be happier, sharper, and more alive than we've ever been. Frankl said something similar about Auschwitz. Maybe *this* is the dystopia (this is it; this is as bad as it gets), and the evil elites are only trying to bake as many biscuits as possible before the power gets shut off.

That's probably the real push behind mass immigration. This machine they've made won't last forever.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Epi - Great comment. Especially:

"Everybody's solutions revolve around somehow getting the world's most powerful and wicked people to bring about Utopia. But the joke's on us - this *is* their utopia. "

I've never seen this point put so well.

Michael Dyer said...

Tossing this out there, riffing on Chesterton and Lewis (“reach for the earth and you miss it, reach for heaven and you get earth in the bargain”), I think great saints and great men of the West accomplished so much because they kind of didn’t plan. St. Francis just tried to follow God, everything else kind of grew up around him. St. Paul spread the gospel and things sort of followed from there. Chesterton said that idealists are the only men who got things done, to gloss on him, the pragmatists were just chasing their own tails. Whether you like Martin Luther or not, he didn’t try to change the world, he was just trying to get to heaven.

That’s my worry, and I don’t want to slander anyone, but I fear too many “red pill” type Christians are too rooted in this present world. Statistics can be helpful for many decisions, but on an individual basis they don’t mean that much, but I digress. We’ve learned too much from the enemy, their tactics “work” for them because of who they are. It’s like boxing, you’ve got to choose the style that works for your strengths and weaknesses. The champ may be an outfighter, but you might be better served being a swarmer. Try to fight his fight and you will lose. We tried mimicking the enemy in the past and it always falls apart. We win when God is the point, not when He is a means to an end, We win, when we don’t care if we win in an earthly sense, maybe I’m rambling,

Francis Berger said...

I agree. Excellent comment from Epimetheus on this great post.

When I worked as a secondary educator, I was always perplexed by the curricular push to mold children into activists. "The world is broken, and only you can fix it" mantra permeated everything. Needless to say, what was considered broken was inevitably based on typical social "crises" like inequality, racism, etc., and the overarching idea was to get students to become active members of the global village and democracy by encouraging them to vote, protest, write letters to governments, join activist groups, etc. Naturally, all this really does is make students willing and active members of the System.

I think this same mentality seeps into non-mainstream/Christian thinking as well. That is, the focus might be on different things, but the overall drive propelling the call for action is the same - we must expend our lives "fixing" the world through policies and plans. I suppose there is a time and place for that to some extent, but I agree with your assessment here - NOW is neither the time nor the place because any policy or plan would automatically involve the System, which would then distort/destroy/invert the original thrust of any plan or policy it was offered. The System would then use the plan or policy as a means to fortify its own agenda.

Incidentally, I'm currently making my way through the Fourth Gospel again. It's interesting to note how little interest Jesus showed for plans and policies aimed at "fixing the world."

Bruce Charlton said...

@Michael - I share your understanding. In trying to manufacture motivation, there is a tendency to focus on the material aspects of warfare, on organisation, on making new, less-evil institutions and organisations which we can then enjoy-passivley (eg new mass media sources, that remain mass media) - whereas what seems to be required is to find motivation for our-selves, rather than trying to make new sources of external motivation.

It is like mainstream politics - there are more and less evil options; but the triumph of milder evil - but genuine intentional evil - is hardly a cause for celebration.

@Francis - "the curricular push to mold children into activists. "I suppose this feeds the self-gratifying fantasies of children (of all ages) - to be Establishment Rebels, to be publicly feted by the powers they are pretending to attack - but who actually fund, mould and control them.

All this is right there, in front of our eyes - all that is needed is for people to see what is paraded before them, daily; and join two dots together to see the lie - but even that is beyond the modern mind.