Sunday 3 January 2021

Why Sorathic evil is, and must be, the End Stage (The example of Saruman)

I have recently written about Sorathic evil - the purest, most negative and destructive form of evil; as being the direction in which the world is going, here-and-now. 

But, Sorathic evil may be hard to understand. We are used to explaining evil actions in terms of fulfilling personal desires - whether the 'Luciferic' desires of immediate gratification by lust or cruelty, or the longer-term 'Ahrimanic' desires of power and control. 

It seems hard to imagine why 'mere destruction' would motivate someone when they might instead fulfil their desires? 


Well, it does happen. Perhaps if we introspect honestly, we can recognise the Sorathic within ourselves, as at least a momentary impulse?

An example are those resentment-fuelled spite-fantasies directed against people that we hate, or even who merely annoy us in some way that gets under our skin. For instance; day-dreaming the wish that somebody we have come to regard as smug, entitled, arrogant, privileged - will suffer massive public humiliation, fatal illness, or agonizing violence. Or somebody who 'thinks they are beautiful' and you 'wish' they would suffer a disfiguring accident that would make them hideous. Or when the idea flashes into mind that maybe I should kill myself and leave an accusatory suicide note; so that he/she/they will suffer lifelong agonies of guilt ("That will show them!").

If you can recognise any or all of these scenarios, then that is an example of the Sorathic evil in you. What identifies them as Sorathic is that the primary satisfaction is in the misfortune of others, rather in gratification of oneself. 

Indeed, someone in the grip of Sorathic evil might plot and scheme, expend time, money and resources - and maybe even take risks to his own health and safety - in order to inflict harm on others. 

Cutting off your nose to spite your face is the proverbial expression of Sorathic evil - although this makes a paradoxical quip out of what is truly the worst kind of evil; and such mockery misses that this 'nose-cutting' is exactly the kind of thing that people will do, when in the grip of Sorath

Saruman, in the Lord of the Rings, begins the story as in the grip of typically Ahrimanic evil. Saruman is a very 'modern' figure in the world of Middle Earth; an industrialist with a mind of 'metal and wheels', who even talks in slippery, euphemistic, manipulative management-speak. He works by surveillance (the palantir) and seeks control; even going to the trouble of creating the race of Uruk-Hai; a more obedient and loyal kind of orc-Man, who will stick to orders.  

But evil is a downward path - unless there is repentance: and that path has a slippery slope. 

Ahrimanic evil (while it lasts) retains some Good - insofar as order is better than chaos - and requires virtues such as prudence, hard work, loyalty, obedience...

When Saruman is defeated, he has a chance for repentance; but rejects it. Stripped of power, he refuses to recognise any wrongdoing. 

In particular (and this is amplified in the posthumously-published notes of Unfinished Tales) Saruman is spitefully-motivated against Gandalf. By the end of Lord of the Rings, Saruman has come to exemplify Sorathic evil - since he lives in order to hurt Gandalf, and - by proxy - the hobbits who Gandalf loved and cared for. 

The Scouring of the Shire is a representation of how the brief interlude of Ahrimanic evil administered by Lotho Sackville Baggins, gives way to a frenzy of destructive Sorathic evil when Saruman arrives. 

At first under Lotho - trees were felled to fuel furnaces; later under Saruman ('Sharkey') trees were felled because this would make the hobbits miserable. At first the rivers were carelessly polluted by the outflow of productive industrial processes, but later they were polluted because it would render them hideous... 

Evil as a means to an end, as a by-product; was replaced as evil for its own sake.


In his final speech, Saruman reaches the end-point of Sorathic evil when he deliberately courts death by stabbing Frodo in front of the army of hobbits. 

Having reached a point where he cannot destroy the Shire, Saruman tries to saddle the hobbits with a legacy of guilt and regret for having vengefully committed 'deicide' ('god-murder'; in that Saruman is a minor god; a maia or angel).  

But Frodo is protected by his mithril mail, and pardons Saruman - thwarting even his intended indirect 'suicide by cop' and inflicting a further wound of obligation upon the wizard. Yet this act of mercy only increases Saruman's resentment. 

The end-stage of Sorathic evil is despair, and the only perceived 'solution' is suicide. 

Thus Saruman (semi-deliberately) goads Wormtongue into killing Saruman; and thus the wizard 'finally' achieves his own death by that means.


Looking at Saruman's descent into Sorathic evil, it is striking how very small, how petty the wizard has become compared with the proud, powerful, 'wise' administrator of the grandiose, world-dominating schemes of his Ahrimanic phase - just a few months earlier. 

And indeed, Sorathic evil can only tend towards being small and petty, because it becomes less-and-less capable of the deferred gratification needed for making and sticking-with complex, long-term plans and manipulations. 

From this we can see that evil cannot go straight to the Sorathic extremity - without rendering itself ineffectual.  Lucifer and Ahriman are needed in the earlier stages to break-open the Good and allow the Sorath in*. 


Thus Luciferic and Ahrimanic evils alternate until they have created a situation of vulnerability where Sorathic destruction can take-over. 

On the other hand, the descent from Ahrimanic into Sorathic evil may be very rapid indeed - some historical examples suggest that it may happen in just day, or even hours - so that great tyrants may die suicidally while wishing the like destruction on everybody and everything else ('after me the deluge' - as a desired outcome). 

At the societal level, we reached the threshold of Sorathic evil within only months of the triumph of Ahriman...


In the West, we had the Luciferic promises of the 1960s - of a world of unrestrained hedonism; leading incrementally, decade by decade, to the Ahrimanic global prison of 2020 with promises of a world of omni-surveillance and totalalitarian-control (a system, apparently, pioneered in China to be rolled-out everywhere else). 

Yet, such was the triumph of evil and the feebleness of spiritual opposition in this atheist, materialist, leftist-corrupted world; that as the year reached its second half there was already evidence of merely, pettily destructive Sorathic frenzy - with violent riots, destruction, arson, terror, rape and murder; being not just officially funded, organised and defended; but publicly-advocated and approved. 

At a micro-level the brief "all in it together" spring solidarity of March-May devolved into the masked mutual hostility and informer-culture of the summer onwards. 

This happened even though such a spread of chaos erodes the very basis and capability of the global coup and its carefully-constructed Ahrimanic System!


The Sorathic spirit can also be seen in the apparent-gratuitousness of using surveillance and control technologies and enforcement for crushing society, church, education, sports, theatres, music, cinema, museums, singing and dancing - and finally Christmas.

In a single year has been wrought a truly colossal destruction of Culture

A genuinely Ahrimanic spirit would be subverting and using Culture to monitor, manipulate and control the population... Ahriman would exploit Culture to 'keep people happy' (in a bread and circuses fashion) while explicitly and covertly feeding them pro-System propaganda. 

But the Sorathic spirit of resentment and spitefulness is ever-increasingly getting the upper hand, and engaging in dysfunctional destruction for its own sake. The Sorathic spirit is destroying the Ahrimanic apparatus in all its aspects (including police and military functionality) - destroying, but not replacing. 


Because the world is so advanced in evil; such a Sorathic destruction of The System is not any kind of liberation, but a progression of evil delivering the world into chaos: a world of end-stage Sarumans, pursuing personal, petty grudges spiralling downwards into the finality of despair and suicide.  

(And a despairing, or spitefully-motivated, suicide is - surely? - a choice for damnation.) 

So, although the Luciferic, Ahrimanic and Sorathic types of evil fight each other, this conflict is not a negation - but the advance of evil; because evils don't cancel, they synergise


We cannot defeat Ahriman with Sorath, one cannot be played-off against the other - but only with God. 

If The Ahrimanic System is destroyed by Sorath, then we would be in far worse spiritual situation than if The System remained. 

Yet such a Sorathic collapse looks like a distinct probability for 2021...


If we want to resist Sorath spiritually - in our-selves, in our societies; this can only be achieved from a base in The Good. 

If we want Good (i.e. Godly) outcomes; the negative can only be defeated by the positive

The only true enemy of Sorath is Jesus Christ.

*I got this phrase from Ama Boden. Thanks!


William Wildblood said...

Pride is usually regarded as the worst of sins but there is a positive side even to pride. Sorathic evil seems to be completely negative, being formed of hate and ultimately despair. It is the final stop on the road from rebellion against God.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William. Yes, that's it.

Since c 1850 there is a German word for this - Schadenfreude - and apparently a Greek one too

Although calling it 'joy' in another's misfortune is perhaps only true of the early states of Sorathic evil; there is not much 'joy' in the spiteful cacklings of Saruman/ Sharkey before he dies. I associate it with a particular type of forced, cackling laughter, which was well captured in the early years of the bullying kid Nelson from The Simpsons:

Doktor Jeep said...

Here is how I view "Destruction" of our systems, institutions, and worldy trappings that have all been trained against us by the hedonists and control freaks.

Kopronymos said...

Destruction is much easier than creation, but only half as satisfying. Still a bargain for those so inclined...

Bruce Charlton said...

@DJ & K - Well, be not afraid; trust in God.

But there is a natural tendency to assume oneself in the position of being an observer (or even a cause) of System conflagration; whereas the reality would presumably be of oneself being-conflagrated.

Instead of suffering lifelong confinement in an increasingly cramped cell; the prison gets burned with you inside it. All you would know about 'System' destruction would be the flames around the door.

Or something.

Epimetheus said...

Paul talks about faith, hope, and love in Corinthians 13. I wonder if the three demons are corresponding evil inversions.

Lucifer = anti-faith
Ahriman = anti-hope
Sorath = anti-love

Bruce Charlton said...

@Epi - Good insight!

David Earle said...

Amen! Or should I say... awoman?

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Very clarifying. Thanks, Bruce.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Doc - I think the finality of Sorath/ the destroyer partless comes from his weakness. As a general phenomenon, Sorath can only come at the end. The purer the evil, the weaker it becomes - because short termist, and unappealing.

One sign of current hope is that the increasing clarity is awakening some to the basic situation of this life. Maybe relatively few? - but each is an eternal soul; and the game is not yet over.

Matthew T said...

If you can recognise any or all of these scenarios, then that is an example of the Sorathic evil in you.

I don't know if you will entertain this linkage on your blog, but as a long-term commenter of goodwill, I hope so.

This is my favourite thing that Vox Day has ever published (just as I have a favourite comment from this blog, that has always stuck with me).

Vox outlines and expands on just what you've written:

As for evil, you know what it is. It is everything from the first lie you tell your parents and that senseless momentary impulse to smash your fist into an unsuspecting person's face as they walk by to the Ten Persecutions of Imperial Rome and the Killing Fields. I have no doubt that you have heard the little whispers in the back of your mind from time to time just like everyone else. 

Read the whole thing, as they say.

Matthew T said...

Meanwhile, I am mulling this over, and haven't come to a coherent theory, but I am thinking something along the lines of, you can tell the best Christians because they are not merely anti-Luciferian (i.e., who wish to avoid such-and-such a specific sin of the flesh), but are actually anti-Sorathic - in other words, the best Christians take joy in other people's joys, and you can sense this from them on a deep level.

GFC said...

This is the sin of envy, which of all sins has no positive object just negation. As William points out, even pride has a goal, which the prideful at least intend to be positive for themselves. Not so envy, it is just sheer negation.

GFC said...

also overlooked this good point:

On the other hand, the descent from Ahrimanic into Sorathic evil may be very rapid indeed - some historical examples suggest that it may happen in just day, or even hours - so that great tyrants may die suicidally while wishing the like destruction on everybody and everything else ('after me the deluge' - as a desired outcome).

This is Hitler in the bunker, who in his final days in despair at certain defeat, gave orders to Speer to have the entirety of German infrastructure destroyed (which Speer disobeyed, to his credit), to make life after the war impossible for Germans, whom Hitler felt no longer deserved to exist, having failed him and his schemes.

Simon said...

Tolkien was indeed a great poet from whom great spiritual insights can be discerned. In some post apocalyptic world his creation might even be taken as "real history"; notwithstanding, those regarding it as real history might otherwise provide great insight, inspire the arts and architecture, but I'd prefer they didn't assert the fate of my eternal soul rests on believing in the historical Frodo or Sam...

Discovered your blog Bruce from a fan of yours on website...just been reading your stuff for the last hour or so. An interesting analysis of evil you present.

I seem to recall the "metre" despite allegedly deriving from Revolutionary France may have been derived from something like the width of one drop of water on Egyptian granite; being one centimetre, and obviously scaled up. The imperial system is good for dividing amounts up because the numbering allows for many factors. But for engineering, the decimal system IMHO is superior, and I don't think it is random. We have ten digits on our hands etc

One would have thought the start of the new year would be on the 25th December - three days after the sun has been entombed. As someone with a more paganistic outlook, it does seem odd that 1st January should be the "start of the new year".