Saturday 15 January 2022

As of 2022 - group destiny and 'the side of history' can only be evil

A great deal of the appeal of Old Left Socialism/ Communism/ Marxism in the early 20th century, was the idea that to become a part of it was to be "on the side of history". 

The 1960s New Left took-over this idea but applied it to 'identity' and 'lifestyle' rather than economics; in that they propagated the principle that to favour the sexual revolution, feminist and antiracist identity politics, 'environmentalism', diversity and suchlike; was to be riding an inevitably-triumphant wave.

To oppose the inevitability of 'history' was (and is, commonly) regarded as not just futile, but also wicked. Even as late as a decade ago, BH Obama used repeatedly and explicitly to assert this - and was apparently believed by many. 

Opposition to the Left agenda has dissolved under this acid of 'historical destiny', said to be driving the Left agenda. 

In more general terms, there is a long tradition of ideas that destiny-for-the-good operates at a group level. At first this was the tribe (the ancient Hebrews of the Old Testament, for instance), later the nation or empire. 

Such group destinies can be seem as having more recently been extrapolated to an idealization of the 'global' perspective' and 'humanity' about-which we hear so much from the mainstream officialdom and media. 

In 2022; to be less than global and universal is regarded - among the ruling Establishment - as atavistic, morally-limited, dangerously partial, reactionary - and futile.  

In the past, when Man's consciousness was not individualized as it is now but Men were (more or less) spontaneously immersed in a group identity; the idea of group identity was natural, not avoidable - and therefore right and proper for such times and places. 

But nowadays, I would assert that ideas of group destiny can only lead toward evil

This, indeed, is exactly why such ideas have been pushed and propagated so hard by The Left. 

This is a tough lesson for many Christians (and other religions) who have come to regard the group destiny of their church or denomination as necessarily, unavoidably, the 'unit' of divine destiny. 

Yet, ideas of group destiny include (covertly, when not explicitly) the ultimately anti-Christian idea that individual agency, free will - the choice of salvation - ought-be-be overridden and swept-up into the group! 

Ideas of the church's eventual inevitable triumph cannot avoid containing the assumption that Men Will choose this path - and therefore these choices are absolutely predictable, therefore un-free, and therefore coercible. 

I think many Christians are as prone to fantasies about being on the side of history, being a part of an irresistibly powerful rising tide: a tsunami of destiny that crushes all opposition - as are Leftists. 

The fantasy that God will intervene directly, and will overwhelm the world with his infinite majesty and splendour so that Men will recognize He cannot be opposed and will flock to his cause.  


My conviction is quite different, and opposed; and indeed I regard such ideas as actively preventing the progression of Men (individual Men) to love and wish for the promises of Christianity. 

I regard the group-history/ destiny idea as a version of the evil wish to abrogate personal responsibility for salvation - and instead to adopt a passive, reactive attitude to live; the desire to reject grown-up consciousness and its individual destiny of freedom and responsibility; and instead to become unconscious again like childhood and the early ages of Man - to return to unconsciousness by immersion in a great and absorbing movement. 

With such ideas; Men seek to predict and pick the eventual 'winning side' in the great conflicts of the world; and obediently to serve the masters of this side. 

In our totalitarian world - it may readily be seen how easy it has been for those with worldly-power to gather-up all fantasies of backing the winning horse - whether secular or religious - into submission to The System. 

This is why I regard Romantic Christianity - based upon the individual and his personal relation to the divine; based upon the absolute requirement for individual understanding and choice - to be the only form of true Christianity; with all group-ish and church-based forms having already-been, or in  process of being, assimilated to the agenda of evil. 

As of 2022, historical inevitability and group-destiny are become integral ideals of the side of evil. If we choose to be on the side of history, that path will lead us to damnation. 

By believing in historical inevitability - we make it so; but only for evil

Instead of believing that the individual destiny is encompassed by the group; Christians-now need to believe that the individual sets the agenda-for Good (for God) - and a Good-motivated group is 'merely' an abstraction of many individuals.   

Taking personal responsibility for one's destiny does not - of itself - lead to salvation' but it has become a necessary step towards that goal. 



Francis Berger said...

The fate of a single human soul is worth more than all of human history. I can't remember where I encountered the idea (Berdyaev perhaps), but it has always struck me as true for the modern world. Truer now than ever,I suppose -- precisely for the reasons you have outlined.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Frank - Something that CS Lewis said on this subject made an impact on me - the third sentence especially:

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously - no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.”

From The Weight of Glory

jana gatien said...

Wonderful post. Perhaps it captures why I've long had the solitary impulse when it comes to spirit, and whenever I betray such an impulse, I feel almost if I've collectivized a the most individual relationship (with God) and then find myself in a swamp of background noise and conflicting whims. I guess the word soul/sole speaks wisdom in itself.
Thanks again.

Bruce Charlton said...

From Crosbie:

"It's notable that while governments rant and rave about peck refusers, they refuse to simply mandate the peck. To be clear, mandating the peck would be a terrible reckless thing to do, but if they really believed the things they say it would be the right thing to do. Governments very much want us to believe getting pecked is inevitable, yet at the same time want us to *choose* to get pecked."

Bruce Charlton said...

@C - It makes sense from a demonic perspective. Getting people to choose evil lies is ideal, since that is what damns them. And creating chronic-escalating conflict, misery, fear and resentment is always welcome.

Bruce Charlton said...

@jana - I'm glad this post apparently 'hit the spot'!

Bruce Charlton said...

@Cererean - We've been talking about the birdemic and its peck here for a long time, and probably for the much same reason you call yourself "Cererean" instead of commenting using your name. I prefer to acknowledge my real identity - but 'instead' to employ just a little surface, humorously-intended crypticism.

Bruce Charlton said...


I do not agree that proof-texting specific Bible verses is a good way of knowing God's will for us. And I do believe that some books of the Bible 9- specifically the Fourth Gospel "John" - are of much greater authority and relevance to the Christian than others. Not all the Bible is necessary or even useful for salvation and theosis - and some of it is rather more likely to do harm than good (at least in the modern world). And I would say that Leviticus is one of the *least* valuable Bible books for the Christian!

Amargi.Liberty said...

Hi Bruce,

Have you read Margaret Barker?...especially her books on the Gospel and John and the Book of Revelation. I would go so far as to say they are even quite thrilling.