Tuesday 29 November 2022

Don't seek or take Generic Advice! Or, what should "people" actually "Do about things" (considering the way "things" are going...)?

I often (far too often!) see bloggers advising their readers what to do in face of the way the world is going - and commenters asking bloggers what to do! 

Where should I go (to be safe)? What job should I do (to avoid converged SJWs and enforced political correctness)? How can I find a community of like-minded?

Aside from the innate absurdity of offering and seeking such answers in the context of a mass medium (albeit, not very "mass" compared to the big stuff); and exacerbated when the communicative exchange is between pseudonymous bloggers and/or commenters - who know very-little or nothing-at-all about each other... 

Aside from such constraints; the assumption behind such activity is that there is such a thing as generically wise, or at least expedient, advice: advice that is good for everyone, works for everyone.

However this may be for material secular goals (such as finding a "safe" place to live; or discovering how to seduce more 'women'... seduce them in a properly 'Christian' way, natch!); this offering and seeking of generic guidance is Not Good for spiritual goals. 

Of course, there can be generic but broadly-valid negative advice: such as what Not to do - yet even here, in the world as it is - there are just so many things that we ought not to do, that (in practice) we cannot not do all of them.  

Good advice might be - Don't live in an especially leftist part of a leftist nation; don't work in a highly-converged profession, don't take a job in an institution dominated by SJWs... 

Yet the nature of this world is that All nations, professions and institutions (of any size and power) are substantially converged with leftist evil - and getting worse.  

People must live somewhere, and there are massive costs to relocating; people must have some kind of job and work someplace - and it is merely a matter of degree as to how evil each of the options currently are. 

We cannot avoid doing evil in such a pervasively evil world; in the end we can only do our feeble best, and then we  must repent our many sins -- which is not, or should not be, a fatal problem for Christians. Jesus came to save sinners, after all. 

But the deep problem isn't what Not to do in an evil: it is what we ought-to-do; what particular path we should follow in a world where all generic options are merely choices between evils.   

My contrary contention is that instead of trying to apply generic advice to our specific situation in a top-down fashion; we ought instead to start from who we personally are and our personal situation. 

Guidance should be generated bottom-up, not top-down; and the goals sought should be spiritual, not physical-material.

So it is a bad idea to seek 'safety' or 'security' as a goal (motivated by fear); because fear is a sin - and to seek escape from fear is to be sinfully-motivated. 

And because there is no spiritual safety to be had, anywhere, ever. Our world is spiritually evil and getting worse, and more chaotic. 

To seek safety-security in these End Times is like moving to a safer cabin on the Titanic - but worse than that, because it is to affirm and abet the atheist-materialist-leftist evil framework. 

It is to accept the modern world as-is (and as-becoming worse) and to try and make the best of an evil thing: to try to exploit, and thus intrinsically to sustain, the ongoing collapse of Good-values.  

But if not, then what? 

If not generic and material advice; how does one discover spiritual and individualized guidance? 

The is a short answer: which is that we have both internal and external sources of divine guidance. There is that-which is divine in each of us - as sons and daughters of God; and there is the Holy Ghost - which can teach us "all things" necessary to our salvation and for our spiritual development.  

But why should we expect there to be any genuine way in which an individual person can buck the global spiritual trend; and attain something better, something Good - in the world we live in now? 

The answer to that is very basic; which is that (as Christians) we know that God is the creator and continually creating; that God loves us each as His own child; and that our actual mortal life has a purpose - so long as it continues.

So long as we are alive, there is a reason for it, and benefit to be had. 

Therefore we must exercise the Christian virtue of Faith - trust in God's Goodness and Creative Power, which is sustained by Hope rooted in our expectation of resurrection. 

And this potential individual and spiritual benefit to be had; applies especially when we follow divine guidance and learn from what that life - that path - is designed and intended to teach us. 

Yet the fact of our agency and personal motivations implies that our life is intended to be active - therefore not merely the passive following of an externally dictated path. We learn better and more deeply when we are maximally involved in our own lives. 

Therefore divine guidance is not like a blueprint; but more of the nature of a veto when we are trying to do wrong; and an affirmation when we have worked-out the best and proper course of events for each-of-us, here and now.   

In other words; we need to work things out for ourselves, as best we can; make our choices, and then both seek divine conformation, and then (as back-up) continue to monitor things as they develop along our chosen path - to check that we did indeed make the right choice. 

So divine guidance might manifest as a strong inner sense of No when we make wrong plans; or the opposite affirmation when we get it right. 

And after we have set-out on the chosen path, there will be feedback of a positive or negative kind - so long as we seek this. 

And if, after all, we get it wrong - and perhaps wishful thinking or overmastering fear have been our real source of guidance instead of divine destiny; then when we arrive at the destination there will be further feedback as to whether our arrival is a good, or bad, thing - and we have the chance to repent. 

It is the conviction of Romantic Christianity that we each need to embrace personal responsibility for our spiritual (including religious) lives. For a Christian; this responsibility includes, vitally, the duty to seek and follow individual divine guidance as best we can; and as far as it goes. 


My name is Matt said...

‘And it is also said,’ answered Frodo: ‘Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.’

‘Is it indeed?’ laughed Gildor. ‘Elves seldom give unguarded advice, for advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill. But what would you? You have not told me all concerning yourself; and how then shall I choose better than you?

The Anti-Gnostic said...

"Good advice might be - Don't live in an especially leftist part of a leftist nation; don't work in a highly-converged profession, don't take a job in an institution dominated by SJWs... "

We think the same way. The best and only advice at this point is to get some geographic distance from the Evil Stupidity with like-minded neighbors. I'm optimistic that a long overdue civic and geographic sorting seems to be taking place.

David Earle said...

The last few paragraphs are spot-on and articulated really well, and that is a very hopeful and accurate message.

This describes my experience in the past few years (since becoming a Christian). A lot has changed. "What I should do next" is always there if I'm willing to listen.

I've been accurately predicting at least my own short-term future - a plan will come to me with a promise, which I get the sense is divinely inspired apart from other plans I may have, and so I set mini goals and seek confirmation the entire time. If I find the ability to go through with it, things work out. When I falter or delay, things don't go so well. After accomplishing one hurdle, the next step always reveals itself directly afterwards.

There has been a clear path, and just the other day was thinking, although they've improved my material situation, that is largely irrelevant because they moreso appear to be mini battles intended to strengthen my trust and faith in God, as well as my spiritual condition.

I can clearly see divine providence doing its work, especially lately, the more conscious I become of it and how it "works". Your writings on primary thinking have been immensely helpful in this regard and from personal experience of aligning my thinking this way to the best of my current ability, it absolutely strikes me as true and it is quite obvious that I only have my own inability or disalignment to blame when things aren't working.

Bruce Charlton said...

@David E - That's good to hear!

pyrrhus said...

"Let me give you some free advice.." George C. Scott.."How much will it cost me?"

The Hustler