Thursday 22 December 2022

Total Smugitude - The standard atheist 'refutation' of the metaphysical incoherence of their ideology

It is easy to show, following many different lines of argument, that atheism is psychotically-incoherent; and has led to mass personal misery and despair, and civilizational collapse. 

But any amount of argument, evidence, experience (and sheer common sense) - is casually and effortlessly 'refuted' (to the satisfaction of atheism) by variations on the theme of: 

Yeah yeah yeah - yadda, yadda, yadda... 

But none of that heavy stuff matters, because at the moment I feel fine

I am quite satisfied with myself as I am. (And insofar as I am not - I'm working on it.) 

And anyway (unlike Christians and other religious) I can believe anything I feel like believing - even scraps and shavings of spiritual nonsense - so really there is No Problem. 

It's all a pointless fuss made by simple-minded, dogmatic, crazed and/or retarded zealots; whose real purpose is to get inside my head; spoil my pleasures and sense of self-satisfaction; fill me with guilt about made-up problems (like sin); and thereby control and exploit me for their own purposes.

I know this because I was exactly like this for most of my adult life. 

I also knew that my position was incoherent, weak, and amoral; and therefore opened me to exactly the kind of exploitation and manipulation of which I accused Christians. 

But as adolescence shaped-into a kind-of adulthood, and proceeded through the years - I became more and more selfish and short-termist (to as great as a degree as I thought I could get-away-with), and I wanted to stay selfish; and I resented anybody trying to enlist me for any other project than my own self-satisfaction, here-and-now. 

The problem (and what saved me, literally - from deliberately chosen damnation) was that my short-termist selfishness and self-indulgence as also opposed by some strong impulses or instincts (as I thought them) - that did not make sense in my plan to become ultimately smug: indestructibly self-satisfied. 

I could not help but value love, honesty, beauty and several other things that made my life more difficult; albeit I kept working against these 'obstacles', and was able to become more self-gratifying (at least in my inmost, guarded thoughts). 

From a Christian perspective, I had taken the side of the devil in the spiritual war; and was engaged in a long-term war of attrition against my own natural goodness - which was in me as a consequence of being part of God's creation. 

And the devil's side was winning because my atheism meant that there was no compelling reason to resist the trend towards the implicit goal of Total Smugitude.  

Eventually the increasingly official and cultural evil of Western Society - as well as personal events - made the stark choice clear. 

Eventually, my own inmost attitudes - absorbed from the great and the good, from the self-styled and publicly-acclaimed socio-ethical experts of our time - began to sicken and disgust me, more-and-more sharply.

Eventually a commitment to self-gratification was instead leading towards a solid and corrosive conviction of existential hope-less-ness and despair.  

Either I would have to hand-over my mind and motivations to The System; and try to enjoy being taken wherever that was trending; and to build and strengthen my smugness as having made such a wise and self-gratifying choice...

Or else I would need to become a Christian (of some kind).



Jack said...

I just earlier came across another modern philosopher on youtube trying to find 'Meaning' in life through the hodgepodge use of symbolism, religion, art, history, culture, philosophy, science, psychology, etc. — like Jordan Peterson. I have an instinctive dislike for Jordan Peterson and for all these Prophets of Meaning, for a reason I don't yet fully understand.

I've just spent a while thinking about it, and the reason I came up with references Steiner — Steiner says the middle ages was the peak development of the Intellectual Soul, whereas from the Renaissance to today there has been the development of the Consciousness Soul. I think my issue with these Prophets of Meaning is that they are far too intellectual and, more pertinently, are trying to thrust the intellect into a place where it doesn't really belong: immediate conscious experience. The Prophets of Meaning are, like Hamlet in his moody cogitations, trying to find Meaning in our Conscious Experience by means of the Intellect. This is a fool's errand.

In the middle ages, our social and personal experience were so tied together with Thought (religious, sacramental, philosophical, social, political, etc.) that we could experience a Meaningful life in a quite immediate sense—everyone had their "vocation", their "state in life", their "place (in the social hierarchies)". But with the birth of the consciousness soul, none of this really applies anymore. Our conscious raw Experience is truly Meaningless, and trying to retrofit that Meaningless Experience into a meaning-assigned, semantically unambiguous Intellect (intellectual system, worldview, reflection, insight, revelation or whatever) is spiritually backwards, degenerate—it's trying to escape back to the middle ages.

This brings me back to topic: the smug atheist. I think the atheist has a point. If his conscious experience is going fine without religion / Christianity, why thrust it upon him? Perhaps that's just a form of neo-medieval zealotry. The point today is that Christianity isn't the Intellectual System of the Catholic middle ages, but rather the Christ and Christification is a necessary passage for our conscious awareness to achieve maturity, healing, wisdom... Our consciousness soul needs Christ—but in a different way than the neoplatonic middle ages—we need a direct conscious experience (prefigured indeed by the medieval mystics). This is so necessary to us that, indeed, a resistance to having this experience might be a sign of allegiance to the devil, to spiritual darkness...

Bruce Charlton said...

@Jack - " I think the atheist has a point."

Yes, I agree.

But *my* point is to clarify what it is that the atheist "point" actually amounts to!

If the atheist really grasped, understood and acknowledged the nature of his objection to Christianity, he would find it less compelling than he had supposed.

William James Tychonievich said...

I had a similar attitude in my own atheist days: that life seemed to be going just fine without any overarching philosophy or “purpose of life,” so none of that really mattered.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm - "none of that really mattered."

That is the reality - but the false inference drawn by the atheist, is that his own condition of Current Total Smugitude proves the *superiority* of his own incoherent/ lack-of "overarching philosophy or “purpose of life" over that of Christianity.