Wednesday 13 December 2023

If you underestimate how Very Bad things are here-and-now; then you are complicit in the evil of these times

In times like this, it is - I suppose - understandable, maybe even "natural" to seek for some reason to be optimistic, or at least positive about the-world; and to seek also for some task with which you can cooperate to "save the world" - or, make a better world. 

But, what I see, is a lot of people who so grossly underestimate the severity of the spiritual condition of The West (and, apparently, nearly all of the world) that this must be evidence of their own lack of understanding

I am saying here that the practical-minded positivity of too-many commenters derived from a radically inadequate grasp of the breadth and depth of corruption already established in-place; from top to bottom in The West. 

And this lack of understanding must itself be evidence that they personally are complicit with the main-stream of evil in the world

This underestimation of evil has, itself, many causes - perhaps the most important being that people get distracted from understanding reality by an overwhelming focus upon their lives here and now, the question of what they are "going to do"; and a fear or fascination with The Future: a desire to know in advance what is going to happen

They put the "cart" of physical-action, before the "horse" of spiritual-understanding.  

So people shear-away from a recognition of the truly appalling, by far the worst ever in history, spiritual state of the world - because this seems too pessimistic, despairing or defeatist... 

In reality; the refusal to confront the scale of evil in the world now - and the consequent tendency massively to overestimate the possibilities of Doing Good on some social or community level; some larger than individual scale - this refusal itself comes from a this-worldly perspective which is itself evidence of being so deeply complicit in the evils of the world that they have become invisible.

The terrible danger of unconscious complicity is that repentance becomes impossible. We cannot repent a sin that we do not recognize. 

And that is the very-worst, most spiritually-lethal, problem with holding to a positive, optimistic, Can Do kind of attitude to the socio-political scene of this world 2023. 

It is a form of self-blinding, which is being used to justify a worldliness of attitude that cannot help but be deeply caught-up in the ideology of a purposively evil world.   

It is easily understandable why people would deceive themselves about the severity of our actual condition; because if the world was still (as it was just a few generations ago) divided between a significant proportion of people and institutions on the side of God and divine creation - and those against them; then we could indeed engage in "business as usual" - by working-with the Good-forces, by the kind of organizing and politicking that humans have been doing for centuries (if not millennia)... 

However; now there are no "good forces" of sufficient size and cohesion for this strategy to do anything other than encourage one form of evil against another. 

Look around you! It is impossible to find any genuinely-good cause for us in The West to support that has more than a handful of adherents; those large (or even medium) scale causes that are put forward as good are always deeply enmeshed in the denial of evil

This denial of evil, this calculated auto-blinkering, is inevitable because it is the pre-requisite for worldly activity with the world as it is now. 

Yet it is spiritually lethal - so long as it lasts. 

Our primary and essential task in these times is to be aware, to be conscious of what is, to know evil wherever and whenever it is present. 

Only after this has been accomplished should we become concerned about "what to do" about it; and that any "what-to-do" answer will (by the nature of our condition) very likely be personal and spiritual and immediate - rather than communal and political, or to do with strategies and plans. 


William Wildblood said...

If you don't recognise how evil things are now you don't have a proper connection to what is truly good and therefore you are, as you say, on some level part of the denial of good. It's really that simple. Or else worldly success and satisfaction and 'fitting in' mean more to you than spiritual truth which is just another way of saying the same thing. But then this is the meaning of these times when everything is coming to a point and there is a division into sheep and goats with increasingly little space for neutrality. You're either for me or against me.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William. It is indeed frustrating to see so many people online (and some IRL) who are (more or less) well-motivated and currently (broadly) on the right side; but who are investing their efforts into strategies that *might* have been valid thirty or fifty years ago...

But Nowadays, these schemes and activities are absolutely sure Not to work, and will indeed make matters worse overall.

Unless such people snap-out-of-it, and probably soon, then they will be changing sides quite soon - although probably unaware even of doing that.

whiteknight32be said...

It's very true what you describe in this post. The main problem is - in my opinion - that especially in the "Western part of civilisation", in the world of today, almost everyone is in a way "myopic", only sees or wants to see what is in his or her immediate environment: close family and a few friends (at best). And all efforts are directed "to keep what they have", not thinking very far ahead, but keeping the status quo that has been arround for a long time. Hence, always living "in fear" to loose what one (still) has. Maintaining a nostalgia for something that never (really) existed.

So it is a conscious decision to NOT willing to be aware of what is obvious, that evil is just about everywhere and any valid answer to that has to be a spiritual one. But, thàt notion - of spirituality - has all but disappeared. At least that is my own personal experience.

It is becoming, and in many ways it already completely is, a very personal quest now, to find answers in a spiritual way of life, realising that at this time it may be the only way that can lead to a peaceful place in a worldwide storm, that is gaining more and more momentum.

Blogs like this one can help such-minded individuals to discover ways to do just that.

Isbe said...

Aside from the Materialists who think everything is just fine, and those who know it isn’t but busy themselves with useless political or social “solutions” there are a group of people who know very well what is going on, and in the greatest detail, possibly more detail than even you are aware of. However, their solution is to “manifest” a better outcome or “visualize” to “create” a better reality by their own powers. Since you don’t deal with those sorts of people much, I feel I need to point out that knowing about the evil, even in the greatest detail doesn’t necessarily elicit the sort of response you would recommend - i.e. repentance, and a turning to God.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

At the surface level it's nice-guy normalcy bias: that man cannot be holding a rifle; this train wreck cannot be happening. It is paralyzing and powerful. In the "slow-motion train wreck" situation as with our current state, it numbs and comforts. But it is very liberating and empowering to punch through normalcy bias, to see things as they are.

I remember discussing politics with a suburban-dad type in 2016. He was guffawing when I told him I hadn't bothered voting since 1996. Then I told him I was registering to vote so I could vote for Trump. He stopped laughing and I could see hatred filling his eyes. I'd almost add "Trump 2016" to your Litmus Test but I realize it would be inapt. Trump threatens peoples' normalcy bias. Wait until they see what comes next.

It's striking, and pretty horrifying, to watch the short progression from Hillary Clinton to Joe Biden. Hillary--cold, calculating, Ahrimanic bureaucrat delighting in the perverse results wreaked by the System and her exalted position in it. Joe Biden, Sorathic: a completely hollow man, emptied out by a life in service to Ahriman and now a demented, brainless cipher for Sorath. Watch his jerky movements, empty eyes and babbling speech; this is not a man with a soul exercising free will.

Thanks in advance for indulging my political rant. But I think it's important to recognize how the spiritual manifests in the physical.

Bruce Charlton said...

@wk32 - "a conscious decision to NOT willing to be aware of what is obvious, that evil is just about everywhere and any valid answer to that has to be a spiritual one"

What is true, and needed, are both very alien to everything that people have seen or learned. But it seems to me that all other avenues have been closed. So it has already become a matter of what is needed being also the only valid thing we can actually do. This means that refusing it becomes a very serious matter.

@Isbe - I am not sure I grasp what you are saying by " to “manifest” a better outcome or “visualize” to “create” a better reality by their own powers. " My guess is that you may be talking about something like "white magic" - maybe related to the kind of approach of Dion Fortune and the Society of Inner Light in World War Two (in The Magical Battle of Britain)?

I don't much talk about this because, while it used to be a valid activity, I do not believe it is effective any more. Modern Man's consciousness is no longer immersed in the community in that kind of way - plus, the community is itself insufficiently good in its motivations. Therefore it just isn't possible to visualize and create Good outcomes by the powers of imagination -- except in the kind of piecemeal, individual and personal way that are (intermittently) a part of leading a valid Romantic Christian life.

@A-G - I think Trump was indeed a Litmus Test, but in a rather negative way. Being anti-Trump was a pretty sure sign of being on the wrong side (especially since Trump haters always hated him for the good things he way trying to do; they invariably hated him for the *wrong* reasons).

But to be very positive about Trump and optimistic about the possibilities of his presidency was/is usually (not always) a sign of the problem under discussion - a massive underestimation of the extent and depth of evil in the world.

Mia said...

I wrote and then never posted a long comment yesterday getting at another angle of this, namely the way external "policy" focus seems to block self-reflection in many individuals who might seem at first to be on the side of good. I personally know for instance a supporter of pro-native immigration policy who has personally imported via repeat marriages more foreigners than he has living native offspring. Repentance must not be literally impossible for such people but it seems awfully unlikely!

Bruce Charlton said...

@Mia - I feel that "more wives than children" is a sign of the value -inversions of modernity.

Jeffrey Cantrell said...

This makes me think of Albert Jay Nock’s 1936 article about preaching to the Remnant rather than the masses. (Available here: https(colon)(slash slash)mises(dot)org/library/isaiahs-job )

The following is my very poor rendering of Nock’s main point as it related to your article.

When God commanded Isaiah to warn the people that they were going to go to hell unless they mend their ways and his efforts would not make a difference, Isaiah questioned why he should go forth. God said that the point was not to get the masses to repent, but to provide a base that the remnant can access so that when civilization reconstitutes itself, there will be a sound base upon which it can build. Essentially, the masses have neither the force of intellect to comprehend the underlying principles nor force of character to live by them.

Thus, I really do not believe it is imperative to convince the masses of what perils are on the horizon and that is just another version of pearls before swine. What is important it to live and conduct oneself in truth, letting the chips fall where they may.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Jeffrey - I had a quick glance at the source you cite; but it seems unlikely to me that he and I are talking about the same thing - or, if so, only in a very general way, concerned with the scope of 'influence' one person may have on his culture.

I am making a point about the extent to which people really grasp the problem they are intending to address - and the way that our own complicity in the problem often makes it seem easier to solve...

This is part of what lies behind the *wrongness* of so many sensible, common sense, "reasonable" suggestions concerning "what we ought to do".