Sunday 17 December 2023

Residual Unresolved Collectivism (RUC)

Francis Berger: " I don't think speculating about consciousness development at the collective level is necessary or even helpful now."

My comment (edited): This articulates something that has been nagging at me for a while. In particular, I increasingly feel that the account of development of consciousness is valid for the past - and it is important to recognize that people have Not always been the same as now, nor are people the same everywhere at any particular time. 

But the Steiner/ Barfield theory of the Evolution of Consciousness went badly wrong in being used as a predictor. 

Thinking further about this exchange, I realize I have been guilty of significant Residual Unresolved Collectivism (RUC). 

In other words; while in-theory realizing that there is no legitimate optimism to be derived from expecting Good Leadership the The West or any of its constituent nations, institutions or churches; I still retain a residual expectation that there is a desirability hence need for some kind of communal or group-based spiritual awakening of the necessary kind. 

It is Residual because my habitual practice of thinking is different from what I believe (and even know) must be the case: the collectivism is left-over from an earlier set of assumptions and practices.  

And, to this extent, my habits sabotage my intentions. 

RUC is closely analogous-to, and indeed related-to, other left-over forms of wanting and thinking that I have previously described: Residual Unresolved Positivism (which I got from Owen Barfield), and Residual Unresolved Leftism

In other words; just as we have habits of considering the world as primarily material/ physical and abstract (e.g. as models) in terms of its reality and causes; and just as our values nowadays tend habitually to begin with leftist assumptions (such as equality, pacifism, antiracism) -- and just as these are difficult to eradicate even when that is our priority...

So, we tend to think about the human world primarily in terms of large human groupings; and understand the individual as a consequence of such groupings. 

The collective is how we analyze and understand problems; and the collective is where we seek for (or, at least hope-for) answers. 

Collective thinking is, indeed, woven-into Christianity from its historical basis; especially in the Old Testament where most things are conceptualized in terms of "a people": the nation (tribe) of Israel.

Even many relatively recent and current forms of Christianity (such as Mormonism) have usually adopted collective explanations of God's motivations, and tried to recreate collective dealings-with God - including envisaging salvation - and theosis - in collective terms of God's dealings with A People. 

As I have often explained on this blog over the past decade; this I regard as untrue for this time and place; and counter-productive in relation to what Christians (as the individuals we actually-are) ought to be doing here-and-now. 

I believe that we cannot, and should not attempt to, live collectively in terms of our relationship to God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost - but should take personal responsibility, and should act, now, from our-selves to do what is right and necessary (rather than waiting and hoping for some collective grouping to tell us what to do, and support us in the doing). 

I hope that now I have - with some help from Francis Berger! - been able to recognize and give a name to this tendency; I may begin to eradicate it more fully from my metaphysical assumptions and habits of thinking.  


Spurspright said...

Collectivism is the most persistent of the things you mentioned, because it comes from an inborn human trait, which is to be social.
It was very difficult and slow for me to understand that even if everything else is evil, it's not utterly hopeless as long as I am not, and it took longer still to truly feel that way (and thus to not despair) rather than merely knowing it intellectually.

Even now, though I'd gladly live alone in a cabin in the woods, away from society and a culture that I hate, it still gnaws at me that my fellow men are in such disarray and that the culture is in the state that it's in.

However, I channel my collectivism not toward "making mankind great again" (although that would be very nice if possible), but toward waking people up as I was myself awoken.
If everyone wanted mankind to be great, then it would become great, but what's most important is wanting it. It's infinitely better to know what's good, to love, to be loyal, and to desire glory, but to be unable to realise such a society due to outer factors, than it is to be handed all of that stuff but not value it.
Essentially: To have truly loved but lost one's spouse to death, over having a great spouse but not caring what so ever, and not being loyal or loving. The former person is superior, and whom I would rather be.

The darkest days yet are now, and I've actually learned a lot from living during this dark age of inversion that I would not have learned by living a more natural life as a hunter gatherer in a tribe of fellows. I would have struggled with starvation, warfare, etc, but I would know naught of the true nature of evil.

Bruce Charlton said...

@S - Very interesting comment!

Bruce Charlton said...

@Thanks, Frank.

I have just returned from a Christmas lessons and carols (plus 10 minute sermon) at my local conservative evangelical protestant Anglican church; and was stuck more than ever by how Jesus is supposedly about everything (inerrant Bible, virgin birth, God as Man, redemption from (moral) sin, kingship, glorying the Father, a better world etc etc) *except* eternal life in Heaven - which was never mentioned (except very indirectly).