Tuesday 19 December 2023

Self-blinded optimism and Christian convergence with The System

It is somewhat dismaying to see Christians embarking, again and again, decade after decade, on delusory projects of "re-taking culture", including the established churches - and instead ending-up fundamentally (and whether they realize it or not) assimilated-to ("converged-with") mainstream (left-totalitarian) ideology.

This is often associated with the Boromir Strategy: "Hey lads, let's use the One Ring to fight Sauron!" - either deliberately ("It's time we learned from the success of the Left"), or else by unconsciously and incrementally becoming more like the Left in order to infiltrate the structures of power and (so the original intention is) seize control

This usually begins with some local and small scale goal; like getting control of a magazine or journal, reforming a college or a school, placing "our people" in local government, or electing a single national politician. The idea is that this then serves as a base and bridgehead for the next step, and the next... and eventually the whole System will be re-orientated in a Christian direction...

There are two things to be said: firstly, people have been saying this and trying it for more than fifty years, and therefore by any realistic and this-worldly appraisal it has an effectively zero chance of working. 

Therefore, by all reasonably probabilities, the needful investment of time, energy and resources Will Fail to achieve the strategic and cultural objectives (although, in the short term and on a small scale, the attempt may make a living for a smaller group of people - which is perhaps why the strategy keeps getting revived). 

So there are large opportunity costs; because if you are prioritizing one thing, you are not prioritizing another thing*; and personal resources expended on pursuing futile (or selfish) ventures are unavailable for potentially valid and successful projects.   

(*There can only be one priority: therefore choose it well!)

The second and more important thing to be said is from an inferred spiritual perspective. 

All talk about re-taking the culture is essentially to do with the material and physical realm, and is framed in terms of a communal activity. 

Now, many Christians have assimilated and committed to the idea that Christianity is essentially a group, communal activity; that must be pursued via an intermediary and material, this-worldly social system (i.e. their favoured church or denomination) - so they are self-painted into an ever-shrinking corner from which they can only imagine (or will only entertain the possibility) of the same-old form of Boromir Strategic escape: no matter how often this has failed, no matter how counter-productive is the attempt in practice. 

My own understanding is almost the opposite; which is that Life is trying to teach us that retaking culture, taking-over The System, or any version of the Boromir Startegy... is not what we should be attempting; because we are spiritual Beings with a direct-line to God and direct guidance from the Holy Ghost. 

And this decision has been made easy for us, by the repeatedly proved fact that church-centred, institution-centred, collective strategies will not work, anyway - so it ought to be facile for us to abandon them.  

Of course; if one is indeed painted-into a this-worldly corner, then this sounds like a counsel of despair

But if we are instead prepared to learn from the divine teachings of this-world; we can be completely hope-full that pursuing the strategy which God has laid-out for us, will be far more successful (when success is defined correctly - i.e. spiritually) than the same old useless delusions. 

Indeed, we can be utterly confident that - in the long-term and where-it-matters - we certainly will be successful; so we ought to feel joy, not despair. 

In other words, the reaction of despair is a product of self-blinding and a delusion; but joy is a consequence of that hope which derives from faith in God the creator, our Heavenly Father+, and we His children. 

+This argument works equally well; whether one believes that God is our Heavenly Father only; or, as I believe, our Heavenly Parents.


Michael Coulin said...

I agree wholeheartedly; while the forces of degeneration should be resisted I think the purpose of this resistance is to 'save souls' - not to try and save the world, which was always doomed.

Of course many right-wingers dismiss this message as 'blackpilling' ie spreading pessimism and despair through the movement, but I see it as the very opposite; once you realize that the world is destined to collapse and sink back into chaos then it makes it very easy to prioritize one's relationship with God.

Perhaps being a single unmarried man contributes to my attitude on this issue. I imagine most men with young families would reject this idea, and feel that it's their duty to 'save the world' for their children and grandchildren.

Bruce Charlton said...

Michael C

"Of course many right-wingers dismiss this message as 'blackpilling' ie spreading pessimism and despair through the movement"

This phenomenon is so obviously borne of personal insecurity rooted in this-worldliness, as to require no extended analysis.

From where we *are*, both reason and experience tell us that the only way *out* is Through; we cannot back-off from a full consideration of reality if we wish to escape the toils of this-world evil; there is no spiritual benefit from acknowledgment of a sample of evil realities, and a committed embrace of the residue.

" I imagine most men with young families would reject this idea, and feel that it's their duty to 'save the world' for their children and grandchildren."

Leaving aside the absurdity of anyone actually "saving the world"; and the fact that people almost-never actually even try to do it when confronted by inexpedient consequences or fearing such! -- It is not an option to withdraw from the world - as I have said many times on this blog; The System is unavoidable, and we must engage with it - or die.

Indeed, we must, on the whole, *comply* with it, and anyone who does not recognize his own overall and massive compliance with The System is either self-blinded or dishonest. Luckily, repentance suffices for a Christian - yet we must acknowledge our sins in order to repent.

It is a question of priorities - and we can have only one priority. Either we subordinate this world to eternal resurrected life, or vice versa: we can't do both. The one frames the other.

I am increasingly convinced that we are being compelled - by God - to discern and chose-between the ultimate and the merely-expedient.

Luke said...

Does what you mentioned in the last Beowulf post about the ethic of courage -'a morality that regarded death in battle against monsters, in obedience to duty to one's lord, in defence of one's people - as better ways to die than sickness or age'- mean that we can have the joyful hope of resurrected, eternal life and keep fighting on earth? Even if that fighting is in the face of greater and greater pessimism we can still, for example, find ways to support Christian families and persons out of love for them without subordinating this world to eternal resurrected life but out of an ethic of courage. And that might be noble?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Luke - Well, yes. Christians can do this, for obvious reasons - everything has eternal meaning. What is not so obvious is why ancient pagans should do this.

This post is about my realization that this ethic of courage means that such pagans *must* have had a higher implicit, but not-known to them, perspective - above their explicit metaphysical religious understanding.

This is sometimes explained in terms of natural religion, or instinctive morality - but that is really just kicking the can, by giving a name to a description.