Radicals without power are called “dangerous fanatics”;
radicals with power are called “visionary leaders,”
or as Mignon McLaughlin put it,
“Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers,”
or as Jesus put it, “They [the sanctimonious fakers] have their reward.”
ON AUTHORITY, COMMUNITY AND THEIR REFERENCE TO THE INDIVIDUAL
A good deal of authority seems to derive not from some idea that the élite are specially in touch with the Almighty, but actually from the illusion that they are tuned in enough with common sense* to tap its genius. This common sense, which indeed can be identified with the sixth sense, the organ for which may well be the mind’s third eye (or pineal gland), also includes tradition because it entails venerating and indeed communing with teachers and other saints** who have passed to the other side. All magi, magisters and magisteria (plural of magisterium) are able to operate because they make constant (albeit veiled) reference to this phenomenon (i.e. to common sense). Indeed it is upon magi that we build words like magic, image, imagination and magistrate (http://www.scrabblefinder.com/contains/mag/). Historically the mage (sometimes magus) is a teacher, since our approach to all science (knowledge) and technology (and every last undertaking) was (is?) magic-based.*** A teaching office or faculty without the acquiescence, the consent and even the cooperation of the human imagining (read magical) faculty is, so far as I have seen, impracticable. There can be no discernible teaching class without the commoner’s active participation. The priesthood, however much they may dislike the fact, are anchored to the jargon of common sense, it is a sine qua non for their caste. The religious élite’s existence is best understood, not as a political fact, but as a reflection or a projection (in some cases a dim one) of an ideal that is also part of common sense, namely of what is (for good, ill or needless mental busywork) sometimes subcategorized as the deposit of faith. They represent the incarnation or crystallization of an archetype that somehow keeps society afloat, but let’s not confuse the issue by making the clergy itself out to be culture’s backbone.
Secondly the common, the community, also cannot exist without the individual, nor the individual without the community. Communism and individualism are both untenable; they are each the reason the other exists. Well, the real reason the warring ideologies exist is the same reason all bellicose and otherwise belligerent exchanges take place: the human ego spiked with an élite divide-and-conquer scheme. We could say that the community represents Being, where the individual represents Meaning. The community is the womb, the matrix, the body; the individual is the soul. Community must have individual, and vice versa. The common man and the thinker need each other as body needs soul, as wife needs husband.
My life’s experience indicates that from the communist or socialist collectivist camp United States Americans’ ears have been filled with such concepts as “a productive member of society” (to replace “a God-fearing citizen”) and, in the case of a convict, “repaying one’s debt to society,” intimating a very modernistic thought pattern that society is an organism and the individual is a mere organ. Yet history shows that those who have contributed the most truth, beauty, goodness (i.e. genuine godliness) and oneness (i.e. organic unity) to society have not always been the most productive or even socially conscious, certainly not the most exploitative or tyrannical. They have rather been the recluse who have managed, at times heroically, to mind their own bloody business, that have most edified the whole of society. (Perhaps this is the reason person and ego remain social conventions, albeit uneasy ones.) Many of the most memorable have been marginally autistic (which comes from the Greek autos or self). Yet even this fact and all relevant societal truths are being frantically buried by the would-be socializers as “social studies” replaces “history” and “civics” replaces “law.” Unless humanity is on the cusp of some unforeseen change in this particular area (namely in how the individual and the collective relate), I propose that our headlong plunge into collectivism is ill-advised, founded on a fanatical deviation from sound anthropology/sociology. It rather seems to stem from a branch of Illuminism that has convinced itself that an Atlantean utopia is immanent and that they are anointed to be its head honchos. Communists (such as Marxists and Alinskyites like Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the President of the United States of America Barack Hussein Obama) do not even see their project as a deviation but rather a fulfillment of democracy and the U.S. American experiment. They believe their will represents the collective will, that those who do not fall in line are simply out of touch with their own will, they are (in Scientological terms) “repressed persons” and should be killed out of compassion. Communism in theory is materialistic (cf. Satanism), leaps to earth-bound conclusions about man; communism in practice has killed vastly more people than any other system, including Nazism. If granted power, they have vowed to do the same in the United States of America. That is why they are to be trusted no further than Muslims.
“He wasn’t a complete human being at all. He was a tiny bit of one, unnaturally developed; something in a bottle, an organ kept alive in a laboratory. I thought he was a sort of primitive savage, but he was something absolutely modern and up-to-date that only this ghastly age could produce. A tiny bit of a man pretending to be whole”
(Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisitd).
ON EGO, PERSON, (PLACE, THING) AND IDEA
Getting even more word-persnickety here. Are “ego” (“I” or “self”) and “person” the same? Both (“ego” modernly and “person” initially) can mean “mask” and seem to have shallow, vainglorious connotations. Older wisdom and cultures seem to personify ideas (as well as places and things to be sure–even activities!) and idealize persons. Is that how we have in times past immersed mind in heart? Sort of a popular henosis (or simply integration, cf. theosis)? But in that case it seems that “person” need not be so superficial a term as it started off as. At any rate, spirit seems to abhor vanity, and it is always marginally suspicious even of individuality. But of course common sense would look askance at individuality; they’re sort of dueling facets of human life.
But then what of pride? Much of religionism (as Churchianity) seems to consider “pride” to be the deadliest of spiritual sins (or ailments). Usually they have the fall of Satan (or Lucifer if you prefer) in mind, coupled with sayings like “Pride cometh before a fall,” “How the mighty have fallen” etc. But it is a term that fairly demands redefining before it can be so harshly condemned. After all, pride in its folksy sense seems to connote quality of production. An artisan who takes pride in their work or a parent who is proud of their child has given of themselves, sacrificed themselves, denied themselves, assumed a burden and loved. To the saying, “How the mighty have fallen,” one wants to beg the question, What about the Almighty? For even Elohim**** (the name translated in Genesis as God [or in Arabic Allah]) saw that all He made of our world was at least “good” if not “very good.”
So is it only “spiritual pride” that is aberrant to the point of being “deadly”? or taking pride generally in oneself rather than in one’s creations? Yet really you never see spiritual self-love condemned by the teachings in the Hebrew of Christian Scriptures. In fact it is precisely our spirit, so it seems, that we ought to be caring for. Self-love is a ruler for gauging how to love one’s neighbor appropriately. However (as with “idea” and “person,” as with the mind and the heart) we are invited to consider a paradox: if you love your life, you will lose it; but if you hate your life, you have a chance in Christ to find it. “Baptism” means “immersion”; it definitely constitutes a death and rebirthing (or birthing from above, or simply “from the top”). Still, the cathartic or cleansing kind of death we are enjoined to seek is to our earthly lives, to our fleshly egos, precisely with the goal that the spirit take center stage. It can take the form martyrdom, which is the Greek for witness and culminates in theosis, which is the Greek for divinization (or sanctification, or the via unitiva). This only makes sense since “God is spirit,” and faith in a healthy physiology always seeks mysticism. If “humility is truth” as prominent Roman Catholic Bible scholar Desiderus Erasmus once said, I’ll take that humility. If “God is love” as the Apostle Paul said, I’ll take that God. Love wants to radiate from within. If the God of Scripture is to be the standard, then we cannot abuse our higher selves: what we want is to sacrifice our baser members in hot pursuit of higher gifts (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:31 ff.), to sacrifice our fleshly selves for our spiritual selves. That is how we actually worship God in our own members and demonstrate that we are disposed to abide by the Great Commandment. And that, I must say, is the Apostle Paul’s loftiest legacy. And because we do well always to want “higher gifts,” I do not buy the unscriptural dichotomy between loving them in and of themselves and wanting them for ourselves. Supreme blessedness (as heaven) is not a mere speculative or contemplative “beatific vision” we behold but a transformation, a “theosis” we become. If God is personal as well as unchanging (paradox, see also Three in One), then He must be experienced cordially (in the heart) as well as cerebrally (in the brain). In short, mystically (in the spirit). The Father-God Jesus describes is eminently resourceful and will give based on our petitionary tenacity. Self-denial is for the lower members, the carnal self; where the higher realms are concerned we are ordered to “store up…treasures in heaven.” So ambition, greed and exhibitionism–when these be of a celestial order–are consistently encouraged, praised and rewarded in the Gospel. Love is to be universal; active self-abasement is to be prudentially selective. That is the point I think worth making because modern churchgoers seem not to have ears to hear it, and as a result we’re selling ourselves dismally short.
* Common sense is also termed sensus ecclesiae, the collective unconscious, or in the words of Vincent of Lérins, “quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus” (“that which everywhere, that which always, that which by all [is believed]”), what is catholic, i.e. all-embracing, universal, integral and complete.
** Saints means holy ones, deified ones, those who have attained theosis, since God [and god] also comes from good in the sense of holy, such that god and saint each mean holy one.
*** Even materialism, which denies the supernatural, is a religion of earth-worship; modernism [i.e. immanentism] venerates the present; empiricism and positivism superstitiously exalt the senses; rationalism and intellectualism idolize the mental faculties.
**** It should go without saying that we are to seek above all else union with God, which is theosis, divinization, sanctification, or the via unitiva. Theosis is not hubris, any more than mysticism is divisiveness. Conflating the two stems from some truly preposterous late-medieval Occidental-imperialist sentiments visibly stemming from an uncatholic polarity or polemicism on East-West controversies; it is these sentiments that are destroying monasticism which is a huge component of true Christendom’s foundation. Again, theosis is not hubris, mysticism is not divisiveness, self-love is not other-hatred and pacifism is not sloth.