Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Palpating the diseased mass of modern Gnosticism
PC MC is the latest outgrowth of Leftism, which itself is an excrudescence out of modern Gnosticism.
PC MC represents a simultaneous, and paradoxical, increase in sociopolitical influence, combined with a dilution of ideological virulence. The paradox is resolved insofar as an increase in sociopolitical influence requires for its success such a dilution—to the extent that an underlying sociopolitical health perdures, as it does with Western civilization, since it is not permissible to give up hope on the West unless sufficiently massive, concrete and incontrovertible evidence is supplied to the contrary.
On the broader process of modern Gnosticism:
Divinization of Nature.
Made possible by the immanentization of transcendence.
Given further traction and content by Gnostic alienation.
Gnostic alienation is self-referential. In classical Gnosticism, the “self” was the body and soul + the cosmos, while the Good was a pneumatic spark “imprisoned” within the self, consubstantial with a radical transcendence “outside” the cosmos, to which the Gnostic “spark” needed to return to find fulfillment, thus escaping the evil of the cosmos.
In modern Gnosticism, some of the elements of the configuration have changed: the evil to be saved from is the cosmion—Western civilization, from Christendom to Capitalism, along with the personality construct artificially developed by Western civilization as a way to enslave the “true self”. The Western complex tries to subvert Nature, while the Good is Nature to which the alienated non-self has to return through revolutionary transfiguration at its most extreme, or some kind of social engineering short of that, or some kind of mish-mash of pseudo-spiritualism on a more amorphous level. Often, salvation is packaged as some incoherent stew of all of the above.
The most radical change from classical Gnosticism to its modern variant involves the immanentization of the eschaton. The final goal of human being is no longer transcendent, but immanent within this life (whether through revolution or “progress”). Unlike the divinization of Nature of polytheistic religions (what Voegelin called the “cosmic consciousness”), the modern Gnostic divinization of Nature is not translucent for an implicit Beyond of the Cosmos, but is charged with the role of an immanentization of salvation.
In modern Gnosticism, Nature is complex. One feature of the complexity is the paradox between:
1) Nature as separate from Man insofar as Man is through civilization alienated from Nature and abuses Her through his Technology;
2) Man as “really” (i.e., when considered in his “pure state” stripped of his artificial superficial civilization) nothing more than an animal and hence purely Natural.
For our purposes, one of the important ingredients of Nature for modern Gnosticism is the idea of the Noble Savage, and the ideological mechanism of Reverse Racism that is the vehicle for that idea.
According to this mechanism, the Noble Savage represents the original human state as harmonious with good Nature. This state represents an original Paradise and a future salvation as a return to that original state. That soteriological return is to be engineered, by sociopolitical manipulation and/or by violent revolution (i.e., by hook or by crook).
A parallel ideation of Nature in modern Gnosticism, in apparent contradiction to the aforementioned: Nature is a state of primal barbarism, chaos. It represents the only “truth” of reality in order to subvert religious and therefore authoritarian views of reality that attempt to establish the truth of human order (civilization) as in tension with Nature and as dependent upon a supernatural source (divinity in one sense or another). The uses of Nature here, for the modern Gnostic, is to refute and deny this supernaturally endowed Human Nature, by replacing it with (or “revealing”) the essentially universal savagery and anarchism of Nature which human being, if he were as wise as the modern Gnostic, would see. Civilization and the structures of authority that prop it up are therefore demonized as artificial and therefore “unreal” additions to “reality” serving only the purpose of aggrandizement of power by the evil white Western elites. The “true state of Nature” which would be our salvation, here, is also a state of anarchic savagery. As we noted, this is in apparent contradiction with the idyllic idealization of the state of Nature that emanates from the other half of the schizophrenic imagination of the modern Gnostic. Oftentimes, this apparent contradiction is resolved by simultaneously imagining (or merely asserting) that anarchic savagery is itself part of the idyllic Paradise of the original state of Nature. Thus, modern anthropologists, diseased by Leftist strains of modern Gnosticism, when they see and cannot avoid noticing abundant data of the violent, irrational and intolerant behaviors and attitudes of the primitive peoples they are studying, will seamlessly integrate those behaviors and attitudes into the texture of their theory of the pristine “purity” of these same savages as superior and more “harmonious” than the corrupted Western civilization with which they compare them (cf. the first approximately ten pages of this excellent book on modern anthropology by Robert B. Edgerton).
This latter wrinkle—a torturous kink in the pretzel logic of the modern Gnostic/Leftist/PC MC worldview—has been reiterated almost word for word as though communicated by interdepartmental memo by the current reflex response to every datum of Muslim atrocity, Muslim injustice and Muslim intolerance: the Muslim pathology in question, when not baldly denied or deflected, is avowed, then “recontextualized” in such a way to justify it through an idealization of Islamic culture as somehow requiring the pathology in question as part of its internal health which we, as Western Outsiders, not only are not fit to criticize, but become (or reveal our inherent) evil by the mere act of so criticizing (let alone—Allah forbid—condemning it). In this specific dynamic, the Muslim has assumed the role of the Noble Savage, and as a consequence has become the Poster Child of the Third World and, of course, is now concomitantly the quintessential “Other”. The Westerner can save himself from his inherently evil bigotry against “the Other” (at least to some degree) by accepting whatever pathology that “Other” manifests, no matter how grotesque and ghoulish. The acceptance does not have to come by actual enthusiastic support (which would be the logical conclusion of actual conversion to Islam), but short of that, by the justification-through-contextualization and unconditional “respect” for the “Otherness” of the Muslim.
Thus: nothing the Noble Savage and his culture can do will serve to condemn him. No amount of barbarity, savagery, evil or corruption can be perpetrated by Noble Savages and inculcated by their culture that will cause the modern Gnostic to reassess his irrational esteem in which he holds the Noble Savage and his culture. All such negative data is re-routed by the modern Gnostic’s filtration system, and re-packaged by the mechanism of his template, such that all that negative data, and any part of it, is justified, and by extension sanctified as superior to Western mores.
(This modern Gnostic filtration system, and the template of which it is a key part, have been assimilated by PC MC, although much of the virulence inherent to modern Gnosticism more generally has not been retained along with them. PC MC has evolved a curious style of parasitism on the very system it is otherwise congenially undermining, and this parasitism—a kind of sophisticated bourgoisie sometimes referred to as “selling out” in “Yuppie” fashion—manages to keep PC MC from advocating blatantly revolutionary transfiguration, though it can, short of that, go quite far along the social engineering route, including flirtations to one degree or another with Socialism. This particular dynamic we are discussing here will likely get quite a boost of juice in the years ahead from the normative and deceptively Centrist-appearing radical Leftism of an Obama Administration.)
In keeping with the idealization of the Noble Savage, on the obverse side of the coin, the culture of the modern West is profoundly attacked by the modern Gnostic. Any signs of similarly negative data manifested in the West are leapt upon and exploited as evidence of the incurable and pernicious disease of the West, all amounting to evidence that Western peoples and Western culture are, unlike the Noble Savage, “alienated” from the state of Nature at best (from a condescendingly sympathetic view), or positively and malevolently inimical to that state of Nature.
Concomitant with these paradoxical warps in the texture of modern Gnosticism with regard to the idea of Nature, there is the deeply and broadly held conviction that Technology is somehow separate, and alienated, from Nature. In this schema, Culture is also deemed to be separate, and alienated, from Nature. The flaw in the logic here is uncovered insofar as the modern Gnostic / Leftist claims to be atheistic (or claims to be a “hard agnostic”). If there is nothing beyond human being, and if human being is nothing more than an animal, then Technology and Culture are simply part of Nature. However, what is going on here is that the modern Gnostic / Leftist is holding on to a remnant of ontology from the philosophy of the religious systems he otherwise claims to repudiate: namely, that human being has something about him that is endowed with a quality beyond Nature, endowed by a divinity who transcends Nature. This retention of transcendence, Voegelin’s immanentization of the eschaton, is channelled by the modern Gnostic / Leftist into his plan of salvation for Mankind—whether that plan involves violent Revolution, or Social Engineering, or incoherently quasi-nihilist Anarchism, or a mushy mixture of all of the above. There is no incoherence that is beyond the talents of the modern Gnostic: we can find many examples of them simultaneously demonizing Technology and using Technology for their soteriological purposes, and the same with Culture. Indeed, this logical contradiction is superficially saved when the idea of the Noble Savage is superimposed upon it, insofar as the culture of the Noble Savage is lauded as superior to Western culture—indeed, as a positive salvation from Western culture.
While the virulence of these various attitudes whose throbbing, clotted, diseased mass I have palpated here in the psyche of the modern Gnostic are considerably diluted in PC MC, their underlying substance remains. This provides hope, insofar as the PC MC person is not as ideologically fanatical as the Leftist, and/or the modern Gnostic. All the same, we must not minimize the formidable difficulty that lies ahead in trying to wake up a sufficient number from among the vast majority of Westerners who have succumbed to the PC MC paradigm. The PC MC paradigm is less malignantly complex and less grotesquely paradoxical than modern Gnosticism, yet at the same time, it has on one level, at least, more complexity and paradox, insofar as it is more intimately interwoven with the sociopolitical health of Western civilization, and this health disturbs the otherwise pathological tendencies of PC MC and sets up a tension between the two, a tension that, so far, has remained subliminal through the incoherent parasitism of the PC MC bourgeois psychology.
Oddly enough, it might turn out that it will be precisely the continuing and increasing threat from Islam that ultimately will serve to heighten that tension sufficiently to finally break the model, the paradigm, of PC MC for a sufficient number of people to begin to trigger the process of a dismantling, or crumbling, of that paradigm on a civilizational scale. This optimistic development, however, will likely have to go through a relatively long period of bleak blindness coupled with increasing danger and even outright attacks from Muslims, before it begins to turn a positive way. Paradoxically, as we have noted before, the blindness of PC MC to the danger of Islam will, in the short term, likely increase, not decrease, the more that Muslims attack us and otherwise demonstrate their hostility to our liberal values.
The ultimate victory of the West will not be quick, nor easy, nor will it unfold by a straight path. Nor will it deliver us to perfection on Earth once it happens. I have hope, nevertheless, that it will come about, if not in the reader’s lifetime, if not in the reader’s children’s lifetime, not long after that.