The Ninth Commandment of Nihilism: You Shall Eternally Live a Lie
"The thing I like best about being a conservative is that I don’t have to lie. I don’t have to pretend that men and women are the same. I don’t have to declare that failed or oppressive cultures are as good as mine. I don’t have to say that everyone’s special or that the rich cause poverty or that all religions are a path to God. I don’t have to claim that a bad writer like Alice Walker is a good one or that a good writer like Toni Morrison is a great one. I don’t have to pretend that Islam means peace."
I don't know if I can improve upon that pithy insight. Again, a source of much confusion emanates from the left's misappropriation of the beautiful word "liberal" to flatter themselves and imply that theirs is anything other than a form of mental and spiritual bondage. (Being that they have now sullied the word "liberal," they have had to come up with a new magical word under which to hide their illiberal philosophy, "progressivism.")
In fact, there are few things less liberating than the self-imposed mental strait-jacket in which the leftist tries to think and live. The warp and weft of the strait-jacket are the various lies that constitute his worldview -- including a primordial lie which forms the substance of the threads. Leftism is a "web of lies," and for this reason, soon enough becomes a den of thieves. But there is honor among the thieves: it is called "political correctness."
There is a kind of pseudo-liberation that accompanies the Lie, is there not? Thanks to Freud's insights, it is now a banality to point out that the epistemophilic (truth-loving) impulse is easily subverted by various unconscious processes, so that we believe things not because they are true, but because they are comfortable, convenient, self-flattering, etc. But in reality, the only appropriate motive for believing something is that it be true.
For example, the "women's liberation movement" can promulgate the lie that women and men are identical, and one assumes that the lie will have a certain appeal to a certain kind of disturbed woman, who will embrace the lie and feel "liberated" from the pain of sexual difference, or from some feeling of inferiority, or of internalized oppression, or of hostility (or disappointment or frustration) toward men.
But for a normal person, these sexual differences are a source of delight -- and at times frustration and bewilderment. But the frustrations are like the rocks against which we polish our character -- in short, through which we grow toward the divine image and likeness. Growth only occurs amidst some kind of dynamic tension, so the easiest way to eliminate growth is to remove the tension with a magical ideology such as radical feminism. But all politically correct speech is designed to eliminate a tension that would make growth possible.
Here is a simple example, one brought up by Rudy Giuliani the other day. Better yet, I'll just say it how I would have said it: the so-called Palestinians are a gang of bloodthirsty cannibals, so it doesn't matter if they are led by one barbarian faction or the other. Until they recognize Israel's right to exist and stop behaving like savages, then there is nothing to discuss. Such barbarians are certainly not deserving of a state, if that's what you're driving at. What, are you crazy?"
Ooooh, tension! Yes, but so bracing, so refreshing! You cannot make the tension go away with banalities and canards such as "ancient hatreds," "occupation," "moral equivalence," "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter," etc. Those are all vicious lies, vicious because they reward evil, punish the good, and prevent healthy change, or growth.
But if you can first establish the Big Lie that absolute truth does not exist (or that humans cannot know it), then you have paved the way for people to legitimately believe all kinds of nonsense that results from the "motivated stupidity" of the unconscious. You have, in effect, sanctioned mental illness. Not just sanctioned, but elevated it to the ultimate value. For make no mistake: if you understand what I am saying, then you will understand that multiculturalism, moral relativism, diversity, "tolerance," and all the other ruling ideas of leftism are not just wrong, but sick. And not just sick, but terminal. They are sickness unto death, in that, once embraced, the mind is strangled by them from the inside out, and cannot grow toward Truth. Rather, the mind can only grow if the person liberates himself from the leftist strait-jacket altogether.
As Hermanic Mysteress Joan pointed out the other day, the founder of leftism, Professor S. Nake, based his entire appeal on a false promissse that partaking of his philosssophy would result in immortality. But the opposite is true: partaking of this philosophy represents death to the mind, since the mind can only grow by metabolizing truth. Yes, it also grows as a result of metabolizing love, but not if it is the wrong kind of love. This is a critical point that many sentimental and flabby-minded leftists do not understand -- you know, the idea that "All You Need is Love." Not true. If you love what is false, or indecent, or ugly, then love is the last thing we need -- any more than we need hatred of what is good.
From this you see that -- of necessity --
Love is the seed in you of every virtue,
And of all acts deserving punishment. --Dante
The same man -- being that he was a borderline personality, it is not surprising -- wrote the lines Just gimme some truth / All I want is the truth (no, not Dante, Lennon). Now, that's more like it. However, in Lennon's case, since he maintained until the end of his life that "all you need is love," he never found the truth which he demanded. Instead, he died with a headful of gimme -- as do all committed leftists.
Yes, it is an eternal tragedy, but they don't know it, and will hate you if you try to dislodge the vital lie from their head. For they love the lie, the comforter, the helper, the anti-paraclete. Come to think about it, as the man himself sang, Whatever gets you through the night, it's alright / Do it wrong or do it right, it's alright. The Lie is whatever gets you through the long night sea journey between birth and death. It is what the Nowhere Man clutches to his breast between nothing and nullity.
Oh my, yes (from the same City Lights piece linked above):
"This is leftism’s great strength: it’s all white lies. That’s its only advantage, as far as I can tell. None of its programs actually works, after all. From statism and income redistribution to liberalized criminal laws and multiculturalism, from its assault on religion to its redefinition of family, leftist policies have made the common life worse wherever they’re installed. But because it depends on — indeed is defined by — describing the human condition inaccurately, leftism is nothing if not polite. With its tortuous attempts to rename unpleasant facts out of existence — he’s not crippled, dear, he’s handicapped; it’s not a slum, it’s an inner city; it’s not surrender, it’s redeployment — leftism has outlived its own failure by hiding itself within the most labyrinthine construct of social delicacy since Victoria was queen."
But there are manners and there is "mannerism," an "exaggerated or affected adherence to a particular style or manner." Or, one can have no manners at all while being "mannered," which is to say, "having an artificial or stilted character." The purpose of good manners is to promote civility by distinguishing ourselves from our animal nature through various rituals and behavors. But the elaborate mannerisms and affectations of political correctness are indeed exaggerated, artificial, and stilted. No one can adhere to them and still be a "real person."
Now, this thought came to me yesterday afternoon while doing some serious hangtime in the backyard hammock: human beings live between Truth and understanding.
Eh, what Petey? Could you repeat that? I was dozing off!
But my household gnome had already shimmered past the hedge to God knows where.
What could Petey have possibly meant?
I suppose it is this: truth is given to us to understand. This is a critical point, because while a man can know many things that are untrue, it is not possible to understand something that is untrue. For example, this is why we cannot understand true evil. It is incomprehensible, which is one of the things that marks it as evil.
On the other hand, this is why it is not exactly correct to say that we can "know" God. After all, most of the evil committed in the name of God is done so in the belief that they know God. But do they understand God? No, obviously not.
As brother Blake expressed it, truth cannot be told so as to be understood and not believed. This is why leftists do not understand religion, despite what they may "know" about it. And again, this is why it is so utterly fruitless to debate an atheist, because all they can tell you is what they know. But ask them what they understand of God, and their only honest response can be "nothing."
Which is a good place to start the healing process -- of liberating oneself from the wisdom that is folly in the eyes of God. That worldly wisdom has an expiration date, which is the date you expire. And you shall surely expire.
About eight months ago I wrote a post on the actual commandment, entitled "Lies and the Lying Liars who Live Them." I'm guessing it will be new to most readers. For the rest of you, you're free. Here are some excerpts:
"Lies and the Lying Liars who Live Them"
That would be us. For, depending on how you look at it, God became man so that man might become God. Or, Brahman became Maya so that Maya might become Brahman. Or perhaps Truth became falsehood so that falsehood might become Truth.
The enigmatic Christian esoterist Boris Mouravieff wrote that “We live in a world ruled by lies. Lying and stealing are the dominant elements of human character whatever the race, creed or caste. Whoever says that this is not true simply tells another lie. Man lies because in a world ruled by lies it is not possible to for him to do otherwise.... [T]he progress of this civilization, which is the fruit of an intellectual culture, considerably increases the need for lying.”
I believe it was Burke who said that culture “reconciles a man to everything,” no matter how foolish or barbarous the custom. But some cultures are so immersed in the Lie that they cannot help producing lying liars, most dramatically in the Middle East, but obviously here in the United States as well, only in a more subtle form. For example, the pressure of political correctness is an instrument of coercion designed to reconcile you to the infrahuman lies of the left.
In conducting a psychological evaluation, patients are often motivated to lie -- to make it appear that they are better or worse off than they actually are, or that one thing is responsible for their distress when it is actually another. And yet, a part of them knows they are lying and is uncomfortable with the fact. In his heart, even absent a divine commandment, man (a normal man, anyway) knows that he should not lie. Why is that? Why this grudging respect for a thing called truth, even among cynical postmodernists who are too jaded to believe that such a thing exists?
We live in a world of forces. Just as human beings are tripartite entities consisting of body, mind and spirit, there are physical forces, mental forces, and spiritual forces. In the spiritual-intellectual realm, truth is a force. There is a reactionary counter-force which we call "lying," which, if you think about it for even a moment, has probably had a greater impact and influence on the world than Truth. Or at the very least, it is a constant battle. Truth is always embattled on all sides, just as light is by definition surrounded by darkness. Darkness, on the other hand, is not necessarily surrounded by light. Not for nothing did Jesus crack that the adversary “was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own substance, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
This is an interesting statement, for it suggests that lies are somehow a "human substance," somewhat like a spider that spins a web out of its own body. Truth, on the other hand, is not, and cannot be of human origins. It is somehow anterior to us, and it is only for us to discover or remember it -- what Plato called anamnesis. And oh what a tangled web we weave, compared to the spider.....
You'd think it would be uncontroversial to utter a simple truth, but you'd be wrong, wouldn't you? If you don't believe in the force of falsehood, try sharing a controversial but banal truth at one of our elite universities, such as "men and women are fundamentally different and, on average, excel at different things," or "children do better with a mother and a father than with two mothers and two fathers," or “racial quotas hurt blacks," or “some, if not most, cultures are patently sick." It seems that to carry Truth is to pick up a cross and paint a target on one's back.
Animals cannot lie. While they can have certain naturally selected mechanisms of deception, they cannot live a lie (actually, as an astute commenter mentioned the other day, it might be possible if the luckless pet has a particularly nutty owner, like James Wolcott). But living a lie is in the normal course of events for human beings. Talleyrand once remarked that language was given to man so as to conceal his thoughts. Interestingly, this problem is fully recognized in scripture, as the very first conversations recorded in the Bible are a tissue of lies. The serpent lies to the woman, the woman transmits the lie to the man, and the man lies about it to God. The very emergence of self-consciousness seems to be inseparable from lying. Isn’t that interesting?
A cursory glance at history -- or at the idiotorial pages of the New York Times -- establishes the fact that lying is absolutely fundamental to human existence, even though the idea wasn't systematized until the early 20th century, in the works of Freud (the good Freud) and his followers. In particular, the psychoanalyst W.R. Bion developed a sophisticated epistemology showing how a vital lie is at the basis of most all forms of psychopathology. He made the provocative observation that the lie requires a thinker to think it, whereas the truth does not, for it simply is. We discover truth, but it takes a thinker to concoct the lie (and, I might add, a brilliant thinker such as Marx or Chomsky to create the most grandiose lies). And once the lie is in place, it causes the psyche to enter a sort of parallel universe, for it constructs itself on the foundations of that primordial lie.
In my own colorful terminology, I have called these internalized lies "mind parasites." I believe the term is an accurate one, for it is meant to convey the idea that a vital lie that lodges itself in the psyche is not static, but takes on the characteristics of the host, so to speak. In other words, the mind parasite has at its disposal the most complex and sophisticated entity in all of creation, the human brain. Therefore, it can easily justify itself, elaborate itself, gang up on the truth, intimidate healthier parts of the psyche. It's like a dictator who uses legitimate means to come to power, but then corruptly uses all of the levers of power to stay there and eliminate opponents -- similar to how liberalism gradually morphed into the illiberal leftism which now controls the Democratic party.
Just as freedom and truth are necessarily linked -- i.e., no one who is living a lie is actually free -- those who are in thrall to the lie are slaves. While they may enjoy a subjective sense of freedom, it is an illusion. In fact, they have forfeited their freedom and are attached to a spiritually suffocating demon generated out of their own psychic substance, just like the above referenced spider.
Think of a vivid example that comes readily to mind -- the Islamists. Is it not obvious to one and all (er, no) that they are absolutely enslaved by artificial beings of their own creation? And that they want everyone else to be enslaved by the same demons? Does this not demonstrate the insane power of demons and the lies they propagate? And how the liberal media simply treats the lie as another variety of truth? You know, "who are we to judge? The Middle East is just too complex."
There are personal mind parasites and collective mind parasites. Many cultures revolve entirely around monstrous entities that have been engendered by whole communities, such as the Aztec. Here again, it would be wrong to say that the Aztec had a bloodthirsty god -- rather, it clearly had them. Thousands upon thousands of human beings sacrificed to satisfy this god's appetite for human blood, elaborate mechanisms set up to supply fresh bodies, the heart of the sacrificial victim cut out by the officiating priest who would himself take a bite out of it while it was still beating. A whole society of Jeffrey Dahmers trying desperately to allay their existential anxiety by vampirically ingesting the life force of others. The head-chopping Izlambies are just the latest edition of this primordial anti-religion. But you undoubtedly know some people in your own life who do the same thing -- hungry ghosts who "feed" on the spirit (or the blog) of others.
In all times and in all places, human beings have looked for ways to objectify, worship, and appease their self-created demons. This is preferable to having them run around loose in one's own psyche. Take again the example of the typical beast of Islamist depravity. How would one even begin to tell him: "you have a persecutory entity inside of you that your life revolves around. You have placed it outside of yourself, in the 'infidels,' so as to make your life bearable, for it conceals a truth that is too painful to endure. Would you like to put down that meat cleaver and talk about it?"
To a large extent, this dynamic is at the heart of more mundane politics as well. For those who do not experience George Bush as a demon, it is impossible to understand those who do, any more than we can really understand the motivations of the Aztec. The collective mind parasite has a grammar and logic all its own, inaccessible to all but initiates into the Lie. And even they do not really understand it. Rather, they just bow down before it and obey it.
You don't actually want to get that close to an intoxicating Lie of that magnitude. It's not safe. Better to observe it from a respectful distance. Otherwise, you will find yourself pulled down into a false world of counter-lying rather than simple truth. You cannot create an artificial "good demon,” which is what secular leftists are trying to do when they aren't creating bad ones. Those critical critics who criticize my "negativity" probably think I am engaging in the former--heatedly countering the lie -- when I am calmly engaged in the latter -- simply affirming the truth as naturally as a bird sings. This is the inner meaning of "resist not evil." Resist it in the wrong way, and you come into its orbit.
For a demon operates through a combination of will and imagination. You may think of perverse will as the male principle and perverse imagination as the female principle. Together they beget the demon child that then controls the parents, taking over both will and imagination. Consider how so much art and academic nonsense is nothing more than the elaboration of the perverse imagination -- ideological superstructures giving cover to lies of various magnitude. Think of how much "activism" is simply the angry agitation of the perverse will.
Truth is a living thing, a Being that cannot be reduced to the idolatrous systems of men, especially corrupted men who do not honor Truth to begin with. Most modern and postmodern ideologies and philosophies are opiates for elites too sophisticated for such nonsense as Truth. But like all misused drugs, “Lies gravely affect our mind; they distort the undeveloped organs of the Personality, upon which depends the effort that must lead us to the second Birth.... Even more, lying makes the man who aspires to evolution go backwards” (Mouravieff).
Why is that? Maybe because the Truth became falsehood so that falsehood might become Truth.
Such a tangled web, whether it is the war or the economy.