The Huge Mythunderstanding of Postmodernism
Here's the problem: irrespective of how much you love tradition and the permanent things, profane time is a one-way street, so we're not going to go back to the medieval synthesis, any more than we're going to return to the Summer of Love, the Roaring Twenties, the Gilded Age, the Renaissance, or anywhen else. Rather, the best we can hope for is to make this slippery slidetrack into postmodernism a blessedly short one. It may require the last boomer to be strangled with the entrails of the last hippy, but it will eventually end.
But then what? A civilization that is not rooted in, and organized around, a robust and integral mythology is not long for the world -- which is one more reason why the "reality based community" is anything but. Yes, you can disenchant, disenthrall, and deconstruct the world, but at the cost of making it uninhabitable for the human soul. I dare any of you to see how long you can tolerate, say, Little Green Footballs or Huffingtonpost, before asphyxiating. Only the living dead can breath there among those fixated asses.
If you are not yet aware of "vertical respiration," then you have a ways to go before you can smell what is wrong with the world. In a very real sense, the hysterical obsession with global warming is a displaced crisis of the soul -- which is the very reason why it so transparently partakes of mythology and is impervious to the light of reason.
For man cannot live in the absence of myth, which is the soul-nurturing domain of cosmic meta-narratives that organize our lives, structure our values, and confer meaning upon our existence. And if you imagine that Darwinism, socialism, or scientism are devoid of myth (in the pernicious sense), then you are not even naive, for real naivete implies innocence. Nor are you necessarily "disingenuous" (although some of the ruling mythmakers are), for that implies conscious manipulation.
Rather, you are more like a sick child who suffers from what is called "pseudo-maturity." Such a child, for whatever reason, has been prematurely exiled from the real human world -- the world of imagination -- into the dry infrahuman desert of utility, pragmatism and adaptation to matter. But to adapt to matter is to adequate the soul to what is far beneath it, which is no adequation at all. Rather, it is the sine qua non of maladaptation, for it is the abolition of man; it is literally to "turn to stone" and call it bread.
It cannot be overemphasized that, as William Blake knew, Imagination is the real and eternal world of which this vegetable universe is but a faint shadow. Or, as Terence McKenna observed, "The imagination argues for a divine spark in human beings. It is absolutely confounding if you try to see imagination as a necessary quantity in biology. It is an emanation from above -- literally a descent of the world soul..."
This is why I argued in my book that the acquisition of humanness is just that: an acquisition, an accomplishment, the conquest of a kind of virtual space. In other words, the human world is not an "empty space" that somehow emerged out of random genetic mutations in some unlucky primate mom & population. Rather, what is so striking about the human world is that is filled with very specific content, a logoistic and mythopoetic content of great truth and beauty, and which has nothing whatsoever to do with the meaningless Darwinian journey from bacterium to Bach.
Koestler said that "the evolution of the human brain not only overshot the needs of prehistoric man, [but] is also the only example of evolution providing a species with an organ which it does not know how to use; a luxury organ, which will take its owner thousands of years to learn to put to proper use -- if he ever does."
Take the example of, oh, I don't know, the undiebomber. Is he putting his luxury organ to good use (to say nothing of his standard equipment)? If not, why not? Darwinism does not ask -- cannot ask -- whether something is good or bad; rather, it either is or isn't adapted to its environment. And the undiebomber is perfectly adapted to the psychic environment of Islamofascism -- just as the slaveholder was perfectly adapted to the economic system of his day.
The other day I caught a few minutes of a program my son was watching. Somehow, a little one-man rocket ship appeared out of the future. One of the boys got into it, and off it went. Of course, he had no idea how to operate it, any more than a caveman would know how to drive a car. He fumbled around frantically, trying to prevent it from crashing.
But that is the essence of the human situation. We come into the world as genetically stone age babies, and find ourselves absurdly situated in the most complex and powerful vehicle in the entire cosmos. And we have no idea how to operate it. What will this baby do out on the open road? That is the question adolescents face, which is why it is such a dangerous transition.
Now, the latest human model has been out of the showroom for 100,000 years, give or take. But throughout that time, it has been gaining speed at an exponential rate. Consider the fact that it took roughly 60,000 years to colonize the world of beauty, as memorialized in the timeless images of Lascaux or Alta Mira. It then took another 30,000 years to leave the neolithic behind, and to start forming cities and civilizations. Then 5,000 or 6,000 years for the axial age, when we downloaded all of the great nonlocal revelations. Then a few thousand more years for science, democracy, individualism, and free markets.
And it has taken until now to reach the post-postmodern world. Which is what, exactly? First of all, please note that every significant evolutionary advance also (and primarily) involves a divine descent. It may appear as if we're "progressing" forward, but I think it's more accurate to say that any genuine progress means that the divine plane is penetrating more deeply into matter, so to speak. You will have noticed that as you develop spiritually, this is very much what occurs: it is as if the (↓) pounds itself more deeply into your soul, like a concrete pillar into a swamp.
However, it must be recognized that man is woven of both freedom and necessity, so that adapting to the world of spirit is not really analogous to adapting to the cold and dead world of matter. It is not like gaining tenure. Rather, this adaptation takes place in the imagination, and the imagination is fluid, spontaneous, and ceaselessly creative.
Russell Kirk wrote that "All great systems, ethical or political, attain their ascendancy over the minds of men by virtue of their appeal to the imagination; and when they cease to touch the chords of wonder and mystery and hope, their power is lost, and men look elsewhere for some set of principles by which they may be guided." Like, oh, I don't know, gaia worship mythquerading as climate change.
This is why the infrahuman world of metaphysical Darwinism will never appeal to the human soul, and why only those with catastrophically withered, atrophied, and devolved imaginations could think that it explains the human psyche. The tragedy is not that it explains mankind, because it doesn't; rather, the tragedy is that it explains the soulless Darwinian. If this narrow and oppressive ideology should ever be successful in colonizing the soul of man, then man is finished.
To be continued....