Living in the Shadows of What Needn't Be
Still, Petey pointed in silence, downward to the grave by which it stood.
"The course of our lives will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead," offered Bob. "But if those courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me!"
While no form of leftism, materialism, scientism, or secularism is to be taken intellectually (let alone spiritually) seriously, I do take seriously orthodox spiritual views that clash with mine.
The reason for this is that no form of materialism, whether explicit or implicit, is sufficient to account for the richness, depth, and complexity of the world, and can never result in the metacosmic unity even scientists presume to exist. On the other hand, if the other guy has a plausible alternate explanation of spiritual unity, then that needs to be given its due, since there cannot be two unities. Either one of them is wrong, or else one can be assimilated into the other.
This is why I spend so much time pondering the traditionalist view that terrestrial perfection -- which is to say, unity -- lies in the past, and that time is an ultimately degenerative process. This goes directly against my intuitive sense that time is ultimately progressive, even though from within time, things are always simultaneously getting worse and better, so it's understandable that some people see through the half empty glass darkly.
It's very much analogous to the free market, which, at any given moment, will appear to create "problems" such as "income inequality." But if one tries to force incomes to be more equal -- to "spread the wealth around" -- it just results in less wealth, productivity, and affluence for the system as a whole.
Now, a lot of puzzling and even startling things happen within time -- i.e., apparent ontological discontinuities -- that I believe cannot be sufficiently (i.e., in a way that satisfies our total intellect) explained by either science or by tradition, but only by a higher synthesis of the two, which is what I attempted to do in the Coonifesto.
You might say that the vertical is One, the horizontal is two, and man is the higher third that unites them; or, in the Laosy absurcular logic of Taoism, The Tao gives birth to One / One gives birth to Two / Two gives birth to Three / Three gives birth to all things. So the Three and One are really two sides of the same mata-reality beyond being.
Speaking of those discontinuities, there is not, nor will there ever be, any scientific explanation of the phenomenon of life itself, nor of human consciousness. These are well beyond the limits of what materialistic science can deal with. Obviously, human consciousness explains science, not vice versa. Likewise, language and reason explain natural selection, not the converse. If evolution were the cause of language, then the truth of evolution could not be known. This is axiomatic.
I think we can stipulate that the world is either headed toward apocalypse or unity. If time is progressive, then history represents an arc of salvolution that will result in the reunification of the world, after our 50,000 year journey out of Africa and into the prismhouse of time and cultural diversification.
If this reunification -- i.e., higher synthetic unity -- does not occur, then I agree with the traditionalists that mankind cannot be sustained, and that we are headed toward some sort of disaster foretold in all of the world's mythologies -- a disaster that falls under the heading of "apocalypse." No one knows the time, the hour, or the details, but it will be nasty. Sort of like the fantasies of the global warming hysterics, only in reality.
The question is, does history have an expiration date, or does it have a way to "renew" and regenerate itself? There are many ways to look at this question. The Christian view would be that history essentially reached its inevitable nadir long ago, which is why God decided to take things into his own hands and jump down into his creation so as to reverse its downward course. Absent having done so, history would have continued winding down into chaos and barbarism. While humans may have still existed, it would be in a kind of spiritual darkness that we can scarcely conceive.
Actually, we don't really have to look far to perceive the shadow of this darkness, for it not only exists within ourselves, but pervades certain precincts of the present world untouched by the Judeo-Christian TimeLifeStream, perhaps most visibly in the Islamist death cult and the necropolis of the psychospiritual left, both of which are a kind of parasitic Death that feeds on Life.
It's not just that we merely "disagree" with the left. Rather, we regard it as a pure horror, for if we had to reduce our consciousness down to the level from which it proceeds, we would no longer be ourselves. And then there would be no point to living. Might as well become a community organizer.
Christopher Dawson was a (small t) traditionalist, but did not believe that history was inevitably winding down. He did, however, feel that only a spiritual rebirth could reverse our downward historical trend.
As Birzer explains, Dawson saw "beyond the mechanistic and materialistic understanding of history," and arrived "at a meta-history that transcended and transfigured conventional historical assumptions." Whereas the conventional historian who focuses on the "raw material" of history can "lose sight of the deeper spiritual forces that make history intelligible to us," Dawson attempted to place the individual "within a larger mythological understanding of story and history" and to render "the past present by the light of the eternal omnipresent." In short, the One can illuminate the Two in a way that the Two can never directly illuminate the One.
In point of fact, the historian cannot help but place history within the context of a larger myth, the question being whether it is a true or false one. In ether worlds, we speak of myth in the proper sense of a narrative that embodies and discloses archetypal reality, not in the fallen sense of mere quasi-animal passive imagination. "It is only in the poetic imagination which is akin to that of the child and the mystic that we can feel the pure sense of mystery and transcendence which is man's natural element" (Dawson).
Any sort of leftist historicism derived from Marx is not just pure mythology (in the luciferic sense), but is a counter myth that is not rooted in any kind of transcendent reality, only in the fevered imagination of the leftist. The same can be said for the myths of scientism, atheism and materialism. Naturally, Dawson was not taken seriously by these intellectually unserious types, since "he took seriously the importance of the Creator, the profound implications of the Incarnation, and the movement of the Holy Spirit in history."
Dawson viewed history through the mirror of revelation instead of the projection of ideology -- and not just the revelation of scripture, but through the living revelation (↓) given him by the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, history itself is a revelation of that same Spirit, so the writing of history ultimately involves spirit interpreting Spirit, so to speak. There is no question that he was just as "scholarly" as any academic historian, except that he was free from the narrow and artificial constraints of various fashionable ideologies which come and go.
For Dawson, historicism is "the belief that men can, by the use of their natural powers, discover an inner meaning in the historical process." But "a civilization cannot long survive the dying of belief in a transcendent order that brought the culture into being." Therefore, by "re-mythologizing" history, Dawson was simply doing what I said must be done to avoid eventual catastrophe, which is to write a universal history in the teeth of forces that "desire nothing less than the total subversion and destruction of all that is True, Good, and Beautiful."
Although it is always the blest and curst of times, Dawson may be forgiven for believing that he lived in a somewhat uniquely perilous age, in that (writing in 1940) "the dark forces that have been chained by a thousand years of Christian civilization... have now been set free to conquer the world." Fascism, communism, socialism, and any other illiberal statism all depend upon and flow from the de-Christianization and re-paganization of the West, and the gradual descent into "a chaos of pure sensation."
It should go without saying that there is no merely "human" cure for this temporal descent (since it is a downward prolongation, so to speak, of our fallen humanness), and that "the forces of evil cannot be successfully resisted without the power of Spirit," the only thing which can carry on the work of Creation and thereby reverse our otherwise inevitable Fall.
"Good Petey," cried the B'ob, as down upon the ground he fell: "Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you’ve shown me, by an altered life!"
"I'll think about it," sayeth Petey.
"Okay, then, how's this: I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I shall dilate time and live in and above the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me toward their ultimate fulfillment. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may overcome my higher education and sponge away the writing on this stone! Cut me some slack, O ambiguous spirit!"