Monday, May 21, 2012

Deicide: This Time No Screw-Ups!

In his parable of the madman, Nietzsche implies that one must be both a little crazy and ahead of one's time to recognize that God is dead -- like a wild-eyed prophet, really, bearing the stark news that men are not yet prepared to accept:

"The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. 'Whither is God?' he cried; 'I will tell you. We have killed him -- you and I. All of us are his murderers.

"But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns?

"'Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.

"'How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us -- for the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto.'"

Again, Nietzsche is refreshingly candid, not to mention poetic, about the implications of deicide. I'll take a deicidal literary genius any day over an atheistic mediocrity, because at least the former points up in spite of himself.

The problem with our contemporary atheists is that they are shaped by an altogether different culture than was Nietzsche, essentially the cramped world of scientism instead of the wider world of art, letters, and literature. You might say that the styleless style of atheism that flows from vulgar scientism is just too facile to be true. With a little education, anyone can believe it, which our trolls prove.

Being a consistent atheist poses as much -- if not more -- of a challenge than being a consistent theist. After all, a theist has the aid of heaven, whereas the atheist must accomplish his promethean -- not to say sisyphean -- task on his own. (Interesting that no matter where man goes, myth has been there first, from stealing light to rolling stones. Myth always comprehends man more than man comprehends myth, unlike, say, science, where this relation is reversed.)

In a way, the mythic situation sketched out by Nietzsche parallels the situation of Adam, or, if one prefers, the first man who awakened to his manhood and thereby became one. These questions confront any man qua man, e.g., Where are we moving? Is there any actual direction, or is this a meaningless question? Is there any up or down, or any vertical at all? Are we not floating, as through an infinite nothing? And how shall we comfort ourselves? What means of atonement, what sacred rituals shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of man too great for a mere man, an unimpressive biped who learned to yap just yesterday and hasn't shut up since? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?

If it is true that myth shapes man -- that there exist preconceptual categories through which thought courses -- then each man is heir to the ontological inclinations of all men, irrespective of whether one calls it theism or atheism. Thus, we have "prophets of atheism" such as the above madman, who has more in common with the prophet of God than with the contemporary atheistic scribbler.

Now, man in his natural state is spontaneously oriented to God. This is something no one could deny, because the anthropological evidence proves that there is no culture without the conception of an absolute that accounts for the genesis of the cosmos, the purpose of existence, and the means of salvation.

That being the case, in order for the madman prophet of atheism to succeed, he must not only murder God, but destroy the very conditions that make God necessary. Because if he doesn't eliminate those conditions, then they will continue to evoke God.

Consider a physiological analogy. You can ban sweets, but so long as human beings have a sweet tooth, they will keep discovering and being drawn to sweets.

Continuing with the analogy, the dietary madman can't just ban sweets, but flood the world with anti-sweets propaganda, so that a kind of unnatural aversion is superimposed over the natural attraction.

Ideology functions in the same way, for example, vis-a-vis the homosexual agenda. In order to transform something everyone knows is unnatural into something natural, the instinct of aversion must be displaced, which is how and why "homophobia" was invented. I suppose there are a handful of true homophobes with psychological issues of their own -- people with an irrational animus toward homosexuals -- but the real purpose of homophobia is to shame and pathologize normalcy.

So in order to truly eradicate God, we must amputate, excise, or in some way annihilate that part of man that is spontaneously oriented toward his creator and source. We have seen how this works in America over the past seventy-five years or so, whereby the legal system now functions in this way.

To take just one absurd example that comes to mind, a few years ago the County of Los Angeles was forced by the court to remove a tiny cross from its official seal, which required millions of dollars to track down every last seal on every car, every office door, every building, every piece of stationery. The cross had always been there, as it is a banal historical fact that the territory was settled by Spanish missionaries, but as always, history must bow before ideology. Plus, you know, the government has so much money anyway, we don't know what to do with it.

In Science, Politics, and Gnosticism, Voegelin explains how it all goes down. It is the task of the ideological historian,

"... once the world beyond truth has disappeared, to establish the truth of this world. Thus, the critique of heaven is transformed into the critique of earth; the critique of religion, into the critique of law; the critique of theology, into the critique of politics" (Bottomore, italics in original).

Note that this is no longer a disinterested quest for truth as we have come to understand it, but a kind of mental activism; it is no longer theory, but practice:

"Its subject is its enemy, which it seeks not to refute, but to annihilate.... It no longer acts as an end in itself, but only as a means. Its essential emotion is indignation; its essential task is denunciation" (ibid).

Boy, is that true. In another book I was reading this weekend, I came across this little wise crack, that "Indignation usually erupts into exaggeration." I'm thinking of George Zimmerman, or the Duke Lacrosse team, or that lazy bitch Ann Romney, or Obama's whole reelection campaign, really. State and class enemies everywhere!

To be continued...

8 Comments:

Blogger Rick said...

In order to be mad, there must exist the potential to be sane. In a way, to say, "sane man" is redundant.

I see this a lot, the borrowing of language by the atheists. Especially religious or creationist expressions and terms. Do they do this for our benefit? I don't think so. It all seems to be reactionary and muddled or chopped-off thinking.

I finished Berlinski's book, The devil's Delusion. It was hard to put down. He makes mince meat of the atheists. Often pointing out their strange use of language for so-claimed non-believers. He is a fine writer and his wit and way of making his points reminds me of your writing, Bob.

5/21/2012 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Another great topic. Wish I had time to add more to the conversation, but the conspiracy is underway.

5/21/2012 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

Yeah, there's a lot of pathologizing normalcy these days. It's been an effective tactic for a long time and evermore brazen as time goes by. Good is bad and bad is good and let's not forget to celebrate Planned Parenthood's Masturbation Month. However did civilization survive before pubescent masturbation education.

5/21/2012 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

That's actually a great point - once you kill god, pretty much all that's left is masturbation.

5/22/2012 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Yep, once you've banished the source of meaning, there can be no meaning in anything you do.

Stimulation is the only game in town, and it is All about self stimulation... even if you happen to use other people as prosthetics, it's still self-stimulation.

And you will definitely go blind.

5/22/2012 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Good stuff by thegood Doctor:

"Through its contemplation of divinity, religion gives free men the priceless gift of an authority forever higher than the State. It is not necessary to accept any religion’s portrayal of this authority, or even its literal, conscious existence, to benefit from the concept of clearly defined, inalienable rights flowing from a source that lies above politics. Those rights are not subject to argument or barter. No coalition of your fellow citizens can strip them from you with the coercive power of government, or purchase them from you by dipping into the treasury of the State."

5/22/2012 07:15:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"Its subject is its enemy, which it seeks not to refute, but to annihilate.... It no longer acts as an end in itself, but only as a means. Its essential emotion is indignation; its essential task is denunciation" (ibid).
Boy, is that true. "

You betcha. I used a quote in a post I put up yesterday, Eclipsing Justice, from Lenin, that sums it up well:

"'Why should we bother to reply to Kautski? He would reply to us, and we would have to reply to his reply. There's no end to that. It will be quite enough for us to announce that Kautski is a traitor to the working class, and everyone will understand everything.'

And I'd like to say 'you wouldn't believe this!', but sadly it is too believable, but I've got a link and a snippet of a university page who's offering a 'Virtual Socrates' (dressed in a roman toga, of course), which is going to be the heart of an online philosophy degree through multiple variations on lifeboat ethics scenarios.

The subject is its enemy.
Virtual Philosophy = Actual Misosophy

5/22/2012 07:21:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Hey! How'd my name expand?

Friggin' Google+ Blogger... argh.

Meh.

5/22/2012 07:28:00 AM  

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