Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Demon Haunted World of the Spiritually Repressed Left

I am still intrigued by Lee Harris’ essay, in which he highlights the psychologically transformative value of leftist thought. Leftism is romantic to the core, allowing the average nobody to imagine that he is a somebody by participating in the righteous fantasy of socialist revolution. Secularists like to poke fun at the “Left Behind” books, but their own thinking is no less absurd and mythological.

“[T]he revolutionary socialist's life is transformed because he accepts the myth that one day socialism will triumph, and justice for all will prevail. What mattered for [Georges] Sorel... is not the scientific truth or falsity of the myth believed in, but what believing in the myth does to the lives of those who have accepted it, and who refuse to be daunted by the repeated failure of their apocalyptic expectations... the myth of socialism will continue to have power, despite the various failures of socialist experiments, so long as there are revolutionaries who are unwilling to relinquish their great myth.”

Thus, we can see that leftism derives its power quite explicitly from the deep structure of religion. It is simply a displacement of religious impulses onto a horizontal substitute, very similar to a sexual perversion, in which the individual, say, becomes fixated on a shoe or another article of clothing for gratification. In fact, we might think of leftism as a religious perversion--an immature and inappropriate form of spiritual gratification. Noam Chomsky's obsessive mental masturbation comes immediately to mind.

This is an idea I have had in the past (I may even have mentioned it in the book), but have never completely fleshed out. That is, if the vertical extends up (into the suprasensible domains addressed by art, religion, and morality) and down (into the personal “Freudian” unconscious), then there must be ego defense mechanisms operating in both directions. The ego is just a little point in between these vast spaces above and below.

We are well acquainted with the psychological defense mechanisms that keep the lower vertical at bay--repression, splitting, denial, projection, sublimation, etc. But I’m not sure if anyone has ever applied the same notion to the upper vertical, and suggested that it is equally possible (and sometimes necessary for developmental reasons) to defend ourselves from “the above.”

To cite just one obvious example, what would happen if a person were to “repress” their impulse for transcendence? Just like the sexual impulse, it doesn’t go away. Rather, it attaches itself to another object, a substitute. Of course, it doesn’t have to necessarily be leftism. It could also be rampant materialism, a desire to accumulate wealth in a completely absurd and meaningless way--as if one could somehow be “saved” by having enough money. This might explain what would drive a billionaire to gamble his billion to acquire another billion that he will never need. When you are dealing with a displaced metaphysical problem, you will never be able to get enough of what you don’t really need. You will have created a disguised religious compulsion that will be entirely absurcular.

The mechanism of projection also takes place in the upper vertical. Projection occurs when qualities, feelings, wishes and objects that a person refuses to recognize, or rejects in himself, are “expelled” and located in another person or thing. What is there in the upper vertical that can be projected? In other words, what is the “content” of the upper vertical? A number of things, depending on the degree of being. But at the very least, there is Brahman (the formless God beyond God), the idea of God, the divine intellect (nous), the conscience (that which knows right from wrong in an objective way that is not culturally conditioned), archetypes, and even angels.

Thus, the secular existentialist who regards reality as ultimately meaningless is engaging in a sort of bizarre projection of Brahman, which is beyond name and form. It is a paradox, for this projection causes the existentialist to convert the relative world into an absolute--absolute meaninglessness. In other words, the idea of the absolute is retained, but projected onto the relative, or the phenomenal world of maya.

As Jesus said, “the Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” But not if you are a leftist. Rather, heaven will be projected onto this world, in what the philosopher Eric Voegelin called “immamentizing the eschaton.” This is why the leftist must always attack religion, because the idea of a “sugar candy mountain” after death infringes on the leftist’s desire to make it happen now. For the leftist, Sugar Candy Mountain is Sweden... or Cuba... or even projected backwards to the good old days of Bill Clinton, when there were no terrorists and everyone loved us. There was also no homelessness, no hurricanes, no global warming, no people who refuse to purchase health insurance....

Speaking of which, you cannot have a religion without a conception of ontological evil. Being of a religious nature, I recognize ontological evil when I see it--Zarqawi, Saddam Hussein, Islamism, Yasser Arafat, Hamas. Being of a bizarro-religious nature, the leftist also recognizes ontological evil: President Bush, Karl Rove, Haliburton, Diebold, Samuel Alito, Fox, Rush Limbaugh, the internal combustion engine, oil companies, and so many more.

That’s the problem with leftism as a religion. Since they deny and split off the upper vertical, they are left with a projected world of imaginary demons haunting an accidental landscape of ultimate meaninglessness. Rage is its "gift of the spirit," envy its unholy Eucharist (or dyscharist).

Oh well. At least it keeps them off the street. Oh, wait a minute... that's another difference--those outdoor revival meetings called "demonstrations."


will said...

The left also has its saints - Che Guevara still turns up on t-shirts. Fidel is something of a saint to the left. Danny Ortega was a saint wannabe. Hugo Chavez is virtually campaigning to be a leftist saint.

In the USSR, Lenin was certainly a saint, a prophet as well. In a godawful effort to mimic a saint's incorruptible body after death, they even preserved Lenin's body under glass. Thus Lenin's tomb became a (un)holy shrine to which the faithful could set out on pilgrimage.

To anybody with the spiritual eyes to see, the USSR was an evil without precedent in this world. It helps to remember that, though the USSR is not longer there per se, its influence still ripples across the world. Helps to remember, too, how so much of the American left, particularly beginning in the 60's, relegated communism to the status of "just an alternative form of government", no worse than our own.

Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, I regard Marx as the great anti-Moses with the reverse-Sinai revelation that continues to ripple through history just as the original one.

Michael A. said...

Being that they are opposed, on principle, to what Lewis and Tolkien and their fellow Inklings would have called "true myth", the left continues to breathe life into the only myth in which they permit themselves to believe.

The Religion of the Left also has its Inquisition - held every semester in every Ivy League university, and daily in the pages of the NYT.

Mrs. G said...

Off topic for Will


Could you send me your email address? I found the document I wanted to send you.

Mrs. G

Lisa said...

Why is it that some people continue to worship false gods such as Che, Marx, Lenin, etc. even after they have been proven to be dangerous, ineffective, and spiritually stifling? The cartoon on Dr. Sanity today says it all. It's a socialist flying buggy with Chavez standing over a cliff of crashed ones saying he has a great idea!

We had a guy around here recently who just couldn't or wouldn't get it, no matter how patiently we explained it to him. Are some people just dense or stubborn? Is God planning on intervening soon to slap some sense into these people? It would be very cool to see a biblical-type of intervention by God during my lifetime. I find it very frustrating to see things so clearly that other people cannot see, no matter how many examples are presented. I do not really want to feel superior or above them in some way but it is hard not to. Is that what Buddhist's talk about compassion for? I truly want to believe that we are all created equally but reality is not upholding my beliefs at the moment.

dilys said...

This is from George Weigel, Europe's Two Culture Wars:
"Claire Berlinski aptly quotes the French thinker Chantal Delsol on the philosophical origins of today’s appeasement mentality in Europe: 'Our contemporary cannot imagine for what cause he would sacrifice his life because he does not know what his life means.' "

I think this could be reversed into "One cannot know what his life means until he knows for what cause he would sacrifice his life -- soberly." The revolutionary in a prosperous state may be intoxicated to near-martyrdom, but when the dust clears, there is neither honor nor hope.

The welfare state contributed an icon of itself the other day, the French son [disregarding glaring puer aeternis and necrophilia issues...] who kept his mother's body so he could keep drawing her pension. More and more of civilized life (not even burying your mother, for heaven's sake) is given away to the leftist dream and its consequences.

Some connection to the Upper Vertical with associated truth claims may be the only thing that gives us a shot in the face of Islamism, not academic theory or redistributionist power grabs (as in Marxists willing to give your life for their cause).

Lisa said...

I think the best way to defeat the Islamists is to remind every American that they will have to give up alcohol, music, and bikinis if we lose!

will said...

Sal, re yesterday's comments: Pope JP2 once said, "The last communist will be an American nun."

Mrs. G - yes, will do, thanks.

Nagarjuna said...

As always, a very thought-provoking post, Bob. I hope you'll permit me to make a few comments, despite what you said yesterday.

If I understand you correctly, you're saying that extreme leftists have repressed their religious impulse to find "Heaven" and projected Heaven onto the misguided ideal of a socialist utopia in a manner that amounts to a religious "perversion." But could it not also be said that the capitalist agnostic or atheist has done the same? That is, has he not projected vertical "heaven" onto the misguided horizontal ideal of a capitalist utopia? You seem to say as much when you talk about the unsatisfied billionaire.

And don't people of whatever political persuasion who embrace many forms of popular, fundamentalistic religion pervert the religious impulse by repressing the drive toward genuine transcendence and displacing it into worship of the imperfect, man-made forms of "sacred scripture" (e.g., The Bible and the Qu'ran) and dogma?

As for your comment that leftists attack religion because its promise of a "Sugar Candy Mountain after death infringes on the leftist's desire to make it happen now," this might explain the ferocity of any such attack coming from someone of any political persuasion be it left, right, or somewhere in the middle. But it seems to me that one who has not repressed the religious impulse to vertical transcendence can still challenge, without the ferocity caused by repression of the religious impulse, any religion that says that the pie is in the sky after we die. For is it not the highest wisdom of most if not all the major religious traditions that "the Kingdom of Heaven is within" HERE AND NOW and that we should strive to foster conditions within ourselves and in THIS world at large that honor and nurture the divine in all of us?

One more comment. Not all people lack health insurance simply because they "refuse to purchase" it. A lot of people simply can't afford it. What do you as an unabashed anti-socialist think should be done about this? Do you think every American citizen and legal resident should be guaranteed adequate health coverage? If not, why not? If so, do you believe that private charity can fulfill this guarantee, or must the state be involved in some fashion?

will said...

Lisa, if we lose, I've got a compromise marketing idea for you - the burkini!!

Nagarjuna said...

"We had a guy around here recently who just couldn't or wouldn't get it, no matter how patiently we explained it to him."

Lisa, I'm curious about something. Am I correct in thinking that I'm the "guy" to whom you're referring? If I am, could you tell me what it is that you think I don't get? I'm not asking this to spark an argument. I just want to know what it is that you think I'm too "dense" or "stubborn" to understand. I haven't denied the threat of Islam or the misguided nature of political extremism. I've only suggested that extremisms of any kind, be they religious, political, or economic may leave a lot to be desired and that if we really want things to be better than they are now, we might do well to focus on more than just the evils of leftism.

So, again, what is it that you think I don't "get"?

Lisa said...

Will- Being the Capitalist Pig that I am, "It's a Deal!" ;0)

Lisa said...

You are my lawyer, right?

will said...

Lisa, for you I can be a lawyer. I hope you appreciate the monumental sacrifice on my part.

My primary role is, of course, Deputy. But are we all not Deputies?

Lisa said...

Has anyone seen this blog ?

It is really interesting to see what happens to people when they try to reform Islam. (see comments section) Ayaan Hirsi Ali is another good example, it is too bad for the Dutch that they are kicking her out of that country, but good for us! I really do hope Islam can reform itself before it gets ugly!

And Will, I do appreciate the sacrifice! I guess we all can try to be deputies of light and truth. You just happen to have a special flair, sir!

jwm said...

From LGF yesterday:

The theoretical context of the thesis is within Sociology of Religion and Gender Theory. The interview material is related to five contexts: religion as meaning system, conversion narratives, gender as a social construction, modern and late modern societies, and religion in modern and late modern societies.

This delightful little bit of academic newspeak is from a scholarly work exploring the question of why Swedish women are converting to islam. Think about that for a second.
Swedish women.
Converting to islam.

Why would arguably the most liberated women on the planet living in a socialist paradise even consider converting to the eighth century babarism of islam?

Here you have the end result of replacing Judaeo-Christian values with the doctrines of political correctness, and academic crapthink. Religion is stripped of transcendence, and becomes an academic curiosity- "a meaning system" perhaps worthy of disinterested study, but altogether beneath the dignity of the enlightened. To these knuckleheads, the Torah, the Christian Bible and the koran are equivalents. No difference between a literalist Christian, an Orthodox Jew, and a moslem: just different flavors of the same quaint nonsense. People study religion and gender theory as a "social construct".

A vibrant society becomes a spiritual and intellectual void into which the most pernicious ideas imaginable will flow and take root.
The fruit withers and dies on the vine.

Lisa: "I really do hope Islam can reform itself before it gets ugly!"
How much uglier can islam get?

You speculate on God delivering some kind of Old Testament smackdown. Sometimes I get the feeling we're headed towards just such an event. I don't want to go all apocalyptic on you here, but sometimes I get a sense of foreboding. Like events are spiraling toward something huge, and we'd all do well to be ready for it. Anyway, I hope the end of the world as we know it holds off until after lunch.


Kahntheroad said...


Good points re: any religion or ideology being open to what Bob describes. I used to be a libertarian and something of an objectivist (Ayn Rand's philosophy) and it was definitely a substitute religion. In fact, my views on the left are very much shaped by that experience, as I recognize, and somewhat relate to, the demeanor and rationalizations of today's leftists.

As for health care, you can look around the world (from Cuba to Europe) for real life examples of the consequences of such systems, and the fact that anyone in those countries who can afford it will come here if they require serious treatment.

And yes, health insurance is a choice. For a long time I chose not to have insurance because I couldn't afford it - or, rather, I placed a higher priority on other things. If someone says they can't afford health insurance I'd ask them: Do you have cable? Do you have a cell phone? How many times a week do you eat out? How much do you spend a month on alcohol, drugs and/or cigarettes?

I'm sure the answers would make clear that there is a choice involved.

On top of that we do have programs in place called Medicare and Medicaid for those who, supposedly, can't afford insurance.

And if you want to know why healthcare has become so expensive ask a sampling of participants in those programs how many times they visited the doctor this year, the reasons they went and if they still would have gone if they had to pay for it.

Then ask a doctor how much he is compensated for his time with Medicare or Medicaid patients.

Then ask that doctor if he would have toiled through medical school if 75% of his patients were people with the sniffles exercising their right to free health care.

It's easy to proclaim a 'right' to free healthcare, but before you do so it might be worth considering who will be administering that care once there's no money in it. I don't know about you, but I'd rather put my life in the hands of a surgeon who pulls up to the hospital in his new Ferrari, nice and content after a relaxing night in the hot tub with his buxom trophy wife then some schlub who's squeezing in one more operation for the day to make rent and his student loan payment.

copithorne said...

I am reminded of Wittgenstein's quote, "philosophy is the bewitchment of intelligence by means of language."

The bewitchment here is thick as peanut butter.

jwm said...


Maybe you better leave before someone casts a spell on you.

eenie meenie chilli beenie...


Kahntheroad said...


"we might do well to focus on more than just the evils of leftism."

The evils of radical Islam are perfectly clear, and not worth debating. We have the overwhelming means to easily defeat our enemies (such that little more than a bold and unified front by members of a confident civilized world could have done so with little bloodshed).

Right now, this is not a war of armies, but a war of ideas. All that stands in our way are the ideological enemies within. However well meaning they may be, proponents of the leftist ideology of moral relativism, and appeasement have interfered with our ability to unify behind and project a confidence in our shared values as a just and civil society.

We who see the grave threat before us are seeking to understand why so many who enjoy the fruits of our great civilization are willing to enable those who wish to destroy it.

The Islamists intentions and capacities are clear. Right now our battle is within; it is to reaffirm our shared values and muster the will to fight for our civilization.

In other words, we're fighting so that we can once again project our passion into spirited debates on matters like health care policy.

will said...


Re Swedish women converting to Islam - it could be that, deep within the psyche of the "ultra-liberated", there is a longing for discipline, an iron hand, a balancing counter measure.

And lest we not forget the old saw: "Those who believe in nothing will believe in anything."

Don't forget to order Booger his SmartCat keyboard.

will said...


Re Swedish women converting to Islam, part deux - as it's anti-Western, it's probably considered the hip thing to do.

Petey said...


This is an automated reply from the moonbat detector at One Cosmos. Your recent posts contained certain predictable patterns that matched profiles of other trolls in our database. Please read and memorize before commenting further.


Political Seance 101

Political Seance 201

Hoarhey said...

Kahn and petey,

Testing out rule #2 in Wills' "Law of differing modes of consciousness" eh?
No good deed goes unpunished.
Sucker punch to the gut in 4,3,2,.....

jwm said...

Will: I'm typing very quietly to avoid waking ol' Boogies who is sleeping right here at my left elbow. I've been getting nagged night and day for a Smart Cat unit, but this month I had a chance to snag a mint-in-box 1978 Takara Balatak #3 Trotter space cruiser from a guy in Canada. You gotta' keep in mind I've had the #1 and #2 ships since '78 and I've been looking for the third unit ever since. After 28 years of heartfelt longing, and feeling utterly incomplete as a human being I couln't resist. What person in his right mind could? My wife is just getting adjusted to a diet of surplus rice and dandelion greens. I don't need more pressure from the cat. (by the way, Booger the Cat's a she.)


Anonymous said...

You know although I have two eyes a left eye and a right eye I find its quite a challenge to continually make myself see double... so let me first commend you on having breached into a paradigm luxurious enough to allow you to live that way. shhhh... don't tell anyone but.... there is no evolution there is only realization... whatever that you may believe that you have evolved into witch is really not to far removed from the idea of "baboons with cell phones"is in fact nothing at all, it is simply your mind's eye cristalized... "let your ideas fall from mind like snow from the heavens but beware of clouds of ice for they are called icebergs and they are so dense that only the oceans can support them, the man who makes his home on this iceberg will wake up every morning and remark on the way in witch the world beneath him is flooded in dellusion but perhaps it is him who is lost at sea" so todays headline is "the demon haunted world of the spiritually repressed left" some will read that and take from it how primitive the left is yet others could realize how authoritarian the right is... why be so petty... there is a world of hunger and yet all of you allow a few godheads of state to lead you over and over through the same circus of modernity... do you not think at all? "The average nobody to think that they are somebody" Nice one gaddag... I feel sorry for your kids... as they will go through life in search of the rewards enjoyed by all somebodys but they will only find conptemtp for you...because what is sad is not that you think the vision of a world where all the earth's ressources are not concentrated in the north should be thought of as a myth, you see that is just naivety... what's sad is that you want to stop thinking this way but you can't not of yet... not until you realize and except that the paradigm you inhabit is an egotistical trap... one that can only be penetrated by compasion ah but there is our dilemma you see, logic and analysis may bring you to walk on the moon it does not say you belong there... and it certainly doesn't cultivate love... it is so fiting that you would descibe potential as vertical... your heads are so finite, yet you dig galaxies into them... why not not just give up your spine superman?

Kahntheroad said...

Hoarhey (and, yes you, Petey),

C'mon guys, It seems to me that Nagarjuna is politely asking questions out of sincere curiosity.

If all of the people we deride as moonbats were, like him, out there reading different views and asking genuine questions we wouldn't be in the situation we're in now.

Are we here simply to pat each other on the backs and dismiss all who disagree? Because, if we're going to be dismissive of Nagarjuna - at least from what I've seen of him today - I don't see what kind of dissention we are willing to tolerate.

I'm not going proclaim that anyone has an obligation to answer every question, but why risk chasing genuine person from the light?

Lisa said...

I have problems taking spiritual advice from anonymous individuals that don't know the difference between witch and which!

Kahn- have you read the past 3 days of patiently trying to explain to Nag the difficulties in the logic of leftist thinking? It seems like he is on the verge of understanding but then goes and bangs his head on the same wall with another question in the same vein. It is really a waste of energy. He keeps trying to play "gotcha" and it's kind of annoying now.

will said...

JWM - OK, I understand. However, Fergus wishes you to behold a cat haiku he composed, the writing of which was made possible only by the SmartCat.

HAIKU # 117 (by Fergus the Cat)

One paw left.

One paw right.

Waxed floor!

Lisa said...

I just came across a fascinating article about Hugo Chavez and his leftist policies and rule. I thought it might interest some here.

Gagdad Bob said...


Perhaps you could share with us the story of how you transcended the limitations of rudimentary spelling, logic, grammar, and punctuation?

But, if you don't mind, could you throw in a bit of spelling, logic, grammar and punctuation in relating that tale? Otherwise it's likely to go under our heads.

Hoarhey said...


I agree with you about answering genuine questions and have absolutely no problem with that. But this is the exact same pattern as witnessed in the past where one answer or many answers was a complete waste of time followed by an in your face slam as outlined by Lisa in her above post. A person who truly wants to understand doesn't go about it in that way.
I do see a point about answering the questions as you have done so well, not as a direct response to a person playing the gotcha game but as a clarification to others reading the blog who truly are open to ideas they may not have entertained before. People who truly are open and searching.
It would be sort of an answer the question while ignoring the questioner in this case.

(P.S. The above rant by anon. may well have been that gut shot I alluded to without the courage to claim it.)

Anonymous said...

Please forgive me oh god of spelling, logic, grammar and punctuation... english is my third language so please to not let it become the topic at hand... besides we all know that someday someone will design software in your image... it will be called microsoft: Word! are beginning to see what it is that constitutes you... u r nothing more than another slot machine dipded in history... how stale a nation! how rotten an idea...

Gagdad Bob said...

I guess I've been called more colorfully nonsensical things. But not since my internship at Camarillo State Mental Hospital in '86-'87. One patient once said, "yeah, Doc, you can dish it out, but you can't dish it in."

Lisa said...

Wait until the shit hits the roof, Doc! ;0)

will said...

Anonymous . . .hey, wait a sec, you can't fool me . . . . you're BOOGER THE CAT!

JWM - until you get a CatSmart, this is the kind nonsense Booger is going to be posting.

Lisa said...

It's SNOT funny! Will!

bugreth cat said...

it wustn me htat did amomuynus post i'm tu hngerey to posst cuz that jwm spent my catfud muniys on a dum jabanese toys an wont biy me no catspart indernets mashien an beside i'mnot thet stubid

sined bugerth cat

will said...

Booger - You know, on further consideration, you're right, you couldn't be "anonymous". No way are you that stupid. Very few of God's creatures, human or feline, are that luminously cracked. My apologies.

However - cut it out with the "I'm too hungry to post" stuff. I know you're eating like a sultan. Fergus is always trying to cadge free food that way too.

PSGInfinity said...


I genuflect before your ability to slog through Anon's slag. Question: How closely does (he/she/it/other)'s mental onanism resemble your actual psychiatric patients?

Nagarjuna said...

"It seems like he is on the verge of understanding but then goes and bangs his head on the same wall with another question in the same vein. It is really a waste of energy. He keeps trying to play "gotcha" and it's kind of annoying now."

My dear Lisa, I'm not playing any "gotcha games." I AM trying to understand your perspective, and I think I do understand it better than I did initially. One way I do this is by asking questions of the things I read here. My questions are sincere, and I believe that they are also substantive. Nobody has to answer them if they don't feel like doing so, but I hope that I will be allowed to continue posting here when I have respectful questions to ask or comments to make, as I believe that the majority of my questions and comments in the past and all of them today have been. If you disagree, I'd appreciate it if you cite examples of any questions I've asked today that weren't respectful and substantive. Or have you formed such an unfavorable impression of me that you see everthing I say through the distorting filter of it?

"But this is the exact same pattern as witnessed in the past where one answer or many answers was a complete waste of time followed by an in your face slam as outlined by Lisa in her above post."

hoarhey, I have a sincere request to make of you. Could you please point out to me what "in your face slam" I've been guilty of today? It seems that I have been on the receiving end of slams since I appeared here with sincere questions and comments about what I was reading here, and I may have bristled with some understated antagonism for awhile. But I am trying to dialogue with all of you and understand your perspective, and I hope you can open your minds enough to see that over time, just as I'm trying to open my mind to the notion that I my initial impressions of you and your ideas may have been overly unfavorable.

Hoarhey said...

>>"and I may have bristled with some understated antagonism for awhile."<<

Hey, a breakthough. It seemed more overstated to me.


People ignored you today (for the most part) because of what has happened in the previous few days. I'll admit that your questions today were valid but people had had enough of the smarmy attitude. If you are truly interested in what's going on here you'll have to do a bit more homework on your own and be patient. Most here have come to where they are through years of contemplation and pulling the pieces together. If it seems foreign to you, but you are TRULY interested in trying to understand, you'll have to give it time. If not, you're wasting your time

Nagarjuna said...

"I'll admit that your questions today were valid but people had had enough of the smarmy attitude."

I'm not sure how "smarmy" applies to what I've EVER written here, hoarhey. But it seems to me that there's been enough "attitude" from all sides, yours as well as mine.

"If you are truly interested in what's going on here you'll have to do a bit more homework on your own and be patient."

I'll continue reading the posts and comments here. But I believe that even after I've done so, most of the questions I've asked and comments I've made would still be appropriate, and there may well be more of the same after I've read everything. And maybe, just maybe this is because your years of contemplation and putting the pieces together hasn't put ALL the pieces together yet, just as I don't presume to have put all of the pieces together either. Although I seem to have been dismissed by most of you as some kind of dogmtic and kooky leftist spewing nothing more than leftist "talking points" and have been treated with corresponding contempt, the fact is that my political, economic, and religious perspective is probably not nearly as easily pigeonholed as that, and I don't believe that a CAREFUL reading of what remains of what I've posted here would indicate otherwise.

I read something recently that put into clearer perspective for me where I'm coming from. The famous philosopher Peter Singer "defines 'the left' as being those who place minimizing suffering above other moral imperatives, such as tradition or rights." I guess this minimizalization of suffering IS my highest priority. But I don't necessarily look to socialism or conventionally 'leftist' ideology as embodying the solution to the problem of suffering. For I recognize that suffering is not just a physical phenomenon arising from unfulfilled physical needs but also a psychological and spiritual one arising from unfulfilled needs for self-actualization. But I believe that neither socialism nor capitalism as they have developed thus far have engendered optimal freedom from all such suffering, and I suspect that any system that does will be a more evolved synthesis of both.

CatoRenasci said...

The Marxist god (more properly a deus ex machina) is DiaHistaMat (Dialectical Historical Materialism).

There is no denying the appeal to those for whom the existing revealed religions of the West have been spoiled.

Important critics of religion, and Christianity in particular, such as Nietzsche, emphasized the difficulty of avoiding nihilsm. A philosophy that does not admit the existence of absolute truth, but which does not descend into nihilism or hedonism is difficult, damned hard work as it were, and most people, even most people bright enough to go to elite colleges and universities, have neither the inclination nor the intelligence to do that kind of mental work.

So, because they are educated enough to disdain simplistic traditional revealed religion, and unwilling or unable to really be philosophers, they look for easy solutions. Hence the appeal of Marxism and the various forms of socialism.

Similarly, I think it would not be unfair to regard late 18th-early 19th century romanticism as a flight from the difficulties posed by the serious thought of the Enlightenment, especially Hume and Kant. Much more congenial to swallow Rousseau's mythology or to (sorry to say becasue I like their work) read Goethe and Schiller.

Gagdad Bob said...

Peter Singer, that moral beacon who believes parents should have the right to kill their infants if they don't want them. I suppose that does minimize the suffering of parents who have better things to do than minister to a whining infant.

Nagarjuna said...

"No difference between a literalist Christian, an Orthodox Jew, and a moslem: just different flavors of the same quaint nonsense."

You don't think that "literalism" in ANY religion--be it Jewish, Muslim, OR Chrisitian--is "quaint nonsense"?

Nagarjuna said...

"Why is it that some people continue to worship false gods such as Che, Marx, Lenin, etc. even after they have been proven to be dangerous, ineffective, and spiritually stifling?"

Couldn't one ask a variation of the same question of fundamentalist Jews and Christians?

Lisa said...