Friday, January 24, 2020

The Metaphysics of Hell

Interestingly, in letter 18 Screwtape lays out what we might call the "metaphysics of hell," i.e., Satan's ultimate vision of reality. This vision must not only be opposed to reality, but its very opposite: the cosmos turned upside-down and inside-out. It can't be just a little wrong. Rather, totally wrong. But for this very reason, it will, despite itself, inadvertently point to what must be the case.

Whatever it is, it must be totally reactionary, that is, parasitic on the very truth it denies. Satan cannot create but can only mimic: he is always the ape of God, which is part of his appeal (or seductiveness). In other words, Satan always promises what he can never deliver, but godless apes nevertheless put their heart and soul into the promise, and forget all about its delivery. They trick themselves into believing they are something more than tricky apes, conferring upon themselves a pseudo-divinity or even tenure.

This demonic dynamic applies to literally any subcelestial ideology. Atheistic materialism, for example, makes the outrageous promise of a total explanation of reality. But what does it actually deliver? A permanent and total cosmic stupidity, sealed in a clueless self-aggrandizement. For once you pledge allegiance to nothing, there's no explanation for anything, let alone everything. If nothing is your beginning, it is your end. But it can't really be your beginning, because the beginning is the knowing subject. How do explain that without painting yourself into a coroner?

It seems to me that Satan is a thoroughgoing advocate of logical atomism -- of a cosmos ultimately consisting of radically separate monads:

The whole philosophy of Hell rests on recognition of the axiom that one thing is not another thing, and, specifically, that one self is not another self.

You could say that this is obvious to the senses, but what a lie nonetheless! For an axiom of Christianity is that we are members of one another and of God. This axiom follows from the principle of Trinity, through which ultimate reality isn't any radically separate substance, but rather, irreducible substance-in-relation. This cannot be "seen." It is, however, that through which we see. If this weren't the case, then we could only see like an animal, instead of being able to perceive through the eyes. See?

This next one is a critically important entailment, because it seems to explain the left-wing view of economics. In a free economic exchange, both parties benefit. For example, I'm in the market for a new subwoofer, and I want it more than the money it will cost, whereas the seller wants the money more than the subwoofer. Win-win. Unless I'm a compulsive audiophile, but we'll leave that to the side. My addiction is none of my business.

Why do leftists seem incapable of understanding such a simple truth? A couple days ago, AOC said something to the effect -- her usual blah-blah -- that all wealthy people are thieves. But this simply follows the perennial party line, ever since Marx and Lenin (and Genesis 3, really):

Lenin regarded all interactions as zero-sum. To use the phrase he made famous, the fundamental question is always “Who Whom?” -- who dominates whom, who does what to whom, ultimately who annihilates whom. To the extent that we gain, you lose. Contrast this view with the one taught in basic microeconomics: whenever there is a non-forced transaction, both sides benefit, or they would not make the exchange....

Lenin’s hatred of the market, and his attempts to abolish it entirely during War Communism, derived from the opposite idea, that all buying and selling is necessarily exploitative. When Lenin speaks of “profiteering” or “speculation” (capital crimes), he is referring to every transaction, however small.

Is that not a satanic idea? One needn't even believe in Satan to understand how it leads -- and led -- to hell on earth. Every time. It's certainly not very nice:

Basic books on negotiation teach that you can often do better than split the difference, since people have different concerns. Both sides can come out ahead -- but not for the Soviets, whose negotiating stance JFK once paraphrased as: what’s mine is mine; and what’s yours is negotiable. For us, the word “politics” means a process of give and take, but for Lenin it’s we take, and you give. From this it follows that one must take maximum advantage of one’s position. If the enemy is weak enough to be destroyed, and one stops simply at one’s initial demands, one is objectively helping the enemy, which makes one a traitor.

It's not enough to merely hate President Trump. But while they can't kill him -- or, more to the point, us -- they're attempting the next best thing: political decapitation.

Here's how Screwtape describes the same principle (did Satan plagiarize Lenin, or vice versa?): "My good is my good and your good is yours. What one gains another loses." Conversely, the enemy's -- God's -- metaphysic

is nothing more nor less than one continued attempt to evade this very obvious truth. He aims at a contradiction. Things are to be many, yet somehow also one. The good of one self is to be the good of another. This impossibility he calls love.

Indeed, he doesn't just call it love, he is love, which the Satanic mind literally cannot comprehend, for this mind is literally loveless. There was a time that even I, your preternaturally adequate host, didn't understand the necessary relationship between love and truth. But if you separate the two, you end up with, say, an Adam Schiff, who is at the moment treating the senate to 24 hours of hell. If you think that's bad, imagine what it must be like in his head. Now, imagine that for eternity.

That's enough hell for one day. To be continued...


julie said...

My good is my good and your good is yours. What one gains another loses.

One of the battlegrounds-that-shouldn't-be today is the war between the sexes, where relationships are either reduced to mere transactionalism, or else an outright power struggle between two people who believe that "giving in" to their partner is a form of slavery instead of an expression of love whereby not only both, but often a massive number of people around them positively benefit.

Anonymous said...

Hello Dr. Godwin:

Back to fire and brimstone! Yes! I was wondering when you would circle back around.

Satan. The man, the myth. The legend. And also, the daily Truth. Evil is out there.

From the post: "...that all wealthy people are thieves."

Not only does the left not get it, but the right fails to grasp also: All money belongs to God.

The wealthy accumulate a pile of money, but then what they do with it is vital to the circulation of wealth; which is, kind of like the blood of the economic body. They invest it, they fund projects, they invest in stocks, and on and on. Entirely useful things. This circulates the economic blood.

The wealthy are fulfilling a vital niche and should be loved and respected for doing so. Being wealthy is not all fun and games. It is stressful. The wealthy lead lives full of angst, just like the non-wealthy.

So the Left should lay off the wealthy. They do what they do because they do it well. They are no thieves. They are valuable and contributing members of society.

Many of the poor can be a bit of economic deadwood. However, due to the immortal soul, no human being should be devalued on the account of money. This is a side-game and not the main event, which is soul-making. We should always remember that.

So, in summary, please vote Democrat. It is the next best thing to straight up communism. Did I just say that?

-Lovely Hips

Gagdad Bob said...

I was just listening to Adam Schiff for about 45 minutes while running an errand. I'm starting to suspect he's seriously mentally ill -- either a Paranoid Personality Disorder or a fixed Delusional Disorder -- that is, if he truly believes what he's saying. But if he doesn't believe it, then he's a sociopath, i.e., in his ability to promulgate such obvious absurdities with such passion, persistence, and mock sincerity.

julie said...

It wouldn't at all be surprising if he's a sociopath. Remember that dig of Trump's calling him "Liddle Adam Schiff"? "Liddle" was intentional; he's involved with some kind of charity organization called "Liddle Kidz," which offers massage therapy for small children undergoing medical care. Their website is decidedly creepy, and is loaded with symbols identified by the FBI as being involved in some seriously disturbing things. Feel free to search it, but I won't link it.

There are also a lot of rumors flying that he was a very good friend and frequent visitor of Ed Buck, so there may be that, too...

Granted, this is a lot of rumor and speculation; I'd like to think that it's a lot of smoke but no fire. Whatever the truth is, there's something very wrong with that man.

Gagdad Bob said...

A penetrating article about Schiff from 2006. Such breathtaking punditry!

"Rep. Adam Schiff is not a bomb-thrower. And he’s not a partisan street brawler. A fair-faced congressman from southern California, Schiff is a moderate, a compromiser, a man who chose law school over med school because he thought it would give him greater opportunities to serve the public."

Anonymous said...


Helping your husband so everyone in the family can have a loving home is slavery, but giving up the best hours of your best years to satisfy a corporate bureaucrat is liberating.

It’s confusing bitter for sweet and darkness for light, etc.

Anonymous said...

Jesus himself said that the poor are scum and that the wealthy should be respected and feared (Ephesians 6:5).

But mine is to judge. Mine is to proclaim that the plot to Christianize the Chinese has failed! And now the wealthy must be called to task for their role in all the outsourcing of jobs and tech to an athiest commie nation! (By God of course, since he done told us poor folks to keep our yaps shut.)

Never head of Schiff, besmircher of Gods chosen China fighter, President Trump. Only a sociopath would proclaim The President to be choosing his own personal interest when his trade deal involves comprehensive limiting of intellectual property rights theft and forced technology transfer (though poor folks might just want the place nuked).

Trust in God people!

Van Harvey said...

"For once you pledge allegiance to nothing, there's no explanation for anything, let alone everything."

Sooo True, I love that.