Friday, April 12, 2019

Searching for a New Religion: Leftism, Feminism, Wokeness, Etc.

What are we to do about the demoralization of young people? Why are the Kids so unhappy, The Atlantic worries? Christopher DeGroot answers that it's the "autonomy paradox," Yeah, sure, autonomy is great, but it brings new problems to life. For instance, after the sexual revolution, the Kids find themselves battered in a wild world of sexual licence, finding free sex to be a torpedo that has circled round and attacked them in a perfect storm of resentment and rage.

Or feminism. David Solway at PJMedia wonders how, in our amazing age of "the rule of law, scientific discovery, technological invention, educational opportunity for the masses" we have "radical feminism, which seeks the ruin of motherhood and the breakdown of the relation between the sexes." I mean, here we have women freed from the thankless toil of ages, and they are fit to be tied.

Suzanne Fields notes the curious dialectic between the #MeToo movement and the hypersexualized depiction of women in media and screen and notes that in
a provocative article in the conservative journal First Things, published by the Institute on Religion and Public Life, Katherine Kersten blames "false feminism," where there has emerged a serious disconnect between women's feverish attention to sexual impropriety on the part of men at the same time they embrace the nation's sex-drenched popular culture that demeans and hypersexualizes women.
Stalwart David Limbaugh worries "how intolerant and filled with rage leftist extremists have become[.]" It's like the runup to the French Revolution, he thinks.

Well, I am not surprised by all this at all. Because you should understand that we are in a period of religious revolution, rather like the Reformation, in which people are all at sea about the "meaning of life, the universe and everything."

The reason that people don't get this is that they have been carefully taught to believe that, oh well, that  religious frenzy was then: witch hunts, Galileo imprisoned for daring to suggest that the Earth goes around the Sun. But now...

Well, now we have exactly the same situation. People are going off into crazy new sects, the ruling class is trying to clamp down, and people are chasing Evil Ones all over the place. Nothing new under the sun.

But, but, Science, you say. No doubt, but science doesn't tell you anything about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. Just the facts, ma'am, and often not much of that.

Oh sure, "science is real" as the #WeBelieve yardsigns say. But it doesn't tell us what we really want to know, which is the meaning of reality. And right now, if you really believe science is real, science can't really tell us whether CO2 is a killer drug or the loving friend of plants and all living things.

What I am saying is that we humans are in the position we have always been in: we need to tell a story about who we are and what our lives mean. But we have a problem. The Great Enrichment of the last two hundred years, not to mention the stunning success of science in explaining how things work and how to use things as a source not just of food but of power, has, shall we say, invalidated the religious narratives of old.

Now, what would you expect of a sudden change in the experience of daily life? You would expect that it would show that the old narratives about the meaning of life, the universe and everything needed a spot of paint.

They might need more than a spot of paint. They might need paint remover, a vigorous sanding, and a complete do-over.

Now actually, most people are perfectly happy with the way things are. Only a few people are all riled up, and as you know, this is perfectly illustrated by my reductive Three Peoples theory.

The People of the Subordinate Self are perfectly happy. Their religion is that you need to stick together in your ethnic enclave and you need a strong leader to defend you from the employers and the fat-cats and the KKK. All they need to do is punch up their political Uber app and an activist will be right along to peacefully protest on their behalf.

The People of the Responsible Self are perfectly happy. Their religion is that you need to believe in the God of divine justice and live a moral and responsible life according to the precepts of their Axial Age religion.

The People of the Creative Self are not happy, and that is what all the fuss is about.

In my view all the fuss and feathers -- not to mention the death of the 100 million -- is about creative people thrashing around looking for a new religion, something that answers the need for a narrative that explains the meaning of life, the universe, and everything for them.

The French Revolution was all about a religion of Reason, only it ended in Terror and the Thermidorean Reaction and Napoleon.

Romanticism was a religion of feeling, that life was clearly not a mechanical thing of logic and reason and Newton. The Romantics believed in a religion "characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature." That's what La Wik says. But what about the workers?

The Communist Manifesto was all about Educated (and creative) Youth in the mid 19th century on a hero's quest to bring justice to the working class -- and more importantly find meaning in their own lives.

Nietzsche and the religion of "free spirits." Forget nationalism; forget the morality of "the priests;" forget socialism and its encouragement of big government. You wanna be a creative genius, a free spirit thinking and doing new things? Then you belong, like Zarathustra, all alone in a cave in the mountains. And that life is hard.

Blavatsky, spiritualism, the discovery of the "unconscious" with Freud and Jung. A religion that tries to mate the conscious mind with the buried unconscious of affect and instinct to solve the problem of the creative life. This is life after bourgeois Christianity, whether you are Freud blowing up the world with your infantile sexuality, or Jung bonking the babes in his Jung cult.

Bolshevism, and educated-class revolutionaries shall be as gods! And kill about 100 million innocents in their project to subordinate all humanity to the wisdom and knowledge of political activists.

Feminism, the religion of female creativeness above and beyond the crude creativity of making children.

Cultural Marxism, a new project for Educated Youth: to bring justice to women and minorities -- and more importantly find meaning in their own lives.

The sexual revolution: finding meaning by breaking the barriers of bourgeois respectability and getting creative about sex by letting it all hang out.

Intersectionality: finding meaning by demolishing the bourgeois culture and making everything into activists and victims -- and more importantly find meaning in their own lives.

What I think.

I think there is room in the world for the religions of subordination, responsibility, and creativity. What we need is the sense to realize that our own religion is not right for everyone.

We enlightened ones should be perfectly happy for People of the Subordinate Self to live in their tribal communities and imagine that the employer or the KKK or the patriarchy is out to get them. We just need to be smart enough to build political institutions around them that prevent the workers and peasants from empowering their leaders to plunder and/or demolish the rest of the world.

We enlightened ones should be perfectly happy for People of the Responsible Self to live their responsible lives and wive and thrive and go to work, obey the law, and follow the rules. We just need to be smart enough and wise enough to do our naughty creative stuff without frightening the horses in the street.

We enlightened ones need to understand that our religious activities and beliefs, in creativity, in breaking the mold, in doing the hero's journey down into the underworld of the unconscious, etc., is not for everyone. Indeed it is probably not for the overwhelming majority. So we should follow Nietzsche's hint and do it in a cave in the mountains. And when the adepts and the fans show up at our door, we should send them away, back, in the words of Lina Lamont, to their hum-drum little lives where they will be much happier than in our lonely cave of creativity where we hope to understand, one day, the meaning of the shadows on the wall.

The big lesson that we creative people need to understand is that we should not draft the rest of the world into our creative projects. We free spirits should have the wisdom to realize that we are not God's gift to humanity, but just a bunch of Educated Youth with more enthusiasm than sense.

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