Socialism Means a Descent into Death
"But I had begun to sense a truth inside myself: if in order to live it is necessary not to live, then what's it all for?"
—Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
Unless it manages to change course, the West is transitioning toward a socialist utopia. Since this author defined socialism as a nihilist, spiritual sickness that craves death, and described its stranglehold on America, the symptoms have only escalated. As Pamela Geller writes, "[t]here are so many historic, unprecedented crimes, crises, etc going on all at once, One is almost in a constant state of intellectual whiplash."
Socialism is the inevitable conclusion to secular humanism, or Modernism (used here and throughout in its philosophical context) — the civilizational era that is now passing into history. We happen to be living in a time in which the vitality of our culture's forgotten, foundational "essentialist" philosophy has finally been exhausted, and our adopted "existentialist" philosophy now exposes us to self-destruction.
The default position of humanity for most of history has been to seek an existential ultimacy, or source of meaning, from within the material universe. Existence precedes meaning; meaning is contrived from existence.
This identification of the "material," or nature, as the ultimate "force" of life and reality was lived out in fullness by the ancient Egyptians. While nature represented the uncontrollable chaotic "chance" that provided creative energy, their gods represented the order and control that bound the universe and provided unity. The gods, however, were also natural. The nexus between order and chaos was represented by the tip of the pyramid, and Pharaoh became the mediator, balancing the power of the gods and chaos within his self. Pharaoh was the ultimate man.
All pagan societies repeat this model to some extent, including our own. We are increasingly witnessing the superstitious view of nature as an ultimate source of uncontrollable chaos. The "climate change" cult has become the guardian of a politically powerful dogma, and evolutionism has taken possession of science. Gaia is now the nature-god of the West, whether openly worshiped or not.
The modern fluid view of human sexuality arises from this view of nature as the all-powerful creative force, in which the very identity of a person is conveniently dissolved into nature-chaos for re-creation.
On the other hand, our culture turns ever more to secular bureaucracies to provide ultimate order, and the bureaucracy itself has begun to believe in itself as the source of reason. This is a dangerous development, which will eventually lead to Pharaoh declaring himself the ultimate god-man once again.
The roots of this issue run deep within our cultural history. After the rediscovery of Greek philosophy, the Scholastics attempted to incorporate its dualism into Christian theology. Subsequently, the "Enlightenment's" philosophical search for ultimacy began looking inward to human reason. Initially willing to accede universal ultimacy to a supernatural God (Descartes), philosophers realised that if human reason is the arbiter of truth, then God is no longer necessary (Nietzsche). Today it is the standard Kantian view that our reason determines truth, with assistance from our experience.
There are two key questions to resolve in the matter of how we "know" things. First, is materiality all there is, or is there a supernatural?
Second, does ultimacy reside in the "One" (order, grouping, homogeneity, Realism), or in the "Many" (chaos, particularity, "things in themselves," Nominalism)?
In answer to the first question, Modernist philosophy assumed that nature is all there is. It therefore became caught up in an insoluble dichotomy regarding the second question. Within the strict universal boundaries of nature, only the One or the Many can assume ultimacy. However, choosing either path leads to philosophical self-annihilation.
If ultimate meaning is found within particles, then meaning dissolves into chaos and defies definition. For example, if individuals determine reality within themselves, then reality can be infinitely chaotic.
If ultimate reality is found in unity, then the meaningful particulars vanish, and there is nothing left to resolve — the "things" that are being defined cease to exist. For example, if all people determine the same reality in combination ("universal reason"), then there are no individual people, and we all vanish.
The Greeks could not resolve this dualism, and neither could the Modernists, simply because it is an insoluble problem, like trying to make black be white. Modern philosophy spun its wheels furiously but gained no traction in its question of knowing, and it left us burdened with the fragments of its failure. It has stripped the person of meaning or intrinsic value in a deceptive way. Having removed supernatural causation as an option, it then split natural causation between two contradictory sources, jumping between them like Schrödinger's cat. If you examine the One too closely, philosophy vanishes and jumps to the Many, and so on, constantly circling the problem.
A civilization without a vigorous philosophy is in trouble. This miasma has resulted in a culture that has no common source of true knowledge, no reliable causation, no basis for logical premise, no right or wrong, no certainty, and no comprehension of why we are here. We have come to a point in our history at which we have no answers to any of the fundamental questions of existence, nor even the tools to help us explore them.
This existential struggle between the one and the many manifests itself in society through unbounded authoritarianism on the one hand and unbounded individualism on the other. The person is left without a God, but when he turns inward for meaning, he hits a wall of infinite relativism that makes no sense. Turning outward, he hits a wall of corporatism that takes no consideration of his individual reason. These discordant paths to meaning have resulted in the destruction of the person, and in our cultural nihilism.
With the self now eliminated, there can be no life or meaning either inside or outside the person, as all other selves must ipso facto cease to exist. The presumption of a real, meaningful person cannot be tolerated, and the sustaining culture adopts socialism as the means of dealing with this dissonance, with the socio-political motivation of reducing all things to sameness or nothingness.
The demented hope which remains is that through annihilation, a new order will arise by chance from the chaos of nature. The chosen ones, those whose identity challenges cultural norms, will usher in utopia through the destruction of the hated culture, which presumed that there was such a thing as living persons. A Pharaoh will bring order and meaning to this new world of nature-objects, once recognized as people. Those objects that defy or deny their nothingness-sameness are eliminated, usually after some production has been forced from them.
Solzhenitsyn suddenly found himself as one of the rejected objects from the Soviet order. Set apart from utopia, he wakened to the living death that had defined his existence prior to his incarceration.
Following his lead, those of us who are rejected should nurture our living essence amid the creeping death of existential nihilism, and attempt to recall those who are sleepwalking into the darkness of spiritual insanity.
Image: Hernan Fednan via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.