The Great Christian Heresies crop up again and again, and the Church will probably have to deal with them all the way out to the eschaton. They tempt the mind because they are simply easier to take on board than many of the most difficult and mysterious Christian doctrines, such as the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Atonement. Being easier to make sense of, they seem to make more sense. And they all start from, and partake of, some kernel of theological truth. This too increases their credibility. But they are all errors.
Nevertheless they are perennial, precisely because they are so much simpler than doctrines that are adequate to reality – to, that is to say, the true doctrines. As perennial, they crop up again and again in various outward trappings. Arianism, modalism, Pelagianism, Gnosticism, and several others are almost always present in theological discourse.
There are likewise certain perennial metaphysical heresies, that are to the truths of metaphysics as the Great Heresies of Christianity are to orthodoxy. Monism, determinism, materialism, relativism, skepticism, atheism, nominalism, acosmism, idealism, and so forth are all in one way or another radically inadequate to reality, and lead to absurd consequences. Of these absurd results they are often quite proud, insisting that normal human experience is illusory. As inadequate to reality, they have no alternative but to repudiate that reality, if they are to survive. So all of them eventually repudiate human experience as such, in the process repudiating themselves.
So long as there are sophomores, these Great Metaphysical Heresies will never go away. We’ll always have to deal with them, and with their cocksure puerile creditors. This needn’t trouble us: sophomores have a way of becoming seniors, or even masters or doctors. Life schools them; or, if not, they become pathetic caricatures of themselves, credible only to succeeding generations of sophomores.
This would all be nothing more than an ivory tower sideshow, amusing, albeit somewhat sad, if it were not for the fact that bad metaphysics functions as a philosophical foundation for quite lethal social policy, as may be seen with the French Revolution or Marxism. Bad politics can arise from all sorts of errors; but if you’ve got the metaphysics wrong, then bad politics are inescapable. Politics expresses the culture, and culture expresses the cult. The cult is the root of everything. So it is important to get the cult right. And this one cannot do, if the metaphysics are bad (except by accident, or by a strict recusal of intellection in respect to matters religious). For cults are chock full of metaphysical propositions, whether or not this is understood by their adherents. Even “there is no such thing as metaphysical truth” is a proposition in metaphysics. Every act, every behavior is an implicit assertion of the truth of at least a few metaphysical propositions, in terms of which such acts make sense.
So not only is there no escape from metaphysics, but there is no escape from the duty to get metaphysics right; for, human flourishing depends upon it.
This is actually heartening news for us in the orthosphere, and for traditionalists and reactionaries more generally. We have no political influence, and that can be quite discouraging. All our influence is philosophical – and, especially, metaphysical. But that’s where the greatest leverage on society is ever to be found.
All we can do right now, apparently, is to educate our own children properly, to live ourselves hale and holy personal lives, and keep writing. But those are the most important and effective things we could possibly do in any case. Since all our thought eo ipso saps the present established cult of Moloch, the main thing is to keep thinking.