Happy Valentine’s Day! Now Get Over Yourself & On to a Holy Lent

One of the oddities I have noticed in my time as a dour dire Orthospherean is that we seem to get quite a few followers who are into self-actualization, somehow or other.

It’s odd. Self-actualization is so very *modern,* after all, and we are … not. It is, we might then say, somewhat heterospherean.

Self-actualization is important, to be sure. It’s just our becoming, and therefore basic to creaturely reality. But, it’s not the most important thing, is it? Indeed, it is utterly unimportant, in the final analysis, compared with *doing the right thing,* regardless of what it costs you. No?

Get this. It’s not about you, and your tiny little self and her creative little actualizations. It’s about God. It’s about the Eternal One. If you are the least bit worried about you and what you want, you are on the wrong track. And on that wrong track, you are bound to unhappiness, misery, want. On that track, you are headed to Hell.

So: want to actualize yourself? Forget your self then, and all her pretty petty actualizations. Stop trying to be yourself.

Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven. All other things will then follow in due course and meetly – aye, and far more plentifully than you or even Lucifer in all his seraphic power might have arranged for your sake.

Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven. For, he is the font and origin of all other things that are good, and worthy. Nothing else comes to us that is good, but from him.

In no other way might you truly actualize what God wants you to be – not for your self, you tiny fool, but for him, in his infinite wisdom about what is good, mutatis mutandis. In no other way might you actualize your true self, and so enjoy the everlasting bliss that he wills for you.

Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven. For, if you do not – if you seek it second or third – then you won’t really be actualizing yourself, however nice it might feel. On the contrary: you’ll be deactualizing yourself, and instead actualizing something quite other, and much less, than who you most truly are. You’ll be losing your soul.

Know that the good that God sees for you might well entail your torture and death, a martyr in his service.

Welcome that. Seek it, by God: deus vult! What could possibly be better?

It’s very simple. Nothing could be simpler. Lay your life an offering and sacrifice at the feet of your Lord.

He is after all infinite. What other compares to him in value? Compared to the Eternal Infinite One, nothing else even registers. Better to suffer the pangs of Hell forever than to cheat Infinity of his due.

Go ahead, then: give it. Give it all. It is the merest thing you could do; the least you could properly do; the very first beginning of anything you might rightly do.

So, Kristor: get on with that, eh? That way lies fearlessness, and peace, come what may. What holds you back, forsooth?

Such as Fallen is our basic struggle.

A Holy Lent to us all; onward, then, toward our everlasting Easter.

10 thoughts on “Happy Valentine’s Day! Now Get Over Yourself & On to a Holy Lent

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  3. Here’s one way of putting it: “Self-actualization” is fundamentally a teleological concept; to go from a state of potentiality to actuality. What we are potentially is an image of God. To make that image actual is the same as doing “the right things”. It is becoming what we are.

    • Yes. The only path to actualization of the true self is the imitation of Christ – is to put on the mind of Christ. This assumption toward him is of course not completable, for it is an expansion of the finite creaturely comprehension toward the limit of infinity; toward to apeiron. That is to say that it is everlasting.

  4. Beautifully expressed, as usual! This post really addresses what I’ve come to see as my “main issue” in Philosophy.

    “Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven. For, if you do not – if you seek it second or third – then you won’t really be actualizing yourself, however nice it might feel. On the contrary: you’ll be deactualizing yourself, and instead actualizing something quite other, and much less, than who you most truly are.”

    So doing what I *want* means Not actualising myself. Instead I should do what I *don’t* want, specifically what Christ wants. That will be the *true* me.

    To me, this is *exactly* what Satan denies. Why Satan is the Lightbringer. Probably it is also the choice which the Forbidden Fruit enabled.

    I do not believe in the existence of Satan in the specific sense that you Christians mean it, or in the story of Eden. But the *point* seems clear. People have to be *told* that choosing their own will is evil. That sacrificing oneself for the greater good is instead the True Path.

    No matter if one is a tyrant and wants use this as propaganda to govern, or an actually well-meaning moralist. Christianity is wholly a doctrine for Controlling People. For making them Deny themselves: “Lay your life an offering and sacrifice at the feet of your Lord.” — I’ve never seen it expressed more clearly!

    Why? Because “God is Truth and the Good” by definition?
    Your well-considered personal (“sinful”?) desires are their own justification. Happiness is it’s own justification. But God and self-denial? Why? Having studied Philosophy for 5 years (which obviously is very little), I can’t see any reason for which I would sacrifice myself in the way Religion demands. Living *my* life just feels way to “nice” for that 🙂

    A few notes on your view of the unbelievers:
    a) Those who don’t believe in Christianity need not be hateful. Do I strike you as hateful, even with my Satan-talk? Why would I waste my time and mood with ‘Being Against’ something… I just seek mastery and enjoyment.
    b) Those who do not believe in Christianity need not be depressed. I’m certainly not 🙂 I even know Atheists who are neither a nor b.
    c) Lastly, those who do not believe in Christianity need not be un-spiritual, or dogmatic sceptics. In fact, compared to folks I know, you people here strike me as rather “sceptical”, in the negative sense of not seeing the whole of reality. For example, this is neither Christian, nor Satanist, nor Anti-Christian, nor Atheist, nor “Sceptical”: https://www.dkmu.org/forum/index.php?topic=253.0 Yeah, Atheists would run faster than they run from Church 😉

    To c) — even more off topic, I’d really like to hear your views on modern Occultism. Magick, creating change in accordance with one’s own will, conjuring Spirits, all those nice things 🙂 What do you Orthosphereans think?

    (A typographical note: Look at the sentence “What other compares to him in value?” the ‘e’ in ‘compares’ is somehow set in bold… no idea why)

    • Moonlight, thanks for this most amiable and forthcoming comment. I shall try to respond with utmost charity and comprehension.

      So doing what I *want* means not actualising myself. Instead I should do what I *don’t* want, specifically what Christ wants. That will be the *true* me.

      No; not quite. The idea is that, insofar as we do what Christ – who is, after all, omniscient, unlike us – wants us to do, we shall do what *in plain fact* is best for us, mutatis mutandis. It could hardly be otherwise, omniscience being … omniscient.

      Doing what Christ wants us to do is *not* doing what we don’t want to do. It is doing what we would most deeply and truly want to do, if only we knew ourselves and our circumstances as well as Christ does, and if our decision engines and their inputs – our want generators – were not whacked by sin.

      We all want to be totally, purely good. But we all want also to do things that are not so perfectly good as the things we might possibly do, that are simply perfect. That perfect thing is the best thing that we might do, which enables us to approach being who we might best be (under admittedly exigent circumstances), and who we most deeply want to be.

      But, we generally fail to be that good.

      Christianity is wholly a doctrine for Controlling People. For making them Deny themselves …

      Yeah, this is an outsider’s notion of Christianity, that does not understand it. Christian spirituality is entirely a matter of excavating and recovering the true self – the self that God sees is eminently possible, and so therefore practically achievable. Christian askesis is a process of sculpting away the dross that obscures the true gold of the self.

      It is a way for people to control *themselves.* It is furthermore a way to perfect freedom – and, eventually, to godlike power.

      Lay your life an offering and sacrifice at the feet of your Lord.

      I’ve never seen it expressed more clearly! Why? Because “God is Truth and the Good” by definition?

      Well, sure. If God exists, he is by definition the most Important, True and Beautiful thing whatever. If he is real, every other real ought rightly to be laid at his altar, and in his service, come no matter what may.

      This seems to me quite straightforward. And I don’t see any way around it. Where’s the difficulty?

      Lots of people misunderstand what is meant by the Christian injunction to lay down one’s life a sacrifice. You don’t thereby necessarily lose any of the nice bits of life. The goods that you lay down, you generally get back. None of them are burnt up in a holocaust.

      Provided, of course, that they are in fact true goods.

      In fact, people who have succeeded in making that sacrifice report great increases of happiness. The only things they lose are the things they hate about themselves.

      Your well-considered personal (“sinful”?) desires are their own justification. Happiness is its own justification.

      No. A moral monster’s well-considered desire to achieve his own happiness by devouring your little baby boy would not be self-justifying. The mere fact of a desire does not make that desire just. Just desires are for true goods, mutatis mutandis.

      I’m not sure where you are picking up the Orthospherean criticisms of infidels to which you respond. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe that I’ve ever read an Orthospherean write that those who are not Christian are ipso facto unspiritual, or depressed, or hateful.

      I will however go so far as to say that Christians tend generally to be more spiritual, happy, and charitable than the irreligious generally are. There are of course plenty of Christians who are spiritually asleep, miserable, and hateful. But, to the extent that they are persistent and careful in their Christian praxis, they tend to be more spiritual, happy, and charitable than they otherwise would be.

      Magic of any sort is profoundly dangerous. It opens the mind and the heart to the influence, not only of good spirits, but of demons. The demons and the angels cannot be controlled by us, but only rather by spirits superior to them in the hierarchy of the Heavenly Hosts. They come when we call them, but not because we compel them to do so. They come to our calls the way sharks swim to blood.

      • “we shall do what *in plain fact* is best for us”
        “Christian spirituality is entirely a matter of excavating and recovering the true self – the self that God sees is eminently possible, and so therefore practically achievable.”

        Very good point! I did not think of this answer. You do God’s Will, but since we learned from (your interpretation of) Eutyphro’s Dilemma that God is the Good, you *simply* do what is good. Everyone wants to live well — which means Good. Thus my argument fails. Thanks for clearing that up 🙂

        So the disagreement reverts to the simple question “What is Good?”
        I claim, with Stirner and Spare, that it is exactly “Following one’s well-considered desires” that is good. As support I offer the positive subjective fact that the desires have been considered and chosen. Additionally, I have to offer the negative “fact” (?) that ‘There’s no evidence’ for any true objective definition of ‘Good’. There’s nothing else to do, so to speak 🙂

        I’m sufficiently dressed-in-black to accept your counterexample of “A moral monster’s well-considered desire”. To *him*, it simply *is* self-justifying. Not a bit less than my desire to stop him.

        You, naturally, must deny my second “fact”. I think you’ll say that God is the Good, because this result maximises *social* welfare, stability etc. (and of course because of Revelation).

        But my result maximises *individual* welfare… so I claim that there’s a conflict between individual and societal welfare — I choose the former and you the latter.

        However, you of course deny this and say that choosing God maximises individual welfare. On your view, my view arises because “our decision engines and their inputs – our want generators – [are] whacked by sin” or just ignorance.

        So I remain at the question of whether my actual desires are mistaken or not, given that I am not “graced with Faith”. I still do not see a good reason to choose your view of the good over mine. If I understood everything correctly, my “Control and Self-Denial”-argument has failed and we simply return to the point we already had reached — is the “stealthy hypocrite” (who doesn’t need to be a Monster, he just chooses not to sacrifice his comfort or his desires to maximise societal welfare) a clever fellow or a rat….

        Thanks again for a clarifying exchange 🙂
        _____________
        “those who are not Christian are ipso facto unspiritual, or depressed, or hateful” — is (on my understanding) very much implied in many posts tagged “Atheism”. Some random examples:

        > Your latest about Moloch: “And this will result in death, one way or another, even if only through the sheer lassitude of utter ennui.”

        I certainly am a Nihilist in the sense you describe, and I do not suffer from utter ennui 🙂

        > https://orthosphere.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/the-impotence-of-atheism/ “Thus even when things are going swimmingly for the atheist, he cannot ever feel quite settled, but is rather always somewhat bedeviled by cognitive dissonance and the anxiety it engenders.

        Pity the poor atheists! So lost are they, and adrift!”

        > https://orthosphere.wordpress.com/2016/10/07/how-i-got-religion/ On how the “Moderns” do not get Spirituality — lack the vocabulary to talk about the non-physical etc.

        Some of ‘us’ do get the Primacy of the Spiritual. For example, look up “The Kybalion”, a 1908 book, even on Wikipedia.
        Or see my own take on how the Spiritual enables the physical: https://www.dkmu.org/forum/index.php?topic=580.msg2055#msg2055
        Again, the Atheist will run faster than from Church 😉
        __________
        On Occultism. Your view on Angels and Demons is what is expected. But *humans* are also spirits, right? Do you think we have no meta-physical power except freedom of will? Isn’t it strange, that our free will can influence our bodies in a non-physical way, but can’t influence *anything else* without the ‘help’ of other Spirits? That’s probably not a question you hear a lot, but still… 🙂

      • Thanks, again, Moonlight.

        I have to offer the negative “fact” (?) that ‘There’s no evidence’ for any true objective definition of ‘Good.’ There’s nothing else to do, so to speak.

        On the contrary, the evidence for the objectivity of the Good is all over the place. To wit: the very existence and usefulness of the concept of goodness; the notion and phenomenon of variable adaptiveness or fitness of morphology or behavior to circumstantial reality; the relative instability of defective systems; the very idea of defect; the facts of sickness, death and evil, and of our urge to avoid them; the mere facts of the experiences of disgust and horror on the one hand, and of sublimity and delectation on the other; the beauty of musical and mathematical order; and so forth.

        The very denial of the Good invokes it. You can’t compare two things without implicit recourse to some perfect ideal under which they can both be somehow or other categorically subsumed. All evaluations of experience implicitly invoke a perfect ideal experience. And so forth.

        To [*the sociopath,* his desire to kill and eat a baby] simply *is* self-justifying. Not a bit less than my desire to stop him.

        Likewise, the schizophrenic’s conviction that he is Napoleon is self-verifying. He believes it is true, so it is! Right? And so is your conviction that he is wrong. Law of Non-contradiction be damned: both of your contradictory opinions are correct!

        Notice that this sort of move empties “good” and “true” of all their normal meanings, and replaces them with “illusory.” It thereby prevents discourse, thought, understanding, knowledge.

        … I claim that there’s a conflict between individual and societal welfare – I choose the former and you the latter.

        There is no such conflict. This is a mathematically demonstrated truth. Cooperation optimizes realized value both for the individual and for the population of individuals.

        NB: if there is no such thing as objective good, then “value” is an empty category: there’s no such thing as value. Nor then therefore is there any such thing as a moral or aesthetic evaluation. Your experiences of just such evaluations, of which your life is wholly constituted? All illusory.

        I still do not see a good reason to choose your view of the good over mine.

        Well, you can’t evaluate outcomes or therefore make a mistake in so doing unless the good transcends and orders your apprehensions of things. If there is no objective good, so that you can’t possibly make a mistake in understanding where it lies and directing your course thereto, then you cannot ever have had the experience of messing up, and wishing you had behaved differently.

        I certainly am a Nihilist in the sense you describe, and I do not suffer from utter ennui.

        NB: ennui is not depression. The depressed person cares passionately about his predicaments.

        The bored person is just bored.

        If you do not suffer from utter ennui, then you are not really the Nihilist that you think you are. You have rather some pretensions to Nihilism, even as you smuggle into your world view *as actually lived* some normal notions, such as that things have real differential value, on the bases of which we then make our really consequential decisions. These notions all imply the objectivity of good.

        You are, i.e., LARPing as a nihilist.

        It’s the only way to be a nihilist and live.

        I hasten to add that by no means do I suppose that you are pretending to nihilism dishonestly. After all, to the extent that they sin, professed Christians are LARPing at Christianity. That doesn’t mean they are dishonestly Christian. It means only that they are not very thoroughgoing or consistent Christians.

        The advantage Christians have over nihilists is that Christianity is a way of and toward life, even as practiced inconsistently, for it is consistent with reality, and agrees with life; whereas because only a living man can believe anything at all, nihilism is a way of death, that can only be believed by effecting its contradiction, and struggling to live. The Christian can make his life agree with his faith; the nihilist cannot. Both sorts of men are LARPing. But the Christian is playing at something he could actually live, and wants to live, whereas the nihilist is playing at something he cannot possibly live, and does not want to live.

        Thus even when things are going swimmingly for the atheist, he cannot ever feel quite settled, but is rather always somewhat bedeviled by cognitive dissonance and the anxiety it engenders.

        Pity the poor atheists! So lost are they, and adrift!

        This passage does not imply that the atheist is unspiritual, depressed, or hateful. It implies only what it says: that he suffers from a cognitive dissonance – which we experience as a type of anxiety – that, so long as he is atheist, will remain incorrigible, so that he will struggle bootlessly to salve his anxiety. The anxious man is by definition restless.

        the “Moderns” do not get Spirituality – lack the vocabulary to talk about the non-physical, etc.

        Yeah; but that by itself does not make them depressed, hateful or unspiritual. It makes them only intellectually incompetent, and anxious. Most of them are perfectly nice people, who manage to live pretty OK lives. They do this by means of the massive unprincipled exception of behaving *as if* there is really a God, and thus really the Good, the True, the Beautiful, and the Virtuous, even though they cannot reconcile those notions to their late 19th century materialism.

        But *humans* are also spirits, right? Do you think we have no meta-physical power except freedom of will? Isn’t it strange, that our free will can influence our bodies in a non-physical way, but can’t influence *anything else* without the ‘help’ of other Spirits? That’s probably not a question you hear a lot, but still …

        Freedom of the will *just is* metaphysical power. Our will influences our bodies in a non-physical way because – as I explain in How I Got Religion – influx of causal influence to a novel occasion is supramundane. It is not mundane – or, therefore, corporeal, or therefore physical – until the influx is finished and has eventuated in a completed novel concrete occasion. Only concretes, that having completed their process of becoming are thenceforth real, actual, and factual, can be either corporeal or physical. But, NB, not all concretes are necessarily corporeal or physical.

        I doubt that we can’t influence anything other than our bodies without the help of other spirits. I mean, yeah, to the extent that our influence over other things of any sort is a function of whatever they make of our influences – of how they appropriate to themselves in their final constitutions as concrete acts the various properties of the prevenient concrete facts of their actual worlds – all our influence always relies upon the acts of other entities. But it has always seemed to me that my control of my body, such as it is, is a type of telekinesis; and I see no reason in principle why I might not somehow learn to control things other than my body in that same way.

        But, anyway, yes: humans are spirits, too. And they, too, are very dangerous. But, we have no choice but to put up with each other, and invite each other into our lives …

      • (I hope this puts my reply under your last reply…)

        “Likewise, the schizophrenic’s conviction that he is Napoleon is self-verifying. He believes it is true, so it is! Right? And so is your conviction that he is wrong. Law of Non-contradiction be damned: both of your contradictory opinions are correct!

        Notice that this sort of move empties “good” and “true” of all their normal meanings, and replaces them with “illusory.” It thereby prevents discourse, thought, understanding, knowledge.”

        I think that this analogy between the Good and the Truth is really the Crux of our disagreement. When it comes to the truth, we agree — there is only one world and thus only one truth. If I believe that I’m Napoleon and you disbelieve, then you are right and I am wrong. If I had to defend that statement, I’ll offer the argument that if the law of non-contradiction is false, then Contradictions are possible. Then, via the principle of explosion, I can derive anything as true, for example the law of non-contradiction. Thus, if the Law is true, it is true. If it is false, it is also true.

        So far, I guess we agree. But surely, not every predicate is like truth? Let’s say Peter prefers sweet apples while Paul like sour ones. For any apple, Paul might say it is tasty and Peter might say it’s not. Would you now invoke the Law of noncontradiction to say that someone must be right? I hope not 🙂

        “if there is no such thing as objective good, then “value” is an empty category: there’s no such thing as value. Nor then therefore is there any such thing as a moral or aesthetic evaluation”
        Apparently, despite there not being an objectively true taste in apples, there is still a way to differentiate — by one’s personal preferance. Formally, I’d say that this is because “tasty” is not a *predicate* like “being Napoleon” but rather a *relation* — ‘being tasty to Peter’.

        So, if I am correct, our disagreement is whether ‘Good’ is like ‘true’ or like ‘tasty’ (or beautiful or many other such terms).

        What argument do you offer for your side? I’d say that there is no problem in the claim “This is Good for Peter, but not for Paul” — wheras “This is True for Peter but not for Paul” sounds wrong. Maybe you have the same intuition with Good 😉 However, I think it is clear that it *is* possible to make meaningful choices between apples despite their being no objectively tasty apple. Thus I can be a “Nihilist” in denying the objectivity, without having to abstain from choosing or believing that my choices are illusory.

        With that, I once again feel that my understanding is satisfactory and will end my commenting, though I’m still looking forward to your response 🙂

      • … if the law of non-contradiction is false, then contradictions are possible. Then, via the principle of explosion, I can derive anything as true, for example the law of non-contradiction. Thus, if the law is true, it is true. If it is false, it is also true.

        Neatly done.

        But surely, not every predicate is like truth?

        Of course not. Tastiness is not (much) like truth. But justice *is* like truth.

        If arguendo there is no objective good, then as you say, and as you would like to be the case, all moral evaluations reduce to nothing more than matters of mere personal taste, just like the question of the tastiness of this or that apple. But in that case, any talk of the justice of this or that act is absurd, in just the same way and to exactly the same extent that any talk of the absolute tastiness of this or that apple is absurd. If there is no objective good, then justice is an empty category. So then are righteousness, fairness, propriety, and so forth. Moral evaluations then are not apprehensions of the true moral character of this or that act – which is just to say, of its true causal character – for, ex hypothesi, there is no such true moral character of any act out there in the world to be apprehended. And in that case, our moral evaluations are just some stuff we make up out of whole cloth. They are, in other words, illusions.

        The bottom line is that if there is no objective good, then there is no such thing as morality. And that leaves us with a model of reality that is, not just inadequate to our experience, but straightforwardly *contradicted* by our experience. The amoral model makes moral evaluations of acts and events impossible. It predicts that there can be no such evaluations. But there are such evaluations. So the model is disproved.

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