Christian Focus on Sempiternity → Long Term Approach to Mundane Affairs

If there is heaven, you would be stupid to forego it by some short term evanescent and unrighteous, ergo in all likelihood maladaptive worldly foolishness. So you would be less likely to engage in short term and mere worldly foolishness (on the contrary, you’d want to be a holy fool!). With eyes always turned to the infinite prize, you would be less likely to grab at – or, a fortiori, work for, or pay for, or sacrifice for – any other, lesser good in contravention thereto.

The intention toward sempiternal life in Heaven, then, tends to social health here below.

This is why it is so important to social health to take religion seriously.

It is also why, among all the admittedly great religions, Christianity has conquered the globe. It is the only religion that can so school and thus domesticate merely mundane self-interest toward the Good, as to render men mostly fit for society – for societies (of many sorts: Christianity is not monocultural) that can perdure. Thus while Christianity is not yet the master religion, it is already the default religion of man; so that all other religions measure themselves against her; and so that, to grapple with Christianity honestly and at all sapiently, and then to reject it, is usually to fall, not into Buddhism or Hinduism or Islam or Baha’i, or into any other high and noble and above all *difficult* doctrine and praxis that might approximate and so lead its votaries toward the Truth himself, but rather into nihilism, or atheism, or wishy washy nominalism (thus globalism) or (at best) a paganism no more sophic than voodoo (as, e.g., New Age religion, or – God forbid – witchery, sorcery, or Freemasonry, thence inevitably Satanism under some other more anodyne appellation and disguise).

To reject Christianity is to decide for some side channel of the Tao that, as sooner or later subsiding and dying in shallows, gravels and weeds, leads at last to immobility in a cloud of bedeviling gnats. The only option then is to pull the boat back upstream by main force, so as to rejoin the main channel that leads on to life.

The proposal of Christianity is finally this: you must either reconcile yourself to reality or suffer perdition both temporal (thus more or less proximal (viz., jail, poverty, addiction, and so forth)) and everlasting (this is the gist of Job). You must choose between reality and your own fantasy of your own tiny little self. What is your choice? Will you choose your tiny little self, or will you choose the Ultimate, and so – for yourself – the life everlasting?

Who answers rightly is likely to prosper both now here on Earth and in the world to come. Who does not, is not. On that much, all Christians may agree, and even Pharisees and Mohammedans – and all Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, and Baha’i – and indeed, even the honest pagan shamans, who after all do still practice an heir of the religion of Adam. Not all those faiths call the life everlasting by its true name, or therefore understand it as such rightly. But they do all aim at the same end. No honest person might do otherwise. It is not possible to want to aim at YHWH without wanting to aim at YHWH.

And YHWH must know who aims at him, and credit it to them as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). He would not be YHWH, else.

Others may agree or not. But it is noteworthy that they all – even the most evil and stupid of them – seem to gravitate toward the business suit of the West; and to our military uniforms and equipments and customs, our ostensible laws and constitutions and norms, which above all things simply must be somehow or other schooled to reality in order to work properly. Each such practical move is a sign of an underlying reality, which it indicates, and upon which it is founded. Such signs matter because they do in fact truly signify. If they did not truly signify, petty specious tyrants would not trouble with them; they would not pretend to goodness. Indeed, if such signs did not truly signify, petty tyrants could not by them pretend.

So then do all such men as deploy such signs thereby signal their ultimate obeisance to the West, and to her metaphysic, and to her cult: the cult of the Lógos. Even the petty stupid tyrant signals his final commitment to the Good. In no other way might a single person credit his own pronouncements; in no other way, then, might he exert any power.

On the basis of that ultimate agreement – which at bottom boils down to the Marian yes – the whole civilization of the present West – both Christian and Pharisee – has so far prevailed.

Vivat, Regina!

2 thoughts on “Christian Focus on Sempiternity → Long Term Approach to Mundane Affairs

  1. “Others may agree or not. But it is noteworthy that they all – even the most evil and stupid of them – seem to gravitate toward the business suit of the West; and to our military uniforms and equipments and customs, our ostensible laws and constitutions and norms, which above all things simply must be somehow or other schooled to reality in order to work properly.”

    Kristor, it is easy to miss the mark in this line of thought — but, then, it is much easier to miss a mark than to make it. Of course, aligning oneself with the natural order — itself created by and striving after the divine order — tends toward flourishing and, therefore, to power. Yet, man’s cargo cult tendencies drive him to ape the powerful as much as his limited ability to detect splendor and glory. Had the German won WWI, everyone would have kept their Pickelhauben. The Kraut lost, and everyone left Prussian martial fashion to museums and military memorabilia enthusiasts.

    I cannot remember now where, but in the Republic or in the Laws, Socrates or the Athenian Stranger acknowledges that while virtue strengthens, it does not render (men, cities, causes) invincible. The character notes something like worse cities sometimes prevail upon better cities owing to their strength in numbers. Power, victory, success — these attract the attention of the world, and while knowing and acting in accordance with truth increase the likelihood of success, generally speaking, they do not ensure it. The world would look quite different if they did.

    Furthermore, I have to add that the (virally spreading) décontracté chic look of our masters, sans cravates — especially those creatures roaming just south of Kristor — shows quite a devolution of style. The world follows mammon, not the conditions that promote and secure it.

    Hoping to be proven wrong, I just did an image search for “Chinese billionaire,” and, heavy-heartedly, Han hunt humdrum heeled’s hauteur.

    • Hauteur or profondeur?

      You are correct, of course. Men ape what seems to work, whether they understand why it works, or not. The reason we are so mimetic is that mimesis works pretty well, in the absence of understanding. The Cargo Cults are not simply insane; on the contrary, their technique generally works pretty well.

      Nothing renders man invincible except death in a state of grace.

      The Western heresy of liberalism worked pretty well – better than all its competitors, anyway – on the momentum furnished by the remaining virtues of the Tradition of the West, until it began to be fully implemented, roughly after the West won the Cold War. At that point, the selection pressure of war eased off – nothing clears and wakens the wits like the nuclear Sword of Damocles (as there are no atheists in foxholes, neither are there very many convicted fantasists) – and liberalism began in earnest and without restraint to delete the remaining elements of the true West, and to live in cloud cuckoo land. The selection pressure was no longer biological, but rather only social; so flashy signals became more important than substance. And with no biological limit, social mutation proliferated madly. Innovation compounded logarithmically. And most mutations are lethal, eventually.

      When petty evil ignorant 3rd World dictators ape the culture of the West, they gesture in the direction of what the West achieved against the atheist regimes of the French Revolution, of Bonapartism, of Soviet Communism, and of National Socialism. It is Cargo Cult mimesis.

      The odd thing, the truly crazy thing, is that the modern West is itself engaging in just that sort of Cargo Cult mimesis. Judges dress up as judges, journalists pretend to be reporters, legislators pretend to be Solon, entertainers pretend to be artists, and so forth; but it’s all fake. Few of them have the faintest idea what they are really supposed to be doing. The moderns gallivant about in the clothing of the Tradition, even as they hack away at it.

      It’s a Potemkin culture, from the head of the fish on down

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