It is obvious that we can’t go back. We must go forward. The project of the Orthosphere is to limn a cult, a culture, and a society that can work properly for humans after modernism – including the modernist “Church” – has crashed, by dint of exploration of the traditional societies that worked.
Creating a new Christianity that is not the old time religion can’t work. That has already been tried. We are now living in the midst of the results of that experiment. So, one thing we can be pretty sure of is that a properly flourishing Western civilization will have to be founded upon and ordered by – and, in the last analysis, governed by – traditional, orthodox Christianity. Thus one of the main subsidiary projects of the Orthosphere is the explanation of and apology for orthodox Christian doctrine. To the extent that moderns find Christianity incredible or repugnant, it is usually because they misunderstand Christianity. One of our jobs is to do what we can to dispel their confusion.
Freedom and creativity, on the one hand, and order and hierarchy on the other, are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, they are interdependent. Order is a forecondition of all coherent action – action that is not chaotic. And vice versa: what is not creatively enacted (NB: “creatively enacted” is redundant, for all action is creative) in the first place can’t be either ordered or chaotic.
It is the same with love and obedience. All love is loyalty to some other. Likewise, participation is possible only to parts, and in virtue of a whole.
Likewise also with throne and altar on the one hand, and the priesthood of all believers on the other. Without the former, there is no religion, no cult, that numbers more than one adherent, and so there is cultic and therefore cultural chaos. Which is more or less what we are devolving toward right now, fast. On the other hand, without the latter, there is no life in the ecclesial organism, which, as John the Evangelist was one of the first to see, is nourished by food provided by the contemplatives, each of whom, living as such men do at the bleeding edge of human life in its communion with the Eternal One, is almost by definition a spiritual free lancer.
The contemplative is like the hunter who brings his game back to the camp and hands it over to his Lord to be the matter of the communal sacrifice and the meat of the whole community: he brings back the food from the wilderness, and submits to hierarchical authority.
All of these desiderata have been present in and expressed by the Church from the beginning, and throughout the many periods of desuetude into which she has fallen, and always more or less, here or there, suffers, and endures. There’s no other way to obtain an organization of sinful humans; such organizations are bound to run off the rails now and then, sometimes quite badly.
As is happening right now. The Church hierarchy is actively suppressing the Church. That can’t continue, so it won’t. Some new thing will arise, which in retrospect will turn out to have been implicit in the Church ab initio. It will, i.e., turn out to be the True Church.
Our job here is not to make that happen by doing this or that, but rather to try to figure out how things will have to work if they are indeed to work; to explain why that is, and how.
So long as there is society, there is always an altar, and there is always a throne. It’s no good trying to do without throne and altar, for they’ll just keep coming back in disguise, thus distorted and insofarforth debased, and so wicked.
As for the evolution of consciousness, Francis ”[finds] the casual dismissal or downgrading of consciousness development espoused by many of the writers at sites like The Orthosphere troubling.” I confess I do not recall any writer at the Orthosphere ever dismissing or downgrading the evolution of consciousness, or even discussing it. I vaguely recall a discussion of Wolfgang Smith’s excoriation of Teilhard in a comment thread, but I’d have a hard time verifying my recollection.
That said, I have a hard time believing that man is spiritually more competent today than he was in the Axial Age, or in AD 30. It seems to me that if consciousness has evolved, it has in so doing not so much gained new powers – although I do not at all discount that possibility – as changed emphases, from one age to the next. That can be significant, to be sure. But it looks to me more like an accidental than an essential change; not, i.e., a change in the nature of man as such, or in our inherent capacities. Man qua homo sapiens seems to have been capax dei from the start, as far back as Lascaux, and indeed even to the grave goods of the Neanderthalenses. The Idea of the Holy seems to be characteristically human.
Thus I am wary of the perennial claims of New Agers – i.e., Sophists – for the last few thousands of years that we are on the verge of a phase change in what it means to be human (so that they can get what they happen to want from society); Age of Aquarius, and all that. It seems to me rather that we have been for at least 700 years now – possibly 7,000, or more – involved in the long, drawn out, grinding, painful process of cultural devolution identified in the Axial Age as Kali Yuga. It seems to me much more realistic to suppose that man is Originally Sinful, period full stop; and that we are therefore, being for the most part and to begin with profane and unrepentant in our sinfulness, and indeed rejoicing thereat (like Prodigal Sons still enjoying the plenteous feed supplied to their sties (which, let it be noted, was to fatten them for slaughter)), and thus deeply unholy and unrighteous altogether, bound as a species to a regress that began with Paradise and ends at the eschaton. With Tolkien, I say: “I am a Christian, and indeed a Catholic; so I cannot but view history as a long defeat.”
Does that mean we should not do what we can to ameliorate our predicaments? By no means! For that, too, would be sinful, inasmuch as it would cheat reality of such goods as can be realized given the capacities of this or that era. That the Rohirrim are not so exalted as the Numenoreans once were does not mean they are no good at all, and so not worth fighting to preserve, and indeed to prosper. So, if we can undo some of the damage done since the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, or for that matter the New Deal and Vatican II, we should, by all means, even though our success at that would not at all change the eventual outcome, in the general catastrophe that awaits this world.
That we shall all someday die and be eaten by worms does not entail that there is no reason to mop up the spilt milk of a sunny Sunday morning, or wipe the baby’s bottom at 3 AM of a Thursday.
Excursus: What is the ultimate reason that it makes sense to mop up that spilt milk and wipe that dear little poopy bottom? The Resurrection of all our bodies. No such Resurrection → no reason.
NB then that we – those of us, anyway, who are the least bit sane – deeply *want* to mop up the spilt milk, and wipe that poopy bottom, whether we are Christian or not. To do so is a basic human instinct, and impulse; an essential bit of what it is to be human.
The lesson? We are built from our very beginnings, as a species and as instances thereof, for the Resurrection.
So is it that another of the subsidiary projects of the Orthosphere is the elucidation of the incoherence implicit in the toxic ideological stew we have variously called modernism, liberalism, and the cult of Moloch. That incoherence, being chthonic to moderns, is extremely hard for them even to apprehend, much less understand. Until they do, they’ll keep aping it. So, we must try to help them first see, and then understand.
It’s all a big job. But somebody’s got to do it; might as well be us.