Monday, July 17, 2017

On the Human Disposition: An Inquiry into the Aims of the Different Dispositions of Contemporary Culture (Part I of II)

We ought to have a great deal of gratitude for the fact that there are many who seem to recognize that there are deep flaws in the contemporary West. Because of this recognition, many youths have sought remedies to the maladies of the West in the culture which has been handed down to us by posterity. This has manifested itself in secular culture by what seems to be a renewed interest in the so-called great men of times past. Consider the popular programming, like the biopic drama on the life of Queen Elizabeth II of the UK; the recent popular Spanish language series on Queen Ven. Isabella the Catholic and the succeeding series on Emperor Charles V & I of the Holy Roman Empire and Spain; the series on Louis XIV; the Russian series on Empress Catherine II the Great; programs on Queen Victoria of the UK; the list goes on. In addition we have the proliferation of popular historical-fiction in the realm of video games like the Assassin’s Creed series, the Total War franchise, or Europa Universalis. People were captivated by the fictional Pope Pius XIII, masterfully played by Jude Law, because of his traditionalism which was both gaudy and mystifying. In the religious sphere, it seems that devotion to more traditional forms of worship, whether in more reverent Novus Ordo Liturgies or devotion to the Ancient and Venerable Roman Rite, known to us as the Extraordinary Form, is on the rise. At best, this trend reveals to us that people long for a time which seems to have had a different disposition, and want to make that disposition a reality. At worst, it is people playing at a fantasy, with some rather peculiar clothing, living the same kinds of degenerate lives their peers are said to be living.

In the midst of this phenomenon, we find a vast array of voices calling the disenchanted peoples of our age to different solutions and promises of a better world. Their appeal is that they provide a community (a hallmark of traditional society) which contemporary society is said to have lost. And some show this by adopting and repurposing symbols of days past. Even we here at The Counter-Revolution have done this with the double-headed eagle! It cannot be that each of these groups really are right in their thinking, indeed that would be an impossibility. Some of these groups are nothing more than passive observers to the cultures (playing the games, watching the shows and films, wearing those clothes which are in vogue), others are only interested in discussing and sharing the commonly held historical interests, and still others are interested in changing the disposition of those with whom they dialogue and, after a manner, forming the minds of their interlocutors. What ought we to make of this?

The golden age syndrome which seems to have gripped our society is not all that unusual. We see this in many epochs, whether it be Francesco Petrarca, Victor Hugo, Oscar Wilde, or myself. Many people in many ages have longed for a time which they believe to have been better than their own. Yet, there seems to be something different in our times. We are not just lamenting the change of architecture, art, government, or fashion. No, there seems to be something else at stake. Unlike the first two phenomena, the last holds within it a great tension. As one part of our society looks ahead toward a utopian future, against which many seem to be reacting, there is a claim which holds that the perfection of human society is not in what lay ahead, but rather its perfection has been in what has already passed. Thus, we shall dismiss the first two phenomena as points inquiry. Our point of inquiry shall be the last of the phenomena we have given, that which treats dispositions. Before we go any further, I ought to explain what I mean by disposition. By this, I mean to explain the manner in which we receive and understand the world; the way that the world is read; in a colloquial way, the world-view. It seems to me abundantly clear that the disposition of an individual toward the world is the way that the individual lives life. The manner in which we receive the world forms our responses to it. What, then, are the dispositions which we shall treat? Those which we have already named: the claim of the utopian future and the claim of perfection having already been attained and lost. We shall begin by briefly treating the former and, as seems most reasonable, subsequently treat the latter.

The utopian claims of our contemporaries, who call themselves progressives, is rooted in the belief that humanity, as it is, is fundamentally evil and in need of transformation. This is, manifestly, contrary to a true Christian understanding of humanity, which holds that the nature of man is fallen and in need its redemption, which it has received in the Person of Our Lord Jesus Christ. That the self-named progressives hold that man must be transformed, immediately betrays its intent: they wish to create something which is no longer recognizably human. Or, at the very least, something which has never before been understood as human. Let me explain. What I do mean is that so-called progressives desire to make the human disposition something entirely different from what it has been in its history. It seeks to shift the means by which the cosmos is understood, from the cosmos as itself to the individual. That is to say that the individual understands the cosmos as a projection of his mind, rather than being a system unto itself. We have treated the origin of this system and the reasoning which undergirds this shift elsewhere, so we shall not delve into it too much here. What we shall say is that this shift has happened and it matters a great deal. It is the actualization of the erroneous existentialist belief that existence precedes essence. That this shift in disposition has happened ought to startle us. So many of the horrors of Modernity and post-Modernity are rooted in shift articulated by Jean-Paul Sartre, though by no means is this his own invention. The worship of race, the evils of Marxism, the Soviet and Maoist experiments, and Smithian Capitalism, are all rooted in this disposition which is now continuing its march forward in the errors of transgenderism, transhumanism, abortion, public acceptance of sodomy, divorce, and unfettered capitalism. How these are all rooted is a topic we shall explore in greater detail another time. By all of this, I do not necessarily mean that a human-animal hybrid is lurking around the corner, nor a human-machine hybrid, although things like artificial intelligence are certainly being discussed. However, take, as an example the poor misguided soul of a man who calls himself “Eva Medusa,” and believes himself to be “transitioning” into a dragon. This man, whose self-identity would have been considered nothing short of madness in an age now past, is accepted as a peculiarity, certainly, but somehow worthy of acceptance. These are the fruits of the progressive disposition. The utopia which is foreseen and desired by the progressives is one in which all possible mutilations of the human person and body are the norm.

Unlike these aforestated desires, those who hold to what is called traditionalism wish to unite themselves with the way of receiving the universe as did their ancestors. No doubt, a laudable desire. Here, we do not mean that any antiquated way of thinking is to be held as a model for our disposition, rather, understanding and receiving the universe by the Light of Our Lord Jesus Christ is the model and means. The traditionalist seeks to read and understand the universe through the Word Made Flesh, for through Him alone can the universe and the individual human be understood correctly. This is not merely returning to an antiquated system of society, on the contrary it is being immersed into the eternal which gives form to the structure of community. It is this immersion which alone gives life to authentic culture, for culture is more than dead museum pieces. Indeed, the disposition of the individual which is born from the Divine Light is that which receives all that is seen and experienced as a sign for the Eternity which awaits. The traditionalist disposition, which we can simply call the Catholic disposition, recognizes the participation in the eternal by the material substance in which humanity receives its existence. Our disposition seeks not the transformation of the individual, nor the community, into something wholly new. No, it seeks to refine itself, so as to reveal the Good, the True, the Beautiful, and the Eternal which dwells within. And this, we shall take up in Part II.

fra Israel-Sebastian

“Dominus regit me”

1 comment:

  1. Interesting article. I found one of the early points made, of society's ever growing demand for the glorious figures of the past. Why is it we are so obsessed with period dramas and video games depicting these mystical times past? I think you're very right on the utopia idea, and I hope this bubble of disposition bursts in the future. How society can plough on with this negative programme of thought is depressing. While I struggle to believe in the actual teachings of the Bible, I do believe there are too many unexplained oddities of the universe and that the West, as you say as widely recognised, is at a turning point with regards to the glorification of transspeciesism and transgenderism, as you say. Will read more. Thank you for the article.