Our next aspect of the contemplation of tech as the engine of degeneracy will be a bit esoteric, and while I suppose that the ideas presented in this, as well as the 4th part of this series, are not strictly necessary for a sufficient understanding the the Technological Question I do think they have a lot to offer. In fact, the reality is that we are not merely confronted with a system of highly developed tools that have started to harm us. We are confronted with a complete revolution — a revolution which has started to change the nature of the physical world, the nature of man, and the nature of society. The Industrial Revolution has radically altered what a man can reasonably expect from his relationships with other humans, radically altered what a man can expect from the physical world that surrounds him, and radically altered his concept of life itself. As far as the scope of man’s consciousness is concerned, the Industrial Revolution is a phenomenon effecting the entire cosmos — and it is not finished.
Thus, if it seems intuitively right to you that this is more than just a question of machinery, I heartily encourage you to study the pre-modern understandings of life, which means traditional Christianity and ancient/classical mythology. Some recent works in this field that will prove to be helpful starting points are Julius Evola’s Revolt Against the Modern World and Carl Jung, particularly, Modern Man in Search of a Soul.
It is important to understand that the ancients viewed the sexes as embodiments of certain fundamental forms, or, what we might call “types” in the Jungian sense. It is only the debased modern mind that can conceive of gender as some type of artificial “social construct”. To pre-moderns, gender in the human world was the manifestation of something transcending mere sexual dimorphism in humans. It was the manifestation of something cosmic and eternal. Most likely, you have heard phrases like “Mother Earth” or “Father God”. There’s a very good reason why it’s not “Father Earth” and “Mother God” although nobody suggests that God or Earth have gender in the anatomical, biochemical sense.
The ancients saw Earth as feminine and mother-like because living in constant contact with wild nature and all of its challenges, chaos, fickleness, nurturing, and generative power naturally led to identification of the Earth with Woman. Moreover, another very important aspect of this identification comes from both Woman and wild Nature acting as the arbiters of men’s survival — sexually/genetically in the case of Woman, and general survival in the case of wild Nature. The Feminine type is not innately loyal; Earth and Woman alike are predisposed to yield their intimacy, service, and generative power to whomsoever shall conquer them — be it the industrialist or scientist who exploits the earth, or the enemy marauders who attack a village and ravish the women.
Additionally, both Woman and wild Nature alike are insufferable without some level of cultivation. Even a mountain-man who loves the life afforded him by living in the wilderness must engage in some degree of cultivation of wild Nature — tools must be fashioned, housing and shelter must be crafted from the resources provided, food must be hunted, gathered, or grown, etc. Likewise, even a lover of women soon finds them insufferable once they have thrown off all culture and wantonly follow their own caprices.
This leads to how the ancients viewed the Masculine type: whether in Divinity or in the earthly Man, the Masculine was understood as the source and maintainer of law and order, authority and judgment, cultivation and culture. Thus, in any situation where there is more than one masculine entity, there must be either covenant and hierarchy or there must be conflict and domination. Hence, the concept of “Father God” and the predominance in all religions of themes like law, covenant, and faithfulness. Just as an earthly father without these things in his household is a laughingstock and a failed man, so is a god without these things in his world made a mockery and a false idol. Quite opposite to the prevailing modern delusion, it is the Masculine, not the Feminine, that is the true generator of culture. This culture-process ultimately originates in God. It is no coincidence that the root of the word “culture” is CULT — which in its original (pre-19th-century) meaning simply meant religious worship.
[*Let that sink in for those whose are concerned about “culture” but scoff at religion!]
I know that somebody’s going to object, saying (1) that God created male and female in his image and (2) that the Bible proclaims God as the Creator whereas I attributed generative creativity to the Feminine. I don’t want to draw this out into too large of a tangent here, so let it suffice to say that in the creation narrative, as found in Genesis, the Bible doesn’t offer much novelty over previous myths, rather it builds on myths already current in the Ancient Near East and slightly modifies them. Hence, it does say that God created Adam in his own image (Eve is later described as someone meant to help Adam), specifically by forming him from the ground, which was already present, and breathing into him the “breath of life”. The imparting of the breath of life to Adam is God giving Man a certain finite measure of His own essence. This is what makes it possible for mankind to relate to Divinity and to value its attributes such as order, truth, beauty, majesty, culture, and genuine civilization. Moreover, God’s “Creator” role as described in Genesis is overwhelmingly portrayed, not as an act of creatio ex nihilo, but as an act of fashioning noble things of character out of previously existing raw and disordered materials, i.e., an Earth “formless and void”. (And this is a clear parallel to the Salvation of disordered humans.)
Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not suggesting God did not create the universe ex nihilo, I’m only saying that in the Genesis creation narrative the emphasis is clearly on God fashioning a worthwhile world out of an already existing chaos. It actually makes perfect sense that the beginning of the Bible would do this, so as to right away outline the fundamentals of the human psyche and its real-life needs in pictures and scenarios that are sensible to people searching for these very things. Obviously, in more abstract theological reasoning, God transcends the Masculine just as he transcends every creaturely attribute (Isaiah 40). But were the Bible a treatise on purely abstract theology, it would have very limited value for most people. Instead, it is a message about the relationship that starts in God and, ideally, reciprocates back to God from Man. In order for God to create a finite thing (such as the universe and human consciousness) and then relate to it, a great deal of humblings and concessions must be made on His part. (See especially Psalm 8 and Psalm 133 and II Corinthians 5:19.)
In short, while what we might call “pure” or “abstract” theology recognizes God as super-personal and utterly transcendent, the theology which relates to God within the framework of God’s creation of the historical universe and human consciousness, is bound by practical necessity to begin its observations with God as Father, cultivating the universe and the human character.
Now, the Ancients understood paradise as having the form of a Garden. A garden is a place of cultured nature. Not totally wild nature, and yet not so much imposed order so as to ruin the beauty and vitality in it. A balance between generative power and restriction. Freedom and authority. Spontaneity and discipline. Pleasure and toil. Female-mother essence and male-father essence in equilibrium. That’s what a garden is, particularly in traditional thinking. Such conditions of balance give raise to the genesis of human beings, both in the primordial sense and in the case of every human being — although a child created in conditions of imbalance must inherit that imbalance. Notice that God’s dictum is not simply “Multiply!” but “Be fruitful and multiply!” Multiplication in and of itself doesn’t provide for any good — as can be seen in the modern phenomenon of single-motherhood. Fruitfulness is a result of cultivation, and it is only when such cultivation is presence that the blessing of Genesis 1:28 is in effect.
This is an ideal place to ponder just how truly upside-down the modern world is: After millennia of understanding the world and life — and, particularly, the spiritual truths of life — through the metaphor of marriage and family, we now find ourselves at a place where the practical appreciation for family, marriage, and the natural and complementary dynamics between the sexes are all but wiped out. Even the concept of sexual identity as anchored in one’s physiological sex is increasingly denied — and these denials are increasingly accepted and accommodated! What’s more, those people and organizations who would counter this radical deviation and uphold the most basic traditional norms are now branded as bigots and ostracized.
Something has happened that has truly turned the world upside down. Already a large portion of Western Civilization lives a life which, in its basic essence, closely approximates Huxley’s dark vision in Brave New World. It’s rather interesting that dystopian literature itself is unique to the modern era and is always set in a future world. Tens of thousands of years of human art and literature — often tragic and brutal to be sure — but nothing dystopian. It took the Industrial Revolution to reveal to the human spirit a world so twisted and degenerate so as to be an inversion of everything normal and wholesome. True, the prophets alluded to a world where evil is good and good is evil, but who could have seen what that would actually entail? Only to modern ears is such a thing intelligible.
May God, the Almighty Father, take pity on us and hasten to redeem us from this predicament.