It’s a long one today, but I believe it’s worth it.
We ended Part III of this series by looking at the radical uprooting of traditional gender roles in the practical life and saw that this has a significant effect on the inner-spiritual life of humankind. Most of the fundamental spiritual truths and values held by mankind from time immemorial were expressed in images of the relation of man to woman, the relation of woman to man, the images of spousal love, the love of parents for their children, and the love of children for their parents — but this increasingly becomes a foreign language to a growing percentage of the human population: The Strong Independent Woman™ phenomenon, rampant no-fault divorce, single-motherhood, slut-walks, full-time working mothers, mothers and fathers that outsource that upbringing of infants and children to daycares, preschools, and public schools, churches lead by women, countries and militaries lead by women, rampant/militant homosexuality, queers adopting children, men getting fake tits and/or chopping their members off, and, we are currently on the eve of pedophilia also making its way into the mainstream. And as if this is not bad enough, simply making a polite criticism of this state of affairs is often quite enough to get a person into financial, legal, or bodily harm. The world is absolutely off the rails. What does the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, for instance, even mean to the average modern? The Prophet Isaiah (5:20) warned of a day when corrupt Jewish elites would advance an agenda where good is called evil and evil is called good. Can someone make the case that such times are not ours?
How did the world get this way? What happened to the life-generating dynamics of the Garden of Eden? The psychological environment is in shambles, the ecological environment is in shambles. What the hell happened?
I will admit right off, that I don’t have all the puzzle pieces, but I have more than enough of them to convince me that I am on the right track. I will not present them in the modern sense of chronological order, but in a sequence that I feel makes more sense.
If one were to survey the explanations given for what differentiates Man from beast, you would see that all the words of the anthropologists, the biologists, the historians, the philosophers, and the religious thinkers, essentially boil down to two competing opinions:
A — Man’s superior capacity for tool-making is what exalts him to a state of being above the animals. His technology and the circumstances he constructs from it are the most precious manifestation of his identity and what gives rise to his uniqueness in the world. We will call this concept of man Homo technologicus.
B — Man’s capacity for cult — in the original sense of the word — is what exalts him to a state of being above the animals. His cults and the cult-ural effects that flow from them — religious devotion, philosophy, folkways, art — are the most precious manifestation of his identity and what gives rise to his uniqueness in the world. We will call this concept of man Homo culturalis.
Anybody who is seriously interested in the question of human identity and is familiar with the discussion will readily verify that these are the two basic opinions that are in circulation. That is not to say that Man is one of these to the exclusion of the other. To be sure, in the practical world there is a mix. The question is which one is on top? Which one truly defines Man as Man and differentiates him from the animals? Like many things, people show their true vote, not by words, but by action. Here are a few questions by which we might get a more accurate assessment of a person’s belief:
1. Do you satisfy the hunger for wonder through the study and contemplation of the natural world and art or through the study and contemplation of recent or anticipated technological breakthroughs?
2. Do you see the universe as a purely mechanistic-material phenomenon, one that is ultimately accessible to scientific inquiry?
3. Do you believe in consciousness and free will?
4. Given these two choices, would you rather be the head of a school of fine arts or a technological institute?
5. As a father, would you prefer to see your son become a priest (and thus have no children) and by this sacrifice make some great contribution to sacramental life, or, would you rather see your son make some great contribution to the tech-world, although this too would come at the price of such great career-dedication that he would never start a family?
6. Did you answer Question 5 with something like: “I just want my son to be happy doing what he wants to do.”?
7. Would you leave a country / state / region that is rich in traditional life yet technologically less advanced in order to move to a place which is technologically more advanced but poorer in tradition or governed by traditions which significantly differ from those of your ancestors? Would you be seriously interested in doing the opposite?
8. Is “screen time” mostly good or bad for your kids? What do you think about maintaining a TV-free household? Do you want your kids to have smartphones?
9. Which do you see as more likely to help the human condition: technological progress or a return to a religiously-based civilization?
I don’t claim that this list represents a perfect test. You’ll probably come up with more and better questions. It’s simply there to help us get a better idea of where we truly stand on the Homo technologicus versus Homo culturalis question. Another important thing to think about is that this question regarding the basis of human preeminence over the animals implies that widespread investment in the wrong idea may very damn well lead to the nullification of this preeminence! Ideas have consequences.
Let’s turn our attention once again to the Garden of Eden. There is always something relevant to be taken from it — just as though it were a food-producing garden. That’s why I spent so much time talking about it in the last post. The Garden of Eden is happening constantly. It must be understood that modern concepts of “time” and “history” have very little to do with the ancient concept, which, generally speaking, was a qualitative understanding of events — events that occurred in cycles within cycles, such as the zodiac, for example. One can perceive the Garden of Eden as the beginning of human consciousness, the beginning of an individual human life, the beginning of a national life, as well as the establishment of a spiritual kingdom. Thus Christ, in His agony, prayed at Gethsemane, which corresponded in manifold ways to the Garden of Eden, and wherein He, the “Second Adam” confirmed His obedience to the Father’s will. Whereas the first Adam followed his wife in disobedience to God and the result was bewilderment, suffering, and death, the Second Adam affirmed His perfect obedience to God and bade His Bride, the Church, to follow Him to life everlasting.
We are in a Garden of Eden / Gethsemane moment right now — well, more exactly, we are being thrust out of it. Right now. The Holy Scriptures show us two ways — two attitudes — which can be assumed by those who are thrust out of Gardens. One is to leave in bewilderment and to afterwards suffer in bewilderment. The other is to leave with a confirmed loyalty to God and to suffer in loyalty to God — and afterwards be received up into glory.
In no particular order, let’s ponder a few things:
The serpent’s false teaching was that amassing a knowledge of “good and evil” (in Hebrew, “tov va’ra”) was a means of becoming divine and that God was selfishly withholding this opportunity from Adam and Eve. This is literally the fundamental tenet of the Enlightenment: “God is holding us back, knowledge will set us free.”
Let’s unpack a few things:
Tov va’ra is translated as “good and evil”. And yes, these words can include “good” and “evil” in the narrow moral sense, but both tov/good and evil/ra are often used in a much broader sense to include subjective “good” and “evil”. In fact, this subjective sense of “good” and “evil” — i.e., “pleasing” and “not-pleasing” to a given person’s wishes is the primary meaning of these words in the Bible. And this is true, not only of the original Hebrew but also of the English of the era out of which this classic rendering comes. (I will remind the reader that I studied Orthodox Judaism and Hebrew for almost 10 years.) The Bible has God Himself doing “ra” all the time.
“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil, I the LORD do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7)
This verse in Isaiah is far from unique. See also Jeremiah 24:3; 35:17; 36:3; 44:11,27,29; 45:5; 49:23,37; 51:64; Lamentations 3:38; Ezekiel 5:16,17; 6:10; 14:21,22; Daniel 9:12,13; Amos 3:6; 9:4,10; Obadiah 1:13; Jonah 1:7,8; 3:10; Micah 2:3. This is not even close to a full list of such examples. I just rifled through a reverse concordance (Strong’s # 07451) until I got tired of looking things up.
The same results obtain with “tov” — “good” in the subjective sense of “pleasant” and “beautiful” and “agreeable to a person’s senses and wishes”, etc. See Genesis 6:2; 16:6; 18:7; 19:8; 20:15; 24:16; 26:7; 27:9; 40:16; 41:26; Exodus 2:2; 3:8. Again, I am just using a reverse concordance (Strong’s # 02896) to give you a smattering of examples and if you continued this on your own you would find only heaps more of the same thing.
Some people who have taken a superficial look at the story of the Garden of Eden have imagined that God, just as the serpent suggests, really did command people to refrain from ever developing a personal appreciation or knowledge of right and wrong and wanted them to be automatons or else die. This is the essential claim of the so-called “satanists” as well as the proponents of the Enlightenment. It should be clear now that this is not at all the case. The reality is that God does want “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (I Timothy 2:4). Jesus also taught that “you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free!” (John 8:32). Thus, the message of Genesis 3:3 is a pure and simple warning that attempting to live off of a subjective value-judgment paradigm leads to death.
Furthermore, it is important to know what the Tree is not. Notice that this tree is not called “The Tree of the Knowledge of Truth and Falsehood” even though truth (in Hebrew, “emet”) and falsehood (“sheqer”) are constantly contrasted in the Bible. A similar situation obtains with “righteousness” and “wickedness”. Instead, what we do have is a tree which embodies subjective value-judgment planted “in the midst of the garden” — i.e., in the center of human consciousness. Thus, while it is natural for us to experience the world through our senses — for this is how God built us — it is disaster and folly for us to think we grasp the reality of the universe through only our senses and it is equally disastrous to think we can try to sustain ourselves morally and psychologically without reference to, and communion with, the Creator. You eat that fruit and you end up dying.
But that’s what Eve got seduced into trying.
Having wandered away from her husband (i.e., the archetypal agent of “order, authority and judgment, cultivation and culture”), the primordial Feminine eyed the dangerous fruit and contemplated “good” and “evil” through her own subjective judgment. Her gaze fell upon a panorama of seemingly endless “opportunities”. I don’t think she saw careers and slut walks and birth-control pills right away — the nature of subjective judgment is that it tends to morph over time — but she did see a life made subjectively easier; a life of eased restrictions, ever-softening judgment, diminished cultivation, and “freedom” according to the whim of the moment. In short, everything which emancipated women and effeminate men hold dear. And with the advent of the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and the recent explosion in technological innovation, they’ve been able to realize their wishes to a startling degree — so much so that the world is in many aspects 180-degrees turned around from all known Tradition. That’s one of the things that happens when Adam follows Eve.
The sons of Adam have done every imaginable thing to cater to the whims and vanity and perversion of an Eve-centered world. The vast majority of innovations since the dawn of the Industrial Age — especially, but by no means limited to, innovations in the consumer realm — have been made to please feminine and effeminate tastes. Most of the crap people produce and consume these days — stuff that was not at all necessary 200 years ago — is just pure faggotry.
It caters to weaklings and over time produces even deeper and more wide-spread weakness in society. Weakness of body, weakness of mind, and weakness of soul. That’s how it usually ends up when following satan; not only do you not get what you thought you were going to get, but you also forfeit more than you bargained for.
And make no mistake, this is a spiritual / supernatural predicament:
Also very interesting are some other elements found within the serpent’s pitch to Eve, namely (1) “you shall not surely die” and (2) “you shall be as gods”. These two things happen to be the current obsession of the leading edge of technological development. Ray Kurzweil, Steve Wozniak, Gray Scott — read any of these guys, and many others who are experts in the field of emerging technology, and you will immediately recognize this to be accurate. These people are absolutely fixated on attempting to cheat death and rising to “godhood”.
Here’s the kicker: with one side of their mouths these people talk about some soon-to-be trans-human “goodhood” but with the other side they proclaim that we will be slaves to Artificial Intelligence. Okay, they don’t say “slaves” — they prefer to use the term “pets“. That’s right, “pets to AI“.
Of course, we don’t know the exact forms that these developments will take. However, we can safely rule out a few things and safely assume a few other things. First, nobody is going to become “as gods”. Secondly, we can rule out the possibility of this stuff genuinely elevating human beings in any sense which would have been valued by, say, your grandparents and virtually everyone born before them. The track record for this stuff speaks for itself — one Pandora’s Box after another… By the way, read up on the original myth of Pandora’s Box. Massive parallels between it and Eve in the Garden of Eden! See, there are all kinds of traditions out there explaining this stuff. Virtually everybody knows this from somewhere even if they’re not sure where. That’s also why even people who don’t regard the Bible as the Word of God still find the idea of gene-editing and getting microchip implants deeply disturbing. Unless they are bugman who have sold their souls.
Get ready to see more and more people selling their souls. I suppose that in the strictly mechanical-materialist universe that the Enlightenment ultimately bequeathed us it is rather easy to sell something whose existence your radical materialism can’t prove. Selling pet-hood and god-hood are both getting easier by the year.
We need to sell primordial manhood — which is nothing other than developing and improving one’s virility and courage, having an appreciation for truth that overpowers our whims, i.e., having discipline, and having a filial loyalty to the Father who made us all.
In closing, I have recently perceived a solution to a passage in the Bible which had long puzzled me:
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.’ . . . But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” (II Peter 3:3-10)
What puzzled me is that if the longsuffering of the Lord is sufficient grounds for delaying judgment at one point in time, isn’t it also sufficient grounds for delaying judgment at any and all other points in time? God, along with His longsuffering, doesn’t change, so how is judgment ever supposed to finally come?
Then it occurred to me: Well, what if we enter a period of human history that is qualitatively different from all others? What if we enter a time when genuine moral-agency among humans is the exception and not the rule? Aha! Remember toward the beginning of this post, in discussing the essence of man’s preeminence over the beasts, I contrasted the two competing theories, i.e., Man as Homo technologicus and Man as Homo culturalis, and I suggested that widespread investment in the wrong idea may very damn well lead to the nullification of this preeminence? Well, here we are are; on the eve of becoming PETS to Artificial Intelligence.
Already there are “pets” among us who have relinquished moral agency — probably past the point of any return. While we may not be authorized (yet) to identify them personally, we know that they are legion. When push comes to shove, these people will sheepishly receive whatever microchip or other mark the system demands of them.
“Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: she crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, ‘How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: for that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: they would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.’ Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.” (Proverbs 1:20-32)