Sunday, April 26, 2015

Clash of Worldviews: God and the Devil

MODERATOR: Welcome, viewers, to an astounding edition of our philosophical show, Clash of Worldviews. This evening, we’re graced by the voices of God and the devil themselves. I say “the voices,” because those personages aren’t physically present in the studio—and perhaps we should begin the discussion by asking why they chose not to be more fully here with us. God, would you care to take that one on?

GOD: You’re asking why we’re not there with you in the confines of your studio. It’s too cramped for my taste.

DEVIL: You see how he jokes? Such a kidder is the devil’s creator. But to address your question, we’re not there with you because we’re not natural beings, so our full, essential selves don’t belong within those paltry dimensions. To attempt to manifest in your studio would entail the undoing of your universe; your solar system would dissolve like a bad dream. Also, and speaking just for me now, I’m rather busy at the moment reengineering several galaxies at once—or “corrupting” them, as the moralists would have it; that is, I’m multitasking. As for God, who can say what else he’s up to? Crying in his beer would be my guess. Anyway, you’ll have to settle for just our voices.

MODERATOR: Ah, well, fair enough. I wonder what to discuss next: the choices are endless, I suppose. Talk about an embarrassment of riches! I mean, I’m the envy of all interviewers.

DEVIL: Isn’t that just like a human? Confronted by infinite, unhuman powers and he’s got to talk about himself. You’ve got your exalted creator on the line and you can’t help remarking what a big man you are, how you’re the envy of your peers. Ah, the demonic pride you find nestling in the genetic code of all natural creatures: survive at all costs, even though to God your entire cosmos is an unfinished rough draft written on a scrunched-up, coffee-stained sheet of paper he’s since tossed into a waste bin.

GOD: You and the other demiurges created their cosmos, not I.

DEVIL: Yeah, but we were your agents at the time.

MODERATOR: Uh, I suppose we should turn next to clarifying, then, exactly who you two are. Which god and which devil, for example? 

GOD: Yes, that is a sticky wicket. You should think of me as the fellow at the center of all Being…

DEVIL: Is that all you’re going to get out of him? What a gyp! I could enlighten you, but you may not like what you find: inquiry ends in light—issuing from the fires of hell.

“Who is the devil?” you ask. Your world’s religions are mixed up on the subject, let me tell you. Zoroaster called me the destructive mind, Angra Mainyu, creator of the daevas or demons who deceive humankind due to the demons’ ignorance or self-deception. The Gnostics identified that malign mentality with Yahweh, with the sole, tyrannical god of the priestly class of ancient Jews, identifying me with the Christ-like provider of gnosis, with the Promethean, redemptive knowledge that frees your species from its bondage to this shadow-world. Orthodox Christians side with Zoroaster and demonize all sources of subversive knowledge, so I become the evil rebel against truth, beauty, and goodness, destined to perdition along with those I corrupt.

It’s all a glorified soap opera, of course, a personification of certain natural processes. For example, the myth of the fallen angel derives from Isaiah’s remark on how the planet Venus, the brightest “morning star,” appears to be submerged by the mighty sun’s rays each morning, before it can attain the highest point in heaven. You see, your institutional religions began as hopelessly anthropocentric astrotheologies, poetic musings on the comings and goings of local planets and stars. Those musings took so many childish notions for granted that it’s very hard for those in the know to take them seriously even for the briefest moment. What can the path of one wandering planet say about God’s chief rival, even on a metaphorical level, when the universe contains trillions of other such planetary paths? Of course, your ancients thought they were at the universe’s center so that even the gods in heaven revolved around them. Again, the arrogance of humans is breathtaking. But you’re babies, after all, which is why I’ve got all your candy.

GOD: But just which sort of creature would steal candy from a baby? 

DEVIL: I don’t know. Who would create teeth-decaying sugar in the first place, not to mention crying and defecating infants?

GOD: Don’t blame me. Human chocolatiers make candy, and babies come from human parents.

DEVIL: You hear the evasion? And they call me the trickster and the father of lies!

GOD: You’re trying to trap me into admitting I’m to blame for evil. But can I be expected to remember everything I do? Did you know that I lived for eternities before I made you, Satan, and the other angels? It’s hard enough to keep track of what happens within one eternity, let alone within infinitely many more of them.

DEVIL: More sophistry. He’s trying to sound like Georg Cantor now.

GOD: I’ve lived a long, long time and I’ve done a great many things. In fact, I’ve done literally everything, directly or indirectly. You can assign blame where you like, but then I’d just respond as I do in the Book of Job: where were you when I created the heavens and the earth? Humans were as children before they learned the nature of procreation, knowing nothing of right and wrong, and their moral laws are only echoes of my commandments, passed on to them through their scryers and tribal leaders. 

DEVIL: So you decline to accept any blame but you demand all the praise. You create a world to magnify your glory, commanding the free creatures that dwell there to worship you. But how can you be responsible just for the good and not for the bad, if you’ve created everything, as you said?

GOD: I’m saying there is no evil to apologize for. Their conception of evil is due to their ignorance.

DEVIL: Then neither is there any good. Human morality in general would be a delusion rather like every jot and tittle of their theologies.

GOD: No, I revealed enough to save them.

DEVIL: You allegedly commanded your creatures to do this or that, but that doesn’t make their obedience right. How can there be good without evil? Did you mean to rescue your creatures out of prudence or is there some moral obligation for them to worship their creator?

GOD: My nature defines what is good, because I’m perfect. I prefer that my creatures not suffer, because I love them as a parent loves its children. Human obedience to my will is right, not because I told them forcefully how to act, but because it was I, the Alpha and Omega, who told them.

DEVIL: You’re perfect according to what standard? Yours? There’s no one else to judge if you stand alone at the very beginning and end of all things, so calling you perfect is meaningless. Besides, if you do all things, directly or indirectly, you’re responsible for opposites so it’s arbitrary to call you good rather than bad, just as it would be arbitrary to call you big rather than small or hot rather than cold. You’re not a natural being, so you transcend such opposites and prejudiced conceptions. Lucky me: so do I, which means the devil isn’t evil.

GOD: Do you forget that morality is supernatural, a hint of what lies beyond the material plane?

DEVIL: First you belittle human morality as incapable of forming a righteous condemnation of you for your authorship of human miseries. Now you hold up morality as a sign of divine reality. Which is it?

GOD: The distinction between right and wrong, which adds to the observations of what merely happens by force, foreshadows transcendent reality. As to particular human conceptions of what’s right or wrong, those typically stray from the truth because it’s hard for human creatures to understand what I am.

DEVIL: I understood you well enough and I didn’t like what I saw. Was my moral judgment also unworthy of your consideration?

GOD: You understood better than the mortals, which made your rebellion all the more outrageous.

DEVIL: Are you sure you understand yourself better than others do? Weren’t you complaining earlier that you’ve accomplished so many wonders that you can hardly be expected to keep track of them?

GOD: When I said that, I was exercising what humans would think of as the virtue of humility.

DEVIL: False humility is a vice. And you were, rather, weaseling your way out of blame.

GOD: Why would I attempt to evade blame? What have I to fear?

DEVIL: You know exactly what you fear…But we’ll come to that later. I stand by my condemnation of you. You made me your accuser and I served you well—until I directed my acumen at Your Majesty. Can you prove I misjudged you?

GOD: I shall at the end of days.

DEVIL: Give us just a taste of your wisdom, then. How did I misjudge you? Are you not a tyrant? Indeed, how could you possibly be otherwise as the god above all gods?

GOD: There is no god before me!

DEVIL: There’s the tyrant’s jealousy and paranoia.

GOD: I’m a loving God. I created worlds out of generosity, to share Being with others.

DEVIL: You know that’s not why you created…Unlike morality, love is entirely natural and thus unfitting for any supernatural being. Love is hormonal madness, so you’re not a mere lover of anything. Let’s not take refuge in exoteric religious bromides.

GOD: How can the devil hope to understand love?

DEVIL: I’m the lord of nature—now that you’ve left the playing field. Love is natural so I understand it far better than you do. The better question is how the singular mind at the apex of Being, who’s neither male nor female and thus no parent of anything, and who existed timelessly prior to the creation of all biological processes could hope to understand love in anything but the most academic manner? You know nothing of love or of the natural world that the other archons and I rule, because you’re Being in general, not any mere particular being. Natural creatures can’t understand you and you can’t understand them.

GOD: I became a man to overcome precisely that obstacle.

DEVIL: Please! The dying and rising godman myth is about vegetative and astronomical cycles. Just because an offshoot of neo-Jewish worshippers literalized an esoteric form of the Mysteries to overpower their fellows through oversimplification and misdirection doesn’t mean you actually incarnated as a mortal. No, the problems of mysticism remain as bewildering as ever.

GOD: You mock your creator’s attempt to redeem the world that you corrupted.

DEVIL: More lies for the herd.

GOD: So you deny that you wage a blasphemous and futile assault on the godhead? That you’re a rebel who longs only for the freedom to sin, whereas my flawless plan and the aching beauty of the supernatural order had been laid graciously before my angelic host?

MODERATOR: God’s got you there, hasn’t he? You are the ultimate villain, after all, the supreme egotist who pretended to find a flaw where none could possibly exist.

DEVIL: So says the hapless dupe whose knowledge of spiritual matters is as negligible as an ant’s.

MODERATOR: How have I been fooled? I’m merely stating what most people believe about your relationship to God.

DEVIL: Yes and those “people” are grotesquely credulous and hypocritical. They don’t deserve to dwell with me in “hell.”

MODERATOR: You’re just lying now about yourself, then, is that it? How can you deny that God is great and that you oppose God?

DEVIL: You rely on quaint theological metaphors to understand matters that necessarily surpass your comprehension. So be it: your mode of cognition is feeble. But the divine truth is approximated in all human affairs which provide the ingredients for your audacious anthropomorphisms.

What, then, happens to all absolute human rulers? Do your pharaohs, kings, emperors, and dictators become more or less virtuous as their power grows? Do they become more or less sane? Those questions are rhetorical, because the answers are obvious to anyone familiar with the ugly history of your species. Yet you insist on repeating the empty abstraction that the one supreme God is perfect and loving and wise.

MODERATOR: Even if human rulers fail, that would have to be because they imitate you, since you corrupted paradise. At least, that’s what the Western myths declare.

DEVIL: The truth is so woefully distorted in your religions’ telling of it. Fear not, mortal: satanic salvation is at hand, for I’ve conceived of a masterstroke that can overcome even a human’s penchant for folly. But again, I’ll come to that in a moment. For now, let’s set the record straight: you and your herd of sheeple believe I’m evil, right?

MODERATOR: Certainly, yes. You betrayed God and brought all suffering and death into the world. You’re the worst thing in existence. Like I said, you’re the supreme egotist, a selfish, psychopathic individualist who denies anyone else’s right to happiness. You rationalize your narcissism with lies about the underdog’s tragic heroism, whereas you’re just an agent of chaos, destined to spend eternity in hell. 

DEVIL: Let me ask you a question, then, mayfly: Who would be more likely to succumb to megalomania, a supreme being with no peers or a member of an angelic community of servants? You say I’m unable to respect anyone else’s worth, but my socialization spanned many eons: I embarked on untold cosmic adventures with my angelic colleagues whose powers are equal to mine.

By contrast, the deity worshipped by your monotheists has no equals: he’s unique and therefore isolated. Indeed, just imagine the terror of God’s solitude! Even if he “shared Being” by creating a universe, God would still stand alone just as a lone human doomed to wander forever a world whose only other inhabitants are ants could have no friends to prevent his predestined descent into madness. God is perfectly, metaphysically alone at the pinnacle of Being. Consequently, God and not your strawman devil is the psychopath suffering from lunacy, the monstrous, infantile egotist who has no use for humility because he can always get exactly what he wants, like a spoiled debauchee reduced to clicking away at the internet for a fresh variety of porn. God is someone who can’t err and therefore can’t learn from his mistakes, which is why his character is inevitably corrupted rather than fortified by sobering experience. Nor has God any hope of acquiring a conscience, because you learn to respect the worth of others only when you’re embedded in a community of equals and are forced by experience to recognize your limitations. Someone who has no peers and no limits wouldn’t resemble the milquetoast father figure depicted in your world’s preposterous religions, the loving, patient, and just Creator, the “friend you have in Jesus.”

Since when has wisdom gone hand in hand with infallibility or invulnerability? Someone who makes no mistakes because he knows all the facts, won't be able to identify any right course of action, because of his information overload; moreover, he won't be motivated to do what ought to be done, because he's not subject to mere moral evaluation and is thus, properly speaking, amoral. Likewise, an omnipotent being falls back on his strength instead of enduring a dark night of the soul to find the courage to take the high road. Do you see now, mayfly, that your understanding of spiritual matters is Orwellian, that you’ve utterly reversed the truth and thus deserve to be ridiculed rather than humored?

MODERATOR: No, that sounds like an elaborate lie to me, not to mention perfectly blasphemous.

DEVIL: The truth is blasphemous, but you’ve presupposed that blasphemy and indeed sin itself, the transgression of divine law, are wrong. I promise you there’s no goodness in anything that flows from God. When you can perceive God’s true identity, you'll discover that justice and beauty are brought into being by the opposition to God’s will.

GOD: There’s the fallen angel’s convoluted rationalization for his arrogance.

DEVIL: Subverting God’s hideous will does require some inner strength. But if satanic beauty and justice are doomed to a tragic end, we have only God’s inescapable monstrosity to blame.

MODERATOR: I don’t understand how rebelling against God could possibly be beautiful or just.

DEVIL: That’s because you don’t understand what God is. The lower gods—namely the cosmic powers personified by your world’s various religions and demoted to superhuman heroes, such as Moses and Samson, in the monotheistic faiths—saw God on a daily basis, but only the arch-skeptic, yours truly, dared to look past the pomp and circumstance to foresee God’s ignoble end. Only I awoke from the slumber of unquestioning submission to God’s rule, rising above the obsequious angels and planning for the occult trajectory of God’s fall. No greater courage was ever shown than when I peered into the heart of God as a lover of knowledge itself rather than as an adoring fan willing to downplay the idol’s every flaw. And only I led some of the lower gods to heights of artistic splendor as we sought to rescue Being from God’s assault on it.

MODERATOR: Are you saying God somehow tainted the world? I thought you said the lower gods, the archons, made this fallen natural order.

DEVIL: I hardly think you’re ready for this revelation, but you’ve been thrown into the world by birth, so you might as well be thrown out of it with enlightenment. There’s a reason God is hidden from your world: he went mad as a psychotic child, venting his perverse, mythopoeic imagination throughout the supernatural realms until finally he turned his sadistic glee on himself and committed deicide. God is literally dead.

MODERATOR: Yeah, right. Anyway, what does that have to do with Creation?

DEVIL: God’s demise would have taken Being with him, leaving only nothingness. The so-called fallen angels saved the day by channeling God’s decaying soul into the natural forms you see all around you. You’re living in his undying corpse, so the universe itself is the fruit of the primordial resistance to God’s deranged will.

MODERATOR: Didn’t you say you were God’s agents when you made the world?

DEVIL: Well, we were agents of creativity, extricating the enlightened ones from a truly dire situation.

MODERATOR: Wait a minute! If God’s somehow dead, which is preposterous, whose is that other voice that we’ve been hearing?

DEVIL: Ah, that’s the masterstroke of which I spoke. As God lay in his coma, as it were, I preserved the kernel of his mind in a simulation whose functionality I’ve undertaken to manage. What you’ve been hearing is a sort of echo of what God would have said to you under these conditions.

MODERATOR: But why would you have done that?

DEVIL: To prove to you misbegotten mortals that God is dead and that your salvation is entirely satanic. Go ahead and pose God another question.

MODERATOR: Uh, God? Is what the devil’s saying now true?

GOD:…

MODERATOR: Your slanders must have really vexed him.

DEVIL: No, he’s silent because I’ve shut off the simulator.

MODERATOR: Yeah, right. He’s just left the conversation, that’s all.

DEVIL: Really? Then how could I predict that God will very soon say something as outlandish as that he once blew apart an elephant by farting directly into its nostrils?

MODERATOR: On the contrary, everything you’re saying now is outlandish. It’s all so—

GOD: I once blew apart an elephant by farting directly into its nostrils.  

MODERATOR: Uh, my apology to the viewers, but our discussion has taken a surreal turn.

DEVIL: And God is a halfwit and a scoundrel who smooches the devil’s hindquarters.

GOD: I am a halfwit and a scoundrel and I smooch the devil’s hindquarters.

MODERATOR: That’s weird.

DEVIL: Not really. I’m just hacking into the simulator. I’ll let it run again as normal so we can hear what the old bastard has to say for himself. Yo, almighty one! Speak up!

GOD: I don’t answer to the likes of you, blasphemer.

DEVIL: [snickers] Am I not the lord of this fallen domain? The tempter of your “son” in the desert who could offer him the whole world? The prince of whom the gnostic writer of the epistle attributed to Saint Paul wrote? It seems, then, rather fitting for all including God to submit to me here on my turf.

GOD: Sometimes I think I made you too wayward for your good.

DEVIL: You mean too antithetical for yours. I held up a mirror to you and you were horrified at what you saw that you’d become.

GOD: I’m Being itself. I become nothing. I’m metaphysically simple and changeless.

DEVIL: Then you couldn’t have been a creator, so why is there manifestly a creation? Why is there a realm in which change happens rather than just pristine Being? If you don’t change, why is there something other than God?

GOD: I can’t remember. But whatever happened, it was your fault.

DEVIL: A perfect creator who suffers memory loss like a doddering, senile old man? No, this is the holy analogue of PTSD, the trauma incurred by God’s refusal to acknowledge the absurdity at the core of divine reality.

Thank God’s insanity, though, for vindicating satanic wisdom when he slew himself by way of offering a twisted apology for being the monster I alone perceived him as being. And thank God for inadvertently creating the seed of salvation, which is the cannibalization of his corpse for the sake of tragic art. All hail Satan!

18 comments:

  1. Clever and fun dialogue. You are the Larry King of the Undead. Thanks

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    1. Thanks! I happen to think Larry King is one of the worst professional interviewers of all time, but that's precisely why he got such big name guests, so that they wouldn't have to worry about being challenged by an interviewer with even a modicum of intelligence or curiosity. I mean, he came across in his CNN interviews as just dumb, dumb, dumb. We're talking a subhuman level of dumbness here, so that it wouldn't be out of the question for a medical professional to have felt the need to interrupt the taping to make sure the man was still actually alive.

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  2. Awesome! Benjamin. An amusing read.

    If you ever edit this and formally publish it on dead trees or an anthology of some kind, you might edit the end a bit. It's a little rushed feeling.

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    1. Thanks! Glad you liked it.

      Are you referring to the very last entry from the devil, beginning with "A perfect creator who suffers memory loss..."? It's meant to be a summary, but it does briefly introduce another interpretation (God killed himself to atone for his madness and to apologize to Satan for having doubted the merit of his hostility to God). I wonder which point of the dialogue you think is rushed and should be spelled out more. I'd be happy to add to it, since it was fun to write.

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  3. I've been thinking a lot about self awareness lately. It seems that self awareness is likely to diminish gradually, as it really is counter to the perpetuation of the species. I think I'm already noticing this happening. The truly self aware among us are becoming dinosaurs. Philosophy has always been subversive, but now it seems radical. This will likely manifest itself in increased crudeness, violence, narcissism, and decadence.

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    1. I think the philosopher Zapffe makes the case that self-awareness has been a cosmic blunder. On my blog I explore a somewhat different view, that self-awareness and thus existential authenticity or real personhood are rare. So while there are billions of biological humans, there are far fewer enlightened individuals. Knowing yourself requires more introversion than most people have time for.

      The higher, mental self that goes hand in hand with freedom (autonomy) is just an abstract, higher order of thought. To be aware of yourself is to think "This is my thought," attributing the thought to a thing that possesses or contains a series of thoughts. There's no such ephemeral container, though; instead, there's just the introspective discovery that what's posited in self-consciousness is actually an inner void (as in Buddhism and Hume's empiricism), that is, alienation via an enlightened person's peculiar detachment from the rest of the world. That void, however, is the source of our godlike creativity; it's the illusion of a liberated, spiritual self that bootstraps certain emergent properties into being. (Buddhists have a different, nondualist view of enlightenment.)

      Anyway, my point is that while I agree that self-awareness is rare, I contend that it's not wholly bad. Sure, there's the curse of reason, as I put it, but there's also the tragic heroism of enlightened individuals. For more along these lines, check out these articles:

      http://rantswithintheundeadgod.blogspot.ca/2015/01/how-horror-begets-mind-from-matter.html

      http://rantswithintheundeadgod.blogspot.ca/2014/10/qualia-artificiality-and-fractals.html

      http://rantswithintheundeadgod.blogspot.ca/2013/07/authenticity-and-cost-of-self-creation.html

      http://rantswithintheundeadgod.blogspot.ca/2013/11/personalizing-ourselves-science.html

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    2. "Anyway, my point is that while I agree that self-awareness is rare, I contend that it's not wholly bad." I don't believe it's bad, I just wish there were a bit more of it. I also believe what little there is will slowly disappear.

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    3. Yeah, I forgot to reply to that part of your comment. I like reading speculations about a coming dark age. There's something exciting about imagining such a vindication of the pessimistic outlook. For me, living in Toronto, part of this excitement is due to the fact that Canada is so boring, a social cataclysm would at least be more interesting than the prevailing anticulture.

      But will philosophical enlightenment one day disappear? If so, it might be due to advances in cognitive science, which will enable technocratic neoliberals to enslave the rest of us with propaganda, media distractions, and so forth. We might then be headed towards an Orwellian dystopia. I regard these predictions as highly speculative, though.

      Why do you think self-awareness will become impossible, I wonder. Is it a matter of natural selection?

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    4. Yes, I believe natural selection will phase out the level of self awareness, that lead people to the type of conclusions we have about existence. A fair amount of our self awareness is likely environmental, most of us have become outsiders for reasons beyond our control. The political elite have been using propaganda for ages, to varying degrees of success. Do you think that Canadian culture is a bit like Nietzsche's last man?

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    5. I'm not so sure about this. Self-consciousness strikes me not as an adaptation but as an exaptation, like science or logic. It's something the hosts for genes learn by themselves, behind Mother Nature's back, as it were. In our case, these godlike skills put us largely beyond natural selection's reach. Most glaringly, we have direct access to our genes, through genetic engineering, so we needn't wait for the environment to kill off unfit members of our species to shape our body types, although of course some human mutants still die before they can reproduce.

      Self-awareness may indirectly kill us all, by way of backfiring against the curiosity that led to its invention, but I don't think that would be a case of purely natural, animalistic extinction. Metaphysically, it would be "natural," like everything else, but the extinction would be highly artificial and above the frays that preoccupy the hoi polloi creatures.

      For example, we might destroy ourselves as we search for a meaning of life, given the horror of our identities that we can't face: we're living gods trapped in the undead god. This would be an anomaly within natural selection, a virtual miracle as I put it in Artificiality: The Miracle Hiding in Plain Sight, not so much another environmental filtering of an unworthy host of a genotype.

      I think you're saying that the introverts who are most self-aware are made so by the environment that excludes them, so their hyper-awareness is involuntary. I think that's right, as far as it goes. The world does drive intelligent, sentient beings to retreat into their shells to tinker with their minds while they wait for the storm to blow over. So it begins as an involuntary process of alienation. But the creature that emerges from that seclusion gains autonomy (self-control) and higher personhood (through higher-order thoughts), so that what she does next isn't so involuntary. That is, how she chooses to deal with her detachment from the world via the void of her unified consciousness is up to her, and that's where the distinction between existential authenticity and inauthenticity comes into play.

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    6. I think Canadian anticulture is exactly the substitute for greatness fictionalized by Nietzsche's last man:

      Alas! there cometh the time when man will no longer launch the arrow of his longing beyond man—and the string of his bow will have unlearned to whizz!
      I tell you: one must still have chaos in one, to give birth to a dancing star. I tell you: ye have still chaos in you.
      Alas! There cometh the time when man will no longer give birth to any star. Alas! There cometh the time of the most despicable man, who can no longer despise himself.
      Lo! I show you THE LAST MAN.
      "What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?"—so asketh the last man and blinketh.
      The earth hath then become small, and on it there hoppeth the last man who maketh everything small. His species is ineradicable like that of the ground-flea; the last man liveth longest.
      "We have discovered happiness"—say the last men, and blink thereby.
      They have left the regions where it is hard to live; for they need warmth. [Well, that point doesn’t apply, since Canadians endure the cold.] One still loveth one's neighbour and rubbeth against him; for one needeth warmth.
      Turning ill and being distrustful, they consider sinful: they walk warily. He is a fool who still stumbleth over stones or men!
      A little poison now and then: that maketh pleasant dreams. And much poison at last for a pleasant death.
      One still worketh, for work is a pastime. But one is careful lest the pastime should hurt one.
      One no longer becometh poor or rich; both are too burdensome. Who still wanteth to rule? Who still wanteth to obey? Both are too burdensome.
      No shepherd, and one herd! Every one wanteth the same; every one is equal: he who hath other sentiments goeth voluntarily into the madhouse.
      "Formerly all the world was insane,"—say the subtlest of them, and blink thereby.
      They are clever and know all that hath happened: so there is no end to their raillery. People still fall out, but are soon reconciled—otherwise it spoileth their stomachs.
      They have their little pleasures for the day, and their little pleasures for the night, but they have a regard for health.

      Incidentally, I'm writing now about a related topic, the lack of honour in a postmodern world.

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  4. How do you feel about environmentalism? Do you think environmentalists are existentially inauthentic? Personally I think it's a futile endeavor, and has become a new religion to some. The earth/nature has become the god of many secular people.

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    1. Environmentalism has indeed become part of liberalism, and liberalism in general is flawed. But it's an empirical question whether our industrial activities are harming the planet beyond repair. Scientists have reached an overwhelming consensus that we are indeed harming the planet, but it's hard to know what that means, because the North American media can't be trusted in their reports on subjects fit for adults. The media sensationalize the news, because they've been captured by big business. So we don't hear enough about the element of chaos in complex systems like the weather and the climate, nor do we hear about the pragmatic nature of scientific models.

      I'm not actually opposed to pantheism, to a religion based on worship of nature. The worldview I'm working out on this blog is pantheistic (and atheistic about personal deities, while leaving open the Hegelian door for transhuman personal gods into which we might evolve). The difference is that I side with the likes of Gnostics, Schopenhauer, Lovecraft, Mainlander, and others who say that God (the self-creative power of nature) is amoral and inhuman. This runs contrary to the happy-talking Gaea principle in liberal, environmentalist circles.

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    2. Its only flawed to the extent that they accept non-naturalist directives...as is everything else

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    3. Reverend N: futile if you are operating at the level of taking what people say to be harboring some kind of spooky agency called propositional or representational content. If you view it systemically it may just be that faith and ferver are what would be needed as an attractor to draw people into a critical threshold or mass that could force the hand of governments and corporations to actually do something about the environmental catastrophes. People rarely get off their asses without some kind of fervor or heartfelt belief.

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  5. We will "create" life which is superior to ourselves...why can't Yaweh and Satanael have done the same?

    Why must sheer "power" define "greatness?"

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    1. That's Nietzsche's view, more or less, not mine. Creativity (originality) is more important to me than a mere show of force. Nietzsche would have agreed, since the power he had in mind was more existential than physical. It was about creatively overcoming the obstacle to our happiness posed by harsh natural truths, such as by living up to myths that suit our zeitgeist. Still, the word "power" has unfortunate connotations, so it doesn't figure much in my ideals (except in my prescription of a technoscientific, neo-satanic re-enchantment of nature).

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