The Wanderers in the Spirit World

Bruce Charlton, an emeritus academic from the British Isles, and a man for whom I have the highest admiration, says clearly in a few words what it takes me many words to say. Here is a column explaining the self-contradictory and self-defeating nature of the enemy.

He expounds on this theme in a number of columns, explaining that there are three types of hellish evil displayed in human depravity.

Here is a summary of Charlton’s conclusions if time or interest does not permit perusal.

The first of the three satanic evils is the personal self-gratifying and self-aggrandizing evil of a rapist, looter, or violent despot, who seeks to frighten opponents into surrender. Imagine Blackbeard the pirate with burning fuses tied in his beard, striding the decks with the bloodstains of his victims dripping from his coat. The goal is gold and girls and rum, or, if you prefer, sex and drugs and rock-n-roll.

The second is the faceless bureaucrat who promotes evil with the cold eyed efficiency and hypocrisy, not for any personal gain. Imagine the schoolboard of Fairfax, Virginia, promoting homo-porn and pedophilia via school libraries, denouncing parents as terrorists to federal police for thoughtcrime. More to the point, imagine O’Brian, the bureaucrat from Orwell’s Room 101, for whom torturing patients with rats is merely a task. The goal is to have a boot stamping on a human face forever.

The third is the media mogul, international banker, or internet oligarch funding riots and arson, raising money to bail out rioters, while ordering state prosecutors beholden to him to charge no one, ordering police to stand down, ordering governors to fire noncompliant nurses and doctors during an epidemic, to discharge officers and soldiers during a period of riot and invasion, to discharge truckers and longshoremen during a supply chain crises. Imagine the cabal guiding the Biden Administration; or imagine, which is much the same thing, the Joker as played by Heath Ledger, burning a pyramid of banknotes with a victim atop, mere to see them burn. The goal is revenge against civilization, and all things normal, sane, and decent.

Bruce Charlton uses terms borrowed from Rudolf Steiner, and calls the first evil Luciferic, the second Ahrimanic, and the third Sorathic.

Perhaps this is better than calling them Blackbeard, Big Brother, and Biden, but Dr. Charlton’s nomenclature is a little two esoteric for my taste, particularly since the Powers That Be currently engaged in burning the world, the totalitarian-anarchist socialist-plutocrat pervertarian-puritans of woke political correctness have been called Luciferians in various popular writings concerning their activities.

I suppose one could also follow Gary Gygax, and call them and Neutral Evil, Lawful Evil, and Chaotic Evil respectively.

Or, again, one could identify each of these stages with a different school of Gnosticism, that oldest of all heresies, which is, by turns, antinomian, eclectic, esoteric, as it rejects law, heritage, and reason.

Myself, following the ideas of Archmonk Seraphim Rose, see four types, each a successive stage of degeneration in rebellion against the prior. He calls them Liberalism, Realism, Vitalism, and Nihilism.

By Liberalism, Fr. Rose means the secularized and denatured version of intellectual Christianity popular in the postwar years, a sort of Civic Deism, where god is not a person, but an idea able to inspire civilized do-goodery, but not to raise the dead. This is the grandfatherly god worshipped by people who dislike the God who inspires men to be God-fearing. The Deist god of Thomas Paine, or the Absolute of Hegel, are examples of the tame god of this first layer of postchristian thought.

Liberals tend to be worldly men, for whom spiritual reality is secondary, and Christian civilization is seen as useful because it leads to liberty and prosperity, not because Christ is true and faithful.

I see Liberalism as a reaction against the wars and conflicts of the Reformation and Counterreformation, in the form of Christendom attempting to find a non-denominational foundation for society, now that the Catholic roots were cut. I prefer to call this stage “Worldliness.”

By Realism, Fr. Rose means the simplistic materialism and determinism of the kind of man who, seeing no soul after an autopsy, or hearing no angels harping during a moonshot, assume the smug atheism of Marx, or similar crackpots.

Realists, despite the name, tend to be Utopian. Christian civilization is the enemy, and must perish like the dinosaurs ere the next age of evolution elevates mankind to posthumanity.

I see Realism as a reaction against the worldliness, selfishness, and prosperity following the Victorian Age, when the Industrial Revolution was in full swing. Man does not live by bread alone, and the same high impulse which drove monks to live in monasteries in the Middle Ages, drain swamps and clear forests, namely, the impulse to reject the world but improve the world, if perverted by a lack of godliness, turns the would-be monk into a starry-eyed activist and useful idiot, one who builds the guillotine, free of charge, for the glory of the revolution, and is executed by it.  I prefer to call this stage “Utopian.”

By Vitalism, Fr. Rose means belief in the Shavian Life-Force or the mysticism of Theosophists and New Age spiritualists, including neopagans and witches.

I see Vitalism as a reaction against Communism and other Utopian schemes to create heaven on earth by means of unleashing hell on earth. It is a rejection of all organized religion, including the pseudo-religious impulse behind the crusades and revolutions of the radical Utopians. Vitalism is ineffable and individualistic in nature, a type of spiritual anarchy, where a man finds whatever suits his tastes that season from the scatter fragments of several traditions and cultures. The dividing line between psychedelic communion with UFO visitations occupying higher vibrational dimensions, spirit-animals, familiar spirits, and open devil worship is foggy, perhaps intentionally so.

The final stage is Nihilism, which is a halt-state. Once a man concludes that there is no truth in mysticism, in utopianism, in worldliness, or in faith, he ceases to reason and to heed reason, and so he cannot be reasoned out of this position. It is also the sin of despair.

He cannot be woken from it, because his reason is only pretending to sleep. No one who espouses nihilism actually lives as he would if he actually believed it, but, then again, no one actually believes in believing in nothing. It is a psychological escape-hatch to flee from criticism, and a spiritual opium meant to benumb the stings of conscience.

Fr. Rose does not dwell on how the degeneration begins. Prior to any downfall is is schism: the schismatic rejects the authority of the Church as the living bride of Christ and replaces her with any number of denominational churches, each built by man to suit himself. After schism comes heresy, where the King declares himself Pope, or each man declares himself to be his own magesterium, able to rule on Church doctrine according to his own amateur opinion.

The first stage of degeneration thereafter is liberalism, which might also be called pragmatism or worldliness, where, in order to halt the disorder of denominational squabbles, the secular power agrees to stand neutral, and exiling the Church to the private sphere, as if she were just one competing viewpoint among many in a marketplace of ideas.

As liberalism degenerates from a nonpartisan neutrality into an open hostility, the spiritual vacuum is replaced by Utopianism, which starts with pacifism and ends with fascism.

As hopes of worldly utopia die, otherworldly mystics abandoned ship, and retreat into aura-reading, meditation, opium-smoke, witchcraft, or adopt some bastardized form of Eastern religion without the Eastern discipline, culture, or moral code, from Theosophy to Eckankar to Scientology. Various star-gazers, crystal-gazers, navel-gazers, nudists, vegetarians and transcendentalists each go their separate ways into ever more gloomy spiritual mists.

When the wanderers in the spirit world come upon crowned Lucifer, Prince of Air and Darkness, and gaze into his infinitely empty eyes of horrific misery, and behold in terror his sad and mirthless grin, they have no prayer to utter, and no paraclete to call upon in self defense.  This is nihilism: the miserific vision.

And, gazing through the eyeholes of the mask of the lord of hell, and seeing the abyss of hell beyond, the lost soul himself becomes an hell, and carries it along as a shadow at each footfall, nor can the lost escape.

However, it is soothing to him to see no one happier.

Misery loves company. Pulling down monuments, smashing hopes and dreams, denigrating high ideals, draining hope, strangling laughter, devaluing all forms of decency, chastity, sanity, courtesy, liberty and honesty become the pastimes of the tormented soul locked each man in the prison of his own dead heart.

Myself, I often puzzle over how much, if anything, of the stupefying nonsense issuing from the Powers That Be via their prophets and publicists they themselves believe, or why their efforts are at once so effective and yet so self defeating. I ponder why Communist propaganda in the 1950s from Upton Sinclair to John Steinbeck was so remarkably well written and persuasive, whereas ‘Woke’ foetid sewer oceans in the form of remakes and sequels of popular franchises are so remarkably hamfisted, awkward, and unpersuasive.

The answer to the puzzle, or, at least, the intellectual tool needed to pry open the Rubik’s Cube, may be here in Bruce Charlton’s columns. I think he is on to something.