Friday, 21 September 2018

What is the Great Modern Orthodoxy?

And the one thing you cannot contradict without being metaphorically burned at the stake?

Of course, it's equality. This is the first principle of modern Western democracies and it is applied to wider and wider fields. But what is its basis? Does it derive from the study of nature? One would assume it must but when you look for a possible origin, it is hard to find. For equality does not exist anywhere in nature and the belief in it has no rational basis since people are wildly different. They are not the same so they are not equal. It's that simple. In fact, no two things in the created universe are the same. The only things that are so are machine-made things that we describe colloquially as having no soul. This leads me to think that perhaps the contemporary belief in equality is a consequence of the denial of soul which I take to be the founding principle of modernity. For modernity is based on the separation of Man from God. That is its defining characteristic.

No doubt the ideological belief in equality was also a reaction to the pronounced inequality that existed in the pre-modern age. But, like many reactions, it was an over-reaction and we went from one extreme to another. The idea of the oneness of humanity, which gained increasing currency from the 18th century onwards, though deriving ultimately from Christianity, was also a big factor. An inner oneness should not negate outer differences but it has been used to do precisely that. Once again, we have the distortion of a spiritual principle by misapplying it to the material level.

Equality taken to its logical conclusion means everyone, or even everything, is the same. There is no better and no worse. Everything is reduced to a uniform level which means that the idea of quality is destroyed. You can either have quality or equality. You can't have both.  We now live in an age in which quantity takes precedence over quality and it is therefore inevitably an age of general decline, intellectual, moral but most of all spiritual.

We need somehow to restore balance but that will require such an upheaval in our current way of thinking that deeply entrenched beliefs which have grown up over 200 years will have to be thrown out. The idea of hierarchy will have to be reestablished in some form, and people will have to accept that, though we are all one on some level, as far as this world is concerned, we are not equal. Perhaps if we replaced the word equality with justice we might make some progress. Equality means nothing. It describes nothing real. All human beings deserve justice but if you regard them all as equal you will destroy civilisation as, in fact, we are destroying it now. Besides, can you restrict equality just to people? Once you have started, where do you stop? These things have a tendency to move on to the next stage once they have established themselves, and even now there are many people who regard human beings and animals as equal.

Men are by no means equal on the earth plane but that is not a reason for dismissing anybody. With these words, the Masters have summed up the situation. All human beings have intrinsic value in the eyes of God and all have the potential, eventually, to become godlike. But that potential has been realised in some few completely and in some not at all, and in between those two extremes there are as many shades as there are souls. By giving in to the illusion of equality we are actually destroying spirituality because we reduce it to something that no one has more of than anyone else. It becomes something that is within us all to begin with and does not need to be grown and developed. That both devalues the individual and flattens the transcendent. Goodness, truth, beauty and holiness are made meaningless. That is the true end result of egalitarianism.



16 comments:

Bruce Charlton said...

Well said.

The situation of adults and young children perhaps makes the nature of not-equality clearest to me. To treat young children equally to (normal) adults would be monstrously evil. Yet/ and of course they are worthy of the utmost respect.

Eric - said...

Equality is only one thing. Make all people go through the same cookie-cutter, so they can come out as differentiated "individuals" but generalized persons. School is an example. Make everyone learn the same things, and hope they turn out useful. Instead, we turn out stuffed and internally shattered. This is a fast-food approach to society. Equality does not care for the real person one bit. That's why I'm a christian personalist, which means all persons have unique value. Equality compromises this integrity, between Man and God. Instead of letting us grow outwards and become self-actualized we become self-absorbed. I've realized now politics wont cut it, we must become spiritualized. Leftism appeals to a collective which absorbs the individual, liberalism appeals to an "individual" who doesn't exist, and the right tries to a appeal to a "people" who are walking zombies. How can anything happen, if there is no spiritual resonance?

William Wildblood said...

Yes, the stupid thing about the equality dogma is that it denies the very reason for creation which was individuality though a God-centred rather than a self-centred individuality.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

This is David's sin of "numbering the people" -- reducing individuals to interchangeable statistical units.

Abdulmonem Othman said...

It is misplacing use, nothing wrong with equality when is used to open excess to all, the wrong pollutes the environment when it is applied to human equality. The post is an excellent retracing of the wrong steps of our misled civilization. Thank you William , this reminds me of replacing the clear Jesus by the obscure Albion. Yes William it is the loss of the original center and his central agents.

Chris said...

In contemporary political discourse, much is made of the difference between "equality of opportunity" and "equality of outcome". The former aligns with the "classical" liberal perspective whereas the latter corresponds with the "progressive" liberal position. Are modern conservatives/classical liberals correct in their charge that the "progressive" part in "progressive liberalism" really amounts to a repudiation of liberalism?

William Wildblood said...

Chris, I'm not really talking about specific cases of equality. I'm talking about equality as a concept. Once you admit the reality of the concept it's hard to avoid its extension into more and more areas until eventually it must apply to everything. This seems to me inevitable. It is certainly what has happened.

So my argument is more philosophical or metaphysical than political.

edwin said...

I woke up this morning thinking about how Eastern spirituality, Vedanta in particular, reduces everything to undifferentiated consciousness. No thought, action, person has any lasting value and all are one and the same awareness. This is the ultimate equality, metaphysically and practically. Perhaps this explains the great attraction of Eastern spirituality to people who are committed Leftists, i.e. egalitarian absolutists. But how terrible, I thought in my half-waking state, to erase all ultimate meaning from human relationships, from our experience of the world. Deconstructionism also reigns in the world of Academia because it eliminates all possible claims to excellence. Shakespeare and Maya Angelou are equally poets and equally good, or so it is said seriously by people who run English departments. My reflections occurred on the birthday of my eldest son. I recalled the day he was born. I looked at him and thought, "Who is this person?" For I knew he was a distinct individual, even then, as he lay in the nursery. And I knew also that I loved him, whoever he was, more than my own life. As Dr. Charlton says, the difference between adults and children shows that inequality is the given order and that it does not inhibit love and respect in any way.

Chris said...

Hey William,

Yes, I understand that you meant it in a metaphysical sense- I guess I should have prefaced my comment in saying that there are many classical liberals who would largely accept your "metaphysics of equality" and yet still maintain that their position is firmly rooted in modernity. For example, "all men being created equal" and the like.

Chris said...

Correction- firmly rooted in pre-modernity that is.

William Wildblood said...

I just think framing any discourse in terms of equality opens the door to confusion and misunderstanding. Once the term is introduced it cannot be partial. It must spread to cover more and more and eventually everything. A limited equality? That makes no sense.

Chris said...

Hey,

I think we might be talking past each.....

The pre-modern world's understanding of the metaphysics of the great chain of being was the conceptual basis for a hierarchically ordered society. The classical liberalism of early modernity rejected this inequality based on a theological principle- that all men are created equal by their Creator. Is that not a "limited equality"?

William Wildblood said...

I see what you are saying, Chris, but I would first of all ask how do we know that all men really are created equal? I believe that's the wrong way of describing it. All men are created in the image of God but that's a different matter.

And then I would say that any limited equality cannot stay as such. The sphere of equality will be constantly expanded as is happening now.

I come at this from a purely spiritual perspective so I may be missing the point but for me the spiritual is primary and determining. You must start from that not from the position of men and women as they are or might be in this world. I share the pre-modern world's attitude though can see that it did need some adjustment to allow for the evolutionary development of human consciousness that became more individualised. Adjustment, though, not radical revision.

Chris said...

Hi,

I agree with you that the spiritual is primary and determining. An example of this can be recognized in how the theological principle, imago dei, is applied in the political doctrine that all men are created equal. This is a limited equality in a particular domain. I'm not sure if this premise makes an ever expanding equality a necessary outcome.

C.W. Bradley said...

Good post.

I find it quite striking that the this, the supposed Age of Equality, is also the Age of Celebrity.

William Wildblood said...

It is odd. Maybe that's because we also live in an age of Individualism and selfishness.