Sunday 18 March 2018

Some Reflections on the Meaning of Right and Left

Most people I encounter nowadays lean towards the left in some way, if not from the political or economic standpoint then almost certainly from the cultural one. It's the conventional view in our post-spiritual world and to express ideas at variance with it is regarded with increasing suspicion. The traditional understanding of life seems to have been swept away over the past few decades, and often not just swept away but turned on its head as well. I would never advocate a full return to the past since you don't go forward by going back to where you started. Besides, the past was full of ignorance in many respects. But sometimes when you have taken a wrong turning you do have to retrace your steps or, at least, you have to cut across country to get to where the old path would have led if it carried on going in a proper direction.

Right and left would seem to echo deeper realities than purely political ones, and that makes sense when you appreciate that this is a world built on the interaction between complementary opposites. I think that if you strip them back to basics, to what might be their initiating distinguishing impulse, you could say that the right is based on quality and the left on quantity. Alternatively put, it might be said that the right is based on the vertical aspect of life (hence the focus on hierarchy) while the left follows the horizontal (hence equality). And from this you see that both have a certain validity and also that there is room for both. You can also see why the right (the true right) is religious and the left is materialistic.

But, though there is room for both and though both are, in their different ways, necessary, one does have precedence over the other just as the vertical axis has precedence over the horizontal. Quality must come before quantity just as, on a loom, the warp is woven before the weft is added.

Life is made of spirit and matter working together but it should be obvious that the spiritual comes before the material in this pairing. The latter is actually an expression of the former. Now, it might seem odd to compare the right to the spiritual but I submit that this is precisely what it is ultimately grounded in when it is true to its calling because of its awareness of the primacy of God. Just because many people on the right today have no spiritual leaning does not invalidate this. It simply means that their attitude has been corrupted by the materialistic beliefs of the left. They have lost their true centre and abandoned religion but this means they are right only superficially and their 'rightness' is heavily coloured by leftist assumptions.

That the left relates to the material should not be hard to see. Since its beginning, it has made no bones about its focus on this world and righting the wrongs, as it sees them, of this world, and it does so from a materialistic point of view. When it adopts a spiritual attitude, you will find that its spirituality is cast in a human-centric form, and always social matters come before spiritual ones, the latter being seen in the light of the former.

It is my contention that increasingly over the last 50 years the left has been used by the demonic powers to undermine human civilisation. That is why the focus of the left has gone from alleviating poverty to a near obsession with inverting the natural order of being. Naturally, this demonic campaign has been dressed up in attractive clothing and most of those fighting it believe themselves to be at the vanguard of progress. In some respects they might be since the dark powers are far from stupid and know how to sugar the pill just enough to make it go down. Also, old ways of thinking did need to change to keep up with the general evolution of human consciousness which is why it is not good enough simply to retreat to religious traditionalism. But generally, I'm afraid to say, most of those on the left today are like Lenin's useful idiots, and it has to be pointed out that they are only able to be used in this way because of character defects they might have that can be taken advantage of, envy and resentment being the among the obvious ones but there is also spiritual naivety and, most importantly, lack of imagination. True imagination, that is. As we know, many contemporary artists are on the left but you will find that their imagination is usually grounded and lacks vision. Strong on the horizontal axis but weak on the vertical.

I am not saying that those on the right are paragons of virtue. We are all sinners from the spiritual perspective. That is the legacy of the Fall, that almost archetypal time when we lost connection to the divine. But if such people acknowledge the reality of God, as they should do if they truly are on the right in a more than outer sense, then they are at least facing the proper direction. Moreover, they have this advantage over those on the left. They are generally concerned with real things and with people rather than abstract concepts. They care about those they actually know and who actually exist rather than an amorphous and non-existent 'humanity'. They are realists not ideologues who see everything and everybody through the distorting lens of ideology. They are interested in real individuals not theories about abstractions.

Nothing is completely clear cut and simple. At least nothing is in this world and at this time. In fact and in truth everything is clear cut and simple but here in this world we all have good and evil within us, or the tendencies to such. A person on the right is not better than one on the left. Human beings are a complicated mix of all sorts of things, of mixed motivations, aspirations and ideas of what is good and what is not. But, in general terms, if one is pulled towards acknowledging the reality of God one becomes more aware of the truths of tradition and less drawn towards the idea of remaking human beings in a false, materialistic image which is what the left is hell-bent on doing now. 

I said earlier that there is a sense in which we need both left and right, and I think that is true. One, if not balanced by the other, will tend to manifest the defects of its qualities. So if I say that right is right that does not mean that right alone is right. It's like the two commandments. Love God is the primary commandment, the one on the right. But love your neighbour as yourself is also necessary and this is the commandment that a true left would have as its motto. But you cannot do the second properly unless you do the first to begin with. The second must come from the first. It must arise out of the first. If it tries to come from itself, it is false which is why so many on the left, for all their fine words, are usually to be seen as fakes, uttering words which do not come from the heart and are ideas about goodness not goodness itself. Goodness is only in God and if he is denied there can be no true goodness.

For the right, God comes before Man but for the left the relationship is reversed. Doesn't that make it clear that ultimately the left is just another attempt at disturbing the natural order of being? It takes an aspect of truth, which does have it place in the whole, but removes that from its natural place in the scheme of things to try to make it foundational. It is a disruption of hierarchy, and one more bite of the apple that is supposed to make men gods without reference to their Creator.  I suppose you could say that the first leftist hasn't changed his tactics. These have just become more sophisticated.

You might have followed me up until this point but I am now going to say something that may seem controversial. I have said that we need both right and left as each can balance and complement the other and prevent things going to extremes. But I have also said that the right should be the leading force of the two, the one that sets the tone, with the left acting as a remedial influence, a counteracting pull to proper harmony as well as contributing its own positive qualities. But it should not take precedence. There is a clear parallel here with male and female, and it seems reasonable to draw the conclusion that the right is largely masculine and the left feminine. And once you grasp this the state of the world today becomes easier to understand. As cultures tend to do in the days of their decline, our world has become feminised and this is one of the reasons it has lost its way. For when the feminine seeks to usurp the leadership position, when it rejects love in its desire for power, the natural order of being is disrupted. The search for truth is made secondary and the priority becomes human feelings. I should add that the feminine forces are aided in this by secondary masculine ones who have felt left behind and undervalued by the previous established hierarchy. Here again envy and resentment come into play and work to undermine legitimate authority.

Of course, many people will regard this analysis as absurd and see it as coming from prejudice or fear rather than basic human intuition which is what I would maintain. That is because they are not acknowledging what lies beneath the surface of reality. When you look into the inner state of the world and of human beings then you can see the machinations that have brought about our current spiritual malaise. Ignore that and you cannot really understand what is going on. How can you when you lack the proper facts?

This post is really just an amplification of the meaning of the archetypal realities of Adam and Eve, disrupted by the Fall and then put right and carried forward by the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus. In one sense, we are currently repeating the Fall. The only way to put that right is through acknowledging the reality of Christ and living that both inwardly and outwardly. 

What does this mean? First of all, it means rejecting the world, the flesh and the devil. However to do that you have to know what these are and they come in many guises not just the obvious ones. Be wise to them all. Then it means taking Christ as the pattern of your soul and conforming yourself to his reality. This has both an inner and an outer dimension and both must be taken fully into account. This is easy if you have seen properly and without distorting your vision by any one of the three impediments to truth just mentioned. That is to say, it's easy to understand but it is arduous to put into practice because you are taking a recalcitrant material, your soul, and trying to knock it into shape. It is very resistant but persistence and faith will bring results.

The inner dimension is the fact of Christ in you, the Christ light within your very being. But this light can only be kindled through the outer dimension which is the reality of Christ as himself. You cannot truly awaken Christ within if you do not submit yourself to the living God. By the same token, it is not enough to acknowledge God above if you don't seek him within as well.

To conclude, politics must end in spirituality. If it doesn't, and is seen only in its own light, it is redundant and, more than that, harmful. Right and left have no proper meaning in themselves but insofar as the former acknowledges that which is beyond itself while the latter does not, seeing life as political rather than spiritual, it is undoubtedly the truer option.


John Fitzgerald said...

Inspiring and encouraging words, William. Thank you.

William Wildblood said...

Thanks John.

Unknown said...

Thank you William for another good exploration in the realm of our recent language that describes the mental and spiritual trends of the time. Yes life process is from the above to the below. Life is not a mere living picnic, a mental journey or an exercise in power and exploitation but a series of obligations that awaiting fulfillment. This verse from a chapter titled repentance reads, and god has bought from the faithfuls their self and possessions in exchange for his reward, to fight in his path, to kill or to be killed. a truthful obligation that he has stipulated in the Torah, the Bible and the Koran and who is more fulfilling than god, so be happy with your fulfillment into god to really gain the great prize. (Chapter 9 verse 111) In the realm of truth politeness is often time sacrificed. The human archetypes as prescribed in the scriptures are the faithful, the faithless and the hypocrite and the many shades of them. It seems we have deliberately changed these labels as we have changed others, in order to open doors to exercise our perversions. Life is a contractual episode, concluded prior to the descent in our physical forms, and here, I like to expose you to another Koranic vision that says, and god has taken from the back of the sons of Adam the core gene and ask them to bear witness to his lordship saying, am I your lord they concur positively then god said do not come on the day of judgement and say we are unaware of such bond or say we were the offspring of mischievous fathers do you take us by their wrong doing. ( chapter 7 verse 172-174) It is a strange event that keeps me wonder how our memory can help us to retrieve that incident though I have heard some Sufis say they hear the echo of that meeting. Our world is moving toward the intertwining of the fictional and the real to the degree it will become difficult to make the distinction. No wonder we are living under the onslaught of the fictional as part of our reality. Dialogue helps us to live healthily in a world is fastly loosing its equanimity. It is certainly a hard time only god can save us. No wonder religious talk is in full swing everywhere. As there is scholastic knowledge there is the revelatory knowledge the base of the scholastic knowledge whose time of activating is descending fast and vast and the evidences of the expansion in human consciousness are being displayed across the all fields of knowledge and across the humans of the globe.

William Wildblood said...

I believe you are referring to the verse in the Koran in which God asks each soul before it is born to acknowledge him as its creator so no one can say they didn't know about God and use that as an excuse for wrongdoing.

This echoes St Paul's teaching that we all have the intuitive knowledge of God within us but block that out to further our egotistic agenda - though we sometimes pervert it to follow an egotistic agenda too.

This is perfectly true. God exists within us and on some level we know this. Atheism is not just a denial of God. It is a denial of ourselves and our humanity too.

Anonymous said...

"God exists within us and on some level we know this."

Is this really true for most people who say that they don't believe?

The information overload from atheistic, materialistic, humanism is so pervasive that it bludgeons the 'still small voice' with its clamour.

I feel great sorrow for those who don't believe, who cannot hear, and I don't think that God will say to the dead, 'You should have heard over the din, and so you stand condemned in my eyes'.

The small, frail, and weak - the majority of us - may be given a post-mortem chance to accept God. He knows about the clamour, and I trust to the Word of His grace.

William Wildblood said...

It's true for everyone. It may be overlaid by many layers and subverted from information coming from outside but it is true for everyone. I don't say God will condemn us but, in some way, we condemn ourselves. I don't mean to eternal damnation but probably to a slow track of spiritual development that will be harder and longer. Possibly we are given what we want but since what we want is God anything else will prove unsatisfactory.

And the possibility of loss of the soul is also there though not, I would say, for the ordinary unbeliever. God will always try to salvage what he can. He is love but he is also truth. Mercy probably trumps justice but justice cannot be ignored.

Anonymous said...

"Mercy probably trumps justice ..."

I hope so. And if reincarnation is real, or, if there is only one incarnation, then post-mortem redemption, I hope for universal salvation. God is great.

Edwin said...

The feminization of our culture, I believe, has led to identity politics. The woman is a fierce advocate for her family; the man balances the interests of his family against the just claims of others. Identity politics always promotes the interests of one group over another, even if such promotion violates fairness. The justification is always the righting of historical wrongs: "This may not be fair now, but neither was what happened back then." The result of such competing claims can only be the war of all against all in which raw power will determine who wins without regard to justice. The left, without God, is without justice.

William Wildblood said...

I expect you are right. It's the same thing as feelings being more important than truth which leads to a progressive deterioration of the culture.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William - As you know from my previous work, I can't make any sense out of the current usage of Left and Right in the secular materialist world of mainstream politics.

For example, the current UK government is supposed to be a 'Right' party; but to me they seem *extremely*, even fanatically, Leftist. The so called 'Far Right' such as the British National Party or their equivalents in Europe are socialists, almost communist, in most of their policies.

I prefer to regard the division as between Religious (those who would put a religious persepctive first and foremost in national life); and everybody else who is 'Left' of one sort or another... that is they are secualr materialists whose morality is this worldly and hedonic/ utilitarian (i.e. claiming to pursue the greatest happiness/ least suffering of the population).

The only difference between the types of Leftist is which group is favoured or given highest priority (Old Left favoured the Proletariat, New Left favour women, recent immigrants, sexual revolutionaries), Nationalist Laft favour the native population of a particular country, Libertarians favour whoever comes out winner in the market; 'Mercantile' whiggish liberals favour the business interest, Old style conservatives favour the landed interest... etc.

The quickest and simplest litmus test is the sexual revolution. All parties that favour - in any way - sex outwith marriage (and marriage between men and women) and revolutionary concepts of sexuality - are on the Left.

(And there is no neutrality in such things - either you favour the sexual revolution, or you favour celibacy/ marriage and family. One or the other must be favoured - it is a straighforward choice.)

But I should also make clear that I see no political solution to our problems. Politics can, and does, make things worse; and that worsening can be more or less rapid and purposeful - but politics cannot make things better.

William Wildblood said...

I quite agree with what you say, Bruce. I have no interest in politics as politics. In fact as far as I am concerned it's politics not patriotism that is the last refuge of the scoundrel! But here I was examining what lies behind left and right, their roots in ideas because everything, good and bad, has roots in some aspect of reality. Distorted, corrupted maybe but the seed is there. By recognising this seed and seeing how it has grown in a deformed way because of the poor soil in which it was planted you can understand more of the reasons why people think and act as they do.

But basically, yes, neither left nor right as they are now have any relation to truth. I do think though that as things stand it is the left that leads the way to corruption and the right is allowing itself to be corrupted. In fact it is quite possible that socialism originally came about specifically to destroy Christianity by promoting its social elements without reference to their higher principles.

As I have written before, I see right and left as ultimately related to truth and love but they are so far removed from their source that that association is virtually meaningless. But when I talk about them as though they had some relevance that is what I mean, a sort of ideal or archetypal left and right.

I do also think there is a connection with masculine and feminine as I wrote here but again that its very deep down. It does help to understand certain aspects of how they are though.

The approach to the sexual revolution is an excellent way to sort out the sheep from the goats. To accept it is to fly in the face of spiritual truth. Unfortunately we are practically all affected by it in one way or another but we have to see through its deceit if we are serious about spiritual matters.

There is no political solution to our problems. Absolutely not. There never has been and there never could be. Politics does always make things worse. The right is not right but in my opinion it has not been used by the fallen angels as an instrument of corruption as much as the left. has over the last 50 years.