Searching for Our Human Face: The Nihilism of the Voluntarist Will

by Brian C. Moore, Ph.D.

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One gets the sense from contemporary pedagogy that freedom and rights are the most precious things that a culture can bestow on its people. Young people know all about MLK and Rosa Parks and seem to think that western civilization is mainly a long history of oppression that is only slowly being altered by progressive, secular ideology. “Free at last, free at last” and they never think that their notion of freedom might be deeply inadequate.

Yes, you most likely.

Only there is something rather misty about all this freedom, if pressed just the slightest bit. Where is this freedom going? What is it for? If there is anything that is an unquestioned truism of modern education, it is that knowledge is power. The dimmest of bulbs will brighten up with the recitation of the fundamental axiom of the novum organum. (In the flyleaf of William Blake’s copy of Bacon’s propaganda, the poet wrote “good advice for Satan’s kingdom.”) For the invocation of “knowledge is power” is already the kernel of Nietzsche’s will to power, and both are based on a forgetting—a forgetting of the meaning and praxis of contemplation, of prayer, and of the notion that the most important knowledge is not power.

But this last bit is almost an unthinkable thought for modern people. Buddhism can approach it, a letting be that is not simple passivity, but even then, it lacks an affirmative, elemental celebration that is only possible with the thought of creation. In phenomenology that takes a religious turn or in the powerfully creative thought of Christos Yannaras, for example, one finds a repudiation of the linkage between the person and nature, though this is a mechanized nature, doomed to death, indifferent to the suffering of the transient beloved. Shestov righteously raises his fist against this cold nature. So did Dostoevsky, so should you. But perhaps this is not all there is to nature. Pascal was tempted to terror and despair before the vast void of Galilean space. Perhaps “these void spaces poignantly named by Pascal are already a degraded creation. God’s creation is not a void infinity of empty space. We do not have to think of either God or nature in terms of such vacant infinity” (Perplexity and Ultimacy, 188.)

There is an older sense in which nature is consonant with the aspirations of the person. William Desmond draws a distinction between the conatus essendi (the striving, struggle for living) and the passio essendi (the pure giftedness of our being which is the prior foundation upon which the latter derives). Modernity is largely blind to the passio essendi and it would not see it as freedom. Instead, it identifies freedom with something that is derivative, secondary, and not really a metaphysically coherent concept of liberty. True freedom as the perfected flourishing of one’s being is an eschatological fruition that can be anticipated insofar as one’s actions bring one closer to the unique gift of one’s being/vocation granted by the creator God. David Bentley Hart highpoints the difference:

It has become something of a commonplace among scholars to note that—from at least the time of Plato through the high Middle Ages—the Western understanding of human freedom was inseparable from an understanding of human nature: to be free was to be able to flourish as the kind of being one was, so as to attain the ontological good towards which one’s nature was oriented (i.e., human excellence, charity, the contemplation of God, and so on). For this reason, the movement of the will was always regarded as posterior to the object of its intentions, as something wakened and moved by desire for rational life’s proper telos, and as something truly free only insofar as it achieved that end towards which it was called. To choose awry, then—through ignorance or malfeasance or corrupt longing—was not considered a manifestation of freedom, but of slavery to the imperfect, the deficient, the privative, the (literally) subhuman. Liberty of choice was only the possibility of freedom, not it’s realization. (In the Aftermath, p. 89)

One might conceivably see passio essendi as being lacking will, but I think it is better to see it as a compact, elemental gift from which all other powers derive. It is not so much a lack of freedom as a richness that includes a joyous reception of being that grounds reason and will.

Modern, voluntarist notions of freedom are akin to the way scientism approaches the existence of reality. Scientism never really asks the question of why there is something rather than nothing. It can’t understand that an infinite series of finite causes still can’t address origins—or even feel the need for such, apparently. Similarly, voluntarism is fixated on finite, concrete situations and never sees that the source of freedom is prior and other. Concomitant with voluntarism is the notion of the individual. For an autonomous self with clear boundaries, all associations must be purely elective; all relations necessarily extrinsic, for any other kind of relation would impinge upon freedom and put in question the clear and distinct identity of the self. The self is like one of those hard, billiard ball atoms of the nineteenth century. It has not yet heard of the discoveries of the quantum world, of entanglement, of inexplicable, strange alliances in being.

Voluntarism is the conception of freedom as a will utterly unbound from the dictates of the given. Eric Voegelin warned against the latent Gnosticism in modernity. Anything outside the bounded confines of the buffered cogito is an alien other, the enemy that must be overcome by the superior gnosis—increasingly identified with our technological mastery of nature. This separation of choice from the heteronomous teleology of nature is precisely what a modern thinks freedom is. Why do you think there is such rejoicing and admiration amongst the media and elite cognoscenti when an aging decathlete moves on from a failed nose job to a gender modification? It is the triumph of the will, with apologies to Leni Riefenstahl. The minority that controls propaganda and instructs children so that the rising generation will suffer no ethical confusion as to what is good and right honors the courage of an individual whose actions confirm their own prejudices. Likewise, the redefinition of marriage to include homosexual alliances is celebrated as a securing of rights against bigoted and hateful irrationality. Defenders of ancient custom find themselves cast in the role of oppressors, disdained as carriers of foul spiritual smells, easily lumped in with neo-nazis and the likes of Westboro Baptist church. (So funny, how modern liberals are blind to their own fascism.)

Meanwhile, traditionalists gesture towards a natural law that strike most as arcane and dubious or point in vain ineptitude towards sacred texts many reject and others interpret differently. They are typically unable to articulate how the new innovation is actually a refusal of the giftedness of being, for the giftedness includes natural harmonies and beautiful differences that are given prior to elective affinity. The modern self is ineluctably a post-Christian mode of understanding. In the wake of creatio ex nihilo, it can “think” nothingness to some degree. One has to note the location of the “nothing points.” Now it is the self that creates itself from nothing—so the idea that freedom might have a teleological directive that excludes certain choices as inimical to the fruition of being is treated as an impious imposition, for the self has assumed the place of deity.

Here, I detect a repeating pattern. The isolated self that would triumph over nature is also the terrified individual doomed by a callous nature that perpetuates a mechanism of generation at the expense of the uniquely unrepeatable. The desire for voluntarist freedom is subtly linked to the grasp at eternal life. This is perhaps the temptation of Adam and Eve. I like to imagine it was not a simple stupidity, a mere pride to arrogate to themselves equality with God. That has always seemed to me an unrealistic myth. More likely, the Satan implied a well-meaning, but weak God. There are plenty of theologians of that ilk among us. God wishes you to be well, but He is unable to guarantee your safety. Do you not know that knowledge is power? Ingest this, grow in power, and you will discover eternal life within you. Indeed, the God secretly wishes you to defy His petty prohibition. He is testing you, to see if you will grow up beyond childish fears. Take this, and fear not. Autonomous freedom casts out fear.

One would actually have to follow certain developments in late medieval theology and philosophy to discover the genealogy of your modern nihilist who hides from the despair of meaningless existence by watching Game of Thrones, texting, instagramming, whatever the au courant flavor of social media happens to be. This industrious avoidance is often combined with the voracious seeking of wealth in order to consume the many products offered by modern capitalism. Freedom of choice can easily slide into banality, to an enslaved distraction, desperate to evade the hastily covered over abyss.

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27 Responses to Searching for Our Human Face: The Nihilism of the Voluntarist Will

  1. Robert Fortuin says:

    Superb, thank you. I can think of no other question more important than that of free will. So much of importance is wrapped up in this consideration – the nature of God and that of creation; the relation between the two; anthropology. Frightening to think that within Christianity we can come to so widely divergent and opposed answers to this fundamental question. Maranatha.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. TJF says:

    I’ve read some classical theists who support transgenderism and gay marriage by using the same argument. The difference being that they say our relish doesn’t reside here in this fallen world. So what seems like sexual complementarity,etc. Is really just a result of the fall and in Heaven we will be like the angels neither married nor given in marriage. These are just temporary garments of skin, etc. The argument goes that as spirits drawn to the divine we shouldn’t be limited to specific cultural or even biological realities since these two will be transcended in the eschaton. It is framed in a positive manner as exquisite and multivalent beauty coming to fruition in a variety of forms, whereas those holding to the ancient customs would, like Thomists, reduce our telos to the what has been crafted by the god of this world and thus made acceptable sexual behavior far too narrow and in keeping with fallen reality.

    I’m not really convinced by this, but it is more powerful an argument than I’ve seen expressed before though I doubt the vast majority of people who support these ideas share this view. So what say you Brian or anyone else to this argument?

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    • TJF says:

      Telos not relish. My autocorrect doesn’t like telos.

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    • Robert Fortuin says:

      I’m not convinced of this either TJF – it hinges on the supposition that creation has been given over to the “god of this world” as you put it, devoid presumably of an intrinsic likeness to its Creator. Rather convenient and arbitrary – on this account the whole of ethics can be dismissed as belonging to the reductive telos of this world. And curiously, somehow this novel ethics is exempt from being subject to the god of this world. Really, on what basis shall we accept this privileged, enlightened position?

      Liked by 3 people

      • TJF says:

        I knew there was a flaw in the argument but couldn’t pinpoint it, which is why I brought it up, to see other perspectives. What you say makes sense to me. It sort of relativizes everything. But then what do we say about these conditions? Are they due to demonic influence causing people to feel what they shouldn’t feel and behave how they shouldn’t behave? Obviously the correct Christian response is mercy and great pastoral care should be taken when dealing with such issues, but are these intrinsic evils? It would seem to be the case, given your argument. Seems like we should love the people undergoing such affliction and be compassionate to them, but still be clear that these are not good conditions to be in and definitely shouldn’t be celebrated.

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        • Robert Fortuin says:

          It a shared human condition, we all are subject to it, manifesting itself in various ways, but I wouldn’t call it intrinsically evil, but rather a departure from, a misuse and a distortion of our telos. It is parasitic on human flourishing. I have found the most accurate description and explanation of it as that of the “disordered passions” as the Greek Fathers call them (still a common teaching in the Eastern Orthodox churches). The passions themselves (desire, love, hunger, sex, and the like) are God given and naturally good; it is rather when disordered that we do not live up to our natural vocation to be perfect, “ye are gods”.

          Talk of disorder, perversion, distortion and the like is all non-sense to the modern for whom there is no norm, no vocation, no telos, and for whom the mere ability to choose is the very definition of freedom. So this puts us at a cross roads; but since this is a shared condition, if not empathy at the very least an understanding is called for – the first stone and all that. I do fear for the high priests and scribes of this new religion. Meanwhile let us busy ourselves on our vocation 🙂

          Liked by 4 people

          • TJF says:

            I completely understand and am in agreement. It’s just that I second guess myself sometimes and am never entirely sure whether I am correct. Not an entirely bad quality, but the vigor with which these issues are argued especially denouncing one as uncompassionate and evil if you have the temerity to disagree does tend to make me pause a bit. Thank you for letting me know I’m not just crazy or old fashioned.

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      • I’ve often wondered sometimes that if the reference to the “God of this World” isn’t more tongue-in-cheek. Like I get the “2nd temple ideas” that are kind of influencing it and do indeed kind of rationalize it that many of the earliest of the fathers had a worldview that was indicative of that, but I often am left wondering if it isn’t a sarcastic mentioning of ourselves. Indeed, we are the “gods” of the world. Clearly, the myriad of worlds we create for ourselves, so it’s convenience and arbitrariness stems from the freedom to build a false narrative in existential ways but not in any essential way. So again, working towards a teleological frame that is interrupted, much like a disc playing music that is scratched. So in a sense, we, as fallen creatures are very subject to the “God of this World” aka ourselves, and yet that’s the fall from the beginning. Adam’s insistence on sense perception and the choosing of existence immanently over essence.

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        • Grant says:

          Whilst I think those aspects of things work within us as much as without I tend think it is unwise of Christians to contextualise talk of the archons and the ‘god of the world’ as just aspects of ourselves, and not that there are hostile powers at play. Then again, I think nature spirits, the fey and the elven are very real, as much as the angelic, and that we are far from the only spiritual beings in this comos of ours (before even considering the possiblity of other biological beings such as us on other planets). For all the distortions I think prior ages and the non-Western world percieved(s) far more truly in these matters than we do here in the Western nations. In my opinion we have rendered ourselves blind and deaf to the wild, mind-blowing and complex spiritual aspects of the universe we live in, it’s many worlds and realms.

          While rendered in mythic vision, they relate in my opinion something very true about the truly strange and at times bizzare reality we live in.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with you. There is always a sense that the “powers and principalities” is a very real danger and threat that is far more than the merely earthly connotations. I mean, Origen seemed to think so in Peri Archon, and Paul seems to be concerned as well. I agree there is indeed more to the story, even as far back as the Psalms and Daniel we see this kind of imagery of multiplicity that is layered out that has in a sense fallen too. I was merely pointing out that sometimes, I feel as if it is a reminder more about ourselves than just the sheer easy answer to point at Satan or whoever you want to insert into that spot.

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  3. I also have an interesting question, or maybe it isn’t, I guess responses will tell. So I am at a dinner party the other night, and I have a pretty good friend who falls along the lines of atheism broadly, yet he’s always kind of seeking explanations that would obviously sink things in the realm of metaphysics. He also has a pretty good background in physics, life sciences, etc. So we get into the discussion of free-will, etc, and in the course of the conversation he looks at me and says “I’m just at the point that everything is already determined. That we can’t betray the brain and that all choice is an illusion. The synapses fire, we do, but we aren’t really doing anything at all.” And so I kind of begin to press on the phenomenological, the existential, to kind of press on language, etc. How does the brain learn anything to know to adapt? To which the obvious answer was going to be well natural selection and genetics, plus the combined history of “forced” choices etc.

    So I’m curious how you guys deal with these kind of conversations? I did tell him, that there is a sense in which we could agree that being free isn’t the choice between x and y, per se, but that he goes a bridge to far when he sees consciousness as merely some far fetched notion of the ontic part of being itself. Now, granted, he didn’t really have the metaphysical language to discuss things like ex nihilo as he’s been unchurched and which also blew his mind that modern physics actually kind of bolsters the claim that indeed something could come from nothing. Yet, I’m just wondering how you guys, who are far more astute than I, handle those conversations with the materialists out there. It seems wholly self defeating because then I have no choice than but to fully be metaphysical as my synapses are making me, which wouldn’t necessarily make me wrong, but also means that he could wholly be just as irrational as I? Right? Or what is the rational at the point?

    Anywho, just wanting to know where you guys kind of go with those materialistic deterministic arguments.

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    • brian says:

      Logan,

      Atheist materialism is a faith commitment, often lazily embraced. You can answer it with a metaphysical argument, but as you note, folks don’t have the chops for it or the patience. No one really believes person and freedom are an illusion when say, a violent criminal threatens their life or someone they love. You can retrospectively imagine the anger at evil or overwhelming concern for the beloved is an intricate illusion, but I surmise that is bad faith. Regardless, if someone wills to hold to the view that everything is ultimately a complex, determined machine, you’re not going to persuade them with philosophy. A fundamental change of heart is necessary, and that is more a function of imagination and existential crises that pushes one out of that kind of mental prison.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Robert Fortuin says:

      That’s a tough one Logan. When our common experience is understood in such dramatically different and divergent ways, there’s precious little in terms of having a true exchange of ideas (or should I say an exchange of the synapses?). But yet that common experience must be the starting of point of the conversation (more of an exploration, I doubt much will be agreed upon) – is one really committed to relegate one’s personal existence and experience to the reductive realm of the mindless and purported deterministic and illusion inducing processes of biochemistry? Does such a formulation truly comport with first-hand common sense experience of the rational human person? Can it, even if remotely, be faithful to the personal experience of intentionality, thought, deliberation, of desire, of will? Can it explain the human person?

      But the reductive move leads to an unresolved digression – what determines the synapses? (why should we stop there, rather arbitrary!) So we go further back and place determination to molecules, then to atoms, neutrons and quarks. But what determines them? We have explained nothing, nothing at all.

      As Brian noted aptly, one is up against a faith commitment. An wholly irrational, person-slaying one at that.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Gentleman,

        Thank you for the commentary and candor as always. I too had my own suspicions about the ethical as phenomenon in that case. But, at a dinner party, I figured it’d be a step too far to discuss the problem with evil, etc from that perspective as it could have devolved into such a touchy area. I too, like many of the greats, see philosophy and metaphysics in the end, is the ground of the ethical. I was just curious as to if my impulses were correct and you guys kind of confirmed that for me. I just wanted to know if there was a sense in which you could have that conversation without dealing with it. I mean, even in Brian’s article focus and we talk about sense percpetion/the choosing of self, I find that Schelling and even an atheist such as Adorno, could see that the conscious point of the insertion of the I for the All, would be the first mistake in any system. And it’s interesting that the point of nothing or no-thing rather can become an interesting tie-in of commonality. It’s fascinating how materialists seem to think that we don’t already by the notions of nothingnness, etc. It actually, while he wouldn’t have admitted it, taught him that not everyone has the same presuppositions for what exactly that no-thing is. I found it to be the same tension we sometimes find between “le néant” vs. “rien” or even being able to introduce to him how apophasis works. He was mindblown that Nietszche and Heidegger’s points were actually less about God per se (or in esse rather lol), and more about the western system devolving into the end of a solely cataphatic ontology. Brian knows me well enough by know to know that I fall along all the univocal lines….Sue me…Heraclitaen, Scotist, Schellingian all the way, and yet I found myself wondering that if he could see the merit in another view, maybe there was a deeper hope to push the conversation towards, and indeed, he asked me for some book references afterwards. Maybe his synapses will let him see the truth that is already always present deep in the core of ourselves anyway. It just isn’t the neural fiber alone, but the conscious soul that pours out from the divine in the first place.

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        • Gentlemen* Stupid auto correct.

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        • Robert Fortuin says:

          It is the univocal that precisely fails on this account – there is no horizon of surfeit, of the imagination, of the beyond. Thus one is left with the now, the here, in a closed universe; meaning is exclusively established by what can be perceived on its own terms. No sense of flourishing, of stretching forth: for what is – is all there is. Even for the theist holding to such a scheme the divine is merely a placeholder for that which is greater-than-that within the chain of being, of what is; and this accomplished at the cost of true divine transcendence and immanence. The god-world relation can then only be perceived as a zero-sum formulation. And rightly the atheist objects – who has need for this kind of god?

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          • I guess I’m somewhat confused as to why the univocal necessitates a purely immanent view? That sure isn’t the thought that I’ve gleaned from the ones I’ve mentioned, and I’d admit maybe I read things poorly at times, but I have never felt that they are truly any different than say Cusa or Eriguena, for example. If anything, to me, the univocal (and to be clear, that just means literally we have a synonymous ability to be able to talk about what we experience in concept, but not in its essence….where I also think people read Scotus incorrectly) allows us to actually be more contrite and honest about the fact that there is something beyond that grounds everything, that what we experience immanently is us parsing through the weeds of our self-perception versus the reality of what is the point of creation, and to that degree we are left with the mystery that comes with it…and yet it is that same mystery that transcends what we do know because they are precisely not the same. Yet, there is still the One from who all things come. I’d be as far away from what I assume you’re thinking would be far more akin to Deleuzian unfolding, etc. That isn’t me. Even the great Schelling takes Neo-Platonism as seriously as anyone in the Bruno, and is still trying to extend it in the Freiheitsschrift and the Phil. of Myth and Revelation. So I guess I’d say the God I am worshiping is the one who doesn’t need to be objectified or talked about as “actus purus,” but is rather the One who secures the ground of his own existence and we share in that divine life, and as such, can actually talk about it and relate to it, without claiming to know it fully. That just seems, well, biblical to me?

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          • Robert Fortuin says:

            Yes biblical (although I do insist God as pure act comports to the biblical account as well), but not what one would call “univocal” in the common sense of that term. The univocal foregrounds the immanent as the basis of meaning as, per definition, the univocal cannot embrace an interval of infinite dissimilarity between God and creation; it cannot allow for a difference which always “out-measures” similarity obtaining between them. So per univocity one is bound by similarity, what obtains to creation obtains to God in the same mode.

            Tempting position as we do want to have some meaningful grip on the divine. But it is not the way to go about it.

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          • Logan(mercifullayman) says:

            Hmm….I’m still feeling that what your describing is more of a 1:1 direct corollary, and maybe only Spinoza would go that far. Scotus does not, nor do defenders like Cross, Vos, and Williams. The fact that we can recognize those things at all as being similar is the point and allow us to say things that are indeed meaningful. In no work I’ve read so far, does anyone, Scotus himself included, is there a direct 1:1 modal issue. If anything, as Williams has pointed out, anything else winds up collapsing anyway into univocity. There is a similarity in concept but not in essence. And to the point of many here, isn’t it exactly that similarities by which we come to know ourselves as our true selves in God exactly the point? And it seems that the univocal would actually bolster the claim that what applies to Him would apply to us as what we are in our essence. That what we are moving towards is the singular point that we were intended for that reflects those exact similarities so that we are able to be aware of them in the fullest way?

            I just think we may be understanding the term in two different ways that, again, I’ve never read it explained that way. Maybe by a Thomist like Gilson etc. but never from those within the camp.

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          • Robert Fortuin says:

            It’s Aquinas 101, Logan. As you rightly maintain that there is no 1:1 modality; therefore, and you are missing this, one cannot speak of univocity (unless equivocates its meaning!). That’s the whole point of analogy, to advert that because of the difference in modality one cannot speak of exact similarities. It’s a big topic and others have written about it at great length – Brian Davies comes to mind.

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          • I understand what you’re suggesting and I get that it’s Aquinas 101..I’m not that ignorant to the fact even if I am somewhat of a silly novice in your view. But what I’m saying is that univocity, of the sort I’m suggesting as have others, is not a specifically metaphysical claim at all. It is a semantic/grammatical/logical tool that allows us to say something meaningful at all because analogy breaks down into the unintelligible in the end if we don’t have conceptual grounds that hold it all together when we speak of anything. What grounds the analogy matters, no? What conceptually is going to tie it all together? The conceptual tie allows for a true distinction to be shared in any syllogistic outlook or commentary, so that intelligibility can be claimed while also maintaining a difference in kind. So when we say anything, such as “Socrates is Wise, God is Wise.’ we have the concept of what that means and it can be equally applied and yet not be exactly the same. It doesn’t mean that Socrates and God have the same wisdom but that there is a conceptual ground to it in which we can now make intelligible claims directly about man and God together. Analogy alone will not give you that, and will still default in parsing out linguistically to a univocal (in the sense I’m describing a “common meaning” to borrow from Brian and myself’s back and forths, not as you suggested I am doing via equivocation) font when discussing the analogy. I can talk about wisdom plainly in the above stated case. If you hold to analogy solely, now you have to describe wisdom in a way that could become potentially ambiguous and now equivocating it, thus becoming unintelligible in the end. Analogy becomes a meaningful tool once it is properly grounded, so don’t think that I think it’s fully false or incorrect by any stretch.

            “Again, just as demonstration cannot proceed absent terms whose meanings are fixed, Scotus believes that without such terms we literally do not have any idea what we are saying when we talk about God. If some ideas do not pertain equally well to God and creatures, if the data of experience do not somehow map onto the divine essence, we know nothing of God, the correct account (ratio) of any divine attribute or perfection need not have anything at all in common with a similar correct accounting of the attribute as it is manifest in creatures. As Scotus puts it, if things were really this bad, we would have no better reason to call God wise than a rock (Ord. I, d. 2, qq. 1-2, n. 40, Vat. III:27).”

            Anyway, we will just have to agree to disagree and stop talking at each other lol. I do always enjoy the refreshing views you have though, and enjoy reading what you have to say. It may be the first time I’ve actually disagreed with you.

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          • Robert Fortuin says:

            Not silly at all Logan. I just meant that this has been treated before. I will try to respond in detail, time permitting.

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  4. brian says:

    I wan’t going to comment on these articles, but as there is some prior discussion, I note that the contemporary ethos has palpably become much more polemical and ideologically aggressive in the relatively brief period of years since initial publication. As I have said before, I think C. S. Lewis’ depiction of evil in That HIdeous Strength anticipated all this more than a generation ago. The innuendo and subtle perversity of NICE’s crooked room has been replaced with explicit, self-righteous, totalitarian abuse of anyone who objects to the ethics of the contemporary zeitgeist. Another work I recommend is Walker Percy’s Thanatos Syndrome that was prescient by decades concerning what the archons of the world have designed for children. First, they celebrate murder in the womb and protest the abrogation of their right to kill. Next, they sexualize children barely past the toddler stage. This is diabolic, certainly the reign of anti-Christ. The sophists who subtly seek to insinuate vicious behavior into the gospel itself are particularly reprehensible. Of course, one way to articulate the cure for sin is to outlaw sin or redefine it as everyone who opposes the revolution.

    THF: Bulgakov is clear that the nuptial complimentary nature of the sexes is a spiritual reality that perdures. He even speculates a nuptial relation between the Father’s “two hands,” the masculine kingship of the Son and the feminine action of Spirit that engenders the perfection of the cosmos. It’s a lovely theology that also implies that when one resists and repudiates basic formal realities that are encountered in Creation, one becomes increasingly blind to the splendor of revelation. I personally also suspect it makes one’s prudential decisions in “real world” situations likely to be very dim indeed.

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    • Grant says:

      I read an article recently that had similar thoughts to those you’re expressing here by Paul Kingsnorth here:

      https://unherd.com/2022/05/the-anti-christ-now-rules-us-all/

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      • brian says:

        Yes, I share many of Kingsnorth’s convictions. He’s an excellent writer. His Buckmaster trilogy (The Wake, Beast, and Alexandria) is worth the read, though you have to fight through some initially challenging prose.

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        • TJF says:

          Not to get too far off track, but I was dismayed to see DBH and his nephew ridiculing Kingsnorth on DBH’s substack when I share much of both of their convictions. The only explanation I got is that conservatives are joyless and have bad taste, but sometimes jeremiads are more appropriate and valid forms of expression. It does seem that DBH’s politics are the view of his that I have the least affinity for. Indeed sometimes I think it strays from his other convictions’ implications. I’m glad for other voices like yours Brian, and Kingsnorth’s.

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    • Rux says:

      The State-sponsored attempt to normalize degeneracy is nothing new as it readily demoralizes the productive and self-sufficient, i.e competitors of the State. Followed to its conclusion those who are championed for their perversion will be left to dry when the State has fully delegitimized any class or group which might be a threat to it’s position. For this reason those who ascribe to State sponsored ploys are to be pitied beyond that of their ‘aveuglement’. As the early 20th century demonstrated the inevitable backlash can prove to be quite violent and chaotic. May our Lord help us to exercise restraint when reality doubtlessly recovers.

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