I often find myself asking myself rhetorically, "why do you post here?" Its a question motivated by insecurity, of course, since I am well aware
that my viewpoint on things clashes with the religiosity of the people who post here. Nevertheless, It doesn't take long before I discover what it
is. It's two things:
1) I've developed a connection with this site. With it's colors - its name - and its users.
2) I think I can help people here, because I feel, however "narcissistic" it may seem to others, like I got the sort of thinking needed to help
people stuck in nihilism.
Developmental Psychology Is Important
When I reflect back on all the reading I have done in developmental psychology, self-psychology, relational psychoanalysis and traumatology, I often
muse on how sensitive the human being is. Initially, in studying this field, I was also reading deeply into anthropology, "evolutionary psychology"
and "sociobiology". These fields were so intensely out-of-touch with the psychological insights that come from clinical psychological fields, that I
found myself wondering in two ways: what is wrong with these people that they emphasize such trite/insignificant things? And: what can I do to help
others metabolize the utter-necessity of helping the next generation of human beings become a little-less-damaged than we are?
Naturally, Jews populate these sorts of fields, yet one of the leading thinkers in modern day developmental psychology is a non-Jew named Peter
Fonagy. John Bowlby, another non-Jew psychiatrist, was the guy who got attachment theory rolling.
In any case, why do I bring up the issue of "Jewishness"? Because I feel, or rather, know, that some people are dominated by a point-counterpoint
mental structure that places the human species on one side, and God on the other.
I'm currently reading Eric Voegelin, who was a professor of political science at Louisiana State University and later the University of Munich. The
book is title 'Science, Politics, and Gnosticism". The aim of the book is to link Comte (positivism) Hegel (subjective idealism), Marx (socialism),
Nietzsche and Heiddeger (existentialism) to the mystical doctrine of gnosticism.
For the most part, Voegelin is an incredibly perspicacious writer, yet, being so knowledgeable of the cognitive sciences, complex systems, and human
affective/cognitive development, I found myself resenting his lack of sensitivity to points made by Marx, which, even if they are "gnostic" in
origin, make a great deal of sense, if one only relaxes the God-doctrine for a moment, and try to understand.
My belief is simple: our minds are entirely the product of relational dynamics, so much so that each state is a sign that reacts to other signs. What
we feel is a sign; and the things we say through feelings provide a "shape" to the meaning of the affective signs we find ourselves experiencing.
Signs upon signs, in other words.
God, too, is a sign. Indeed, perhaps I was being a bit one-sided in an earlier post when I picked out the two types of gnostics who are leading the
world towards societal and environmental destruction - what I called the "pleromas" (love is everything i.e. an effort to help/heal the self) and
the nihilists, who only care about the "will-to-power".
I thought to myself: ok, so Mike, what do you feel about this? Being ever-so-observant of my experience, and having the traumatic history that I have,
plus the additional trauma of knowing what other people believe, think and assert about reality (i.e. Nietzsche, Heidegger, etc) I experience this
intense painfulness inside of me: I hate like they hate, yet I'm tired of suffering, tired of not living and not feeling enlivened. What this means
is, I understand them (nihilists/gnostics) and I understand them (progressivism, science, empiricsm). What this also meant was that I understand my
own past (kabbalah, Judaism) and how, from their perspective, the overwhelming semiotic conviction of Judaism, with its intense sense of being on a
mission to convert all people to "knowledge of God". Voegelin, indeed, quotes a few kabbalistic texts about the Golem (from Scholem), as if to point
out that this belief system of "man vs. God", goes very far back in history, way before the protestant reformation, before Christianity and ancient
Gnosticism, and indeed, is clearly evident in all major civilizations on Earth.
Marx writes (about religion: i.e. "sacredness")
Its subject is its enemy, which it seeks not to refute, but to annihilate...it no longer acts as an end in itself, but only as a means. Its
essential emotion is indignation; its essential task is denunciation
I found myself nodding my head to these words, even if Voegelin quotes Marx to the purpose of showing how he was an intellectual 'swindler', I
couldn't help but acknowledge the apparent truthfulness of Marx's claims.
So, Marx says religious people, lets say Jews or Christians or Muslims, want to "annihilate" non-believers. Their words are not "ends in
themselves", but a means to changing them. Poignantly, Marx complains of "indignation" and "denunciation", which, I must say, has a great deal of
truth to it.
This is how I understand the situation: Humans are a single organism, so that the views expressed by one person (say a Jewish believer in God) to
another person (an irreligious person, say, a dionysian "mask wearer") results in a feeling of dissonance and disconnection.
Barring real moral/ethical problems (i.e. killing, raping, etc), this situation can be explained thusly: the indignant/denunciating feeling of the
religious person can be said to be a "reaction" against the perception of a behavior that, from the religious person's perspective, seems wrong.
Now, knowing much about the world of religious fundamentalism, it is absolutely true that their standards for "purity" are overwhelmingly
grating/antagonistic to the secular conditions of our society. In a certain sense, a "battery dynamic" is built: I am "so holy", because God is my
being, my friend, and my only truth, and you, the other person, because you oppose God, are evil! This is the typical reflexive position of the
fundamentalist religious person. When the feel, their minds lead them this way; it goes this way because, given their particular culture context, this
is what has become an attractor.
Marx criticism, on the other hand, speaks of 'indignation" and "denunciation", as if the words of the religious purist triggers and antagonizes
such a ferocity of hatred/disgust, that the person who hears such words, like the religious person, "reacts" from the same alchemical background
that the religious person works from.
Reacting. This is what I'm seeing: arrogance on both sides; and ignnorance on both sides. It is, it seems to me, the very centralization of God into
the picture, that motivates these extreme feelings of dominance in either group.
Voegelin notes how much the gnostic-fantasy has changed from Comte, to Hegel, to Nietzsche, then Hegel. He doesn't recognize or not why this is
happening, only that it represents the breakdown of a plausible-metaphysical picture being broken down, generation after generation, into its "bare
bones" i.e. in Heidegger. The bare-bones admits to a complete nihilism that considers the "now" to be the only reality that matters.