The rise and collapse of Western civilization is an best example of ignorance and arrogance of people who do not understand the nature of the world and human.
What happens to our civilization? How is it that we roll into the abyss without realizing it? To answer this question, take a look at the history of mankind. It is in it with the utmost clarity that the plan of the Demiurge is revealed.
The cruel paradox of human development is this: whilst freeing themselves from the snares of nature; perfecting social laws; inventing technological marvels; learning to manage diseases, hunger, and cataclysms; acquiring comfort and prosperity, humans …are unable to overcome themselves. Their race is, first of all, an escape from their own selves, which is beyond their control. The hostages of body and soul, people are never satisfied. They are doomed to forever move forward in a futile hope to discard the hated chains.
Finding no solace, they are instinctively longing to work their way out of the manacles of the inner Kafkaesque world in which they find themselves—like people stuck in a bog who automatically grab anything that can serve as anchorage, however illusory it is.
Human nature is unchangeable, but humankind refuses to accept this and longs to change it so passionately that people are prepared to endlessly deceive themselves and, walking along a vicious circle, convince themselves that they are well on the way to progress.
…Today, too many sincerely believe that they can change the world. They consider themselves to be progressives. They may be good people, but they are too naïve and absolutely ignorant. Otherwise they would realize that road to heaven always led to hell.
“He who has seen present things has seen all, both everything which has taken place from all eternity and everything which will be for time without end; for all things are of one kin and of one form“, Marcus Aurelius wrote and it’s exactly so. You don’t agree? Well, take a look at human history.
What is the life of primitive tribes? Their life rested upon one basic, all-permeating, all-encompassing feeling—the feeling of fear of everything: elements, wild animals, pain, neighbouring tribes, a stronger rival who is ready to imminently take possession of their mates. All tricks and efforts were directed at one goal—to avoid death, pain, and, lastly, a final disappearance in the twilight of impending nothing.
With a tremendous effort, people escaped from this world of horror and entered into the Bronze Age. Was it the progress? Surely! Bronze Age people were no longer the captives of nature; they learned to work the land, raise livestock, build houses, and make much more precise and deadly weapons. Totemism and animism were replaced by a more developed faith in the powers of nature impersonated by gods. But what happened after it?
Prehistoric people did not experience the need for wars of conquest. More modern times gave birth to the temptation of spreading personal power and appropriating slaves and property of different kingdoms— new epoch led to mass wars and mass slavery.
There are practically no ancient peoples who did not practice human sacrifice. In Phoenicia children were sacrificed to Moloch and Baal. In Syria, new-born infants were placed on the altar of god Hadad. The Carthaginians—when beaten by Romans, sacrificed two hundred children to the god Cronos: a child was placed on Cronos’s hands, from which he would roll into a fire pit. A Spanish chronicler described the shrine of one of the Aztec’s temples in honour of the god of war, Huitzilopochtli, discovered by Cortez:
The stench was stronger than at the massacre in Castile. All the walls were bathed with blood. On the altar there were three still steaming hearts. The building was packed with neatly stacked skulls up to the very ceiling … their number here should be no less than 136,000.
This was the world that lost reason, soul, and its very essence and turned the divine into the abominable, intoxicated with blood and lust. And once again, by means of an incredible effort, people extricated themselves from the grip of schizophrenic captivity …to find themselves under the stifling concaves of madness yet again.
Judaism pulled humankind out of the elements of the animalhood and morbid attractions under the guise of spiritual cults. Human sacrifices, consanguineous marriages, and debauchery were strictly prohibited. Moses’s laws required people to display mercy to slaves, respect women’s honour, and protect the weak; they prohibited slander and usury. Was it great victory? No doubts! But… Moral law and conscience came into conflict with human nature. Human nature won, and without any particular efforts at that.
Ancient Israel was increasingly sinking into the vortex of idolatry, debauchery, and a groundless inner enmity. An intricate and absurd scholasticism enlaced both mind and faith with a sticky cobweb of prohibitions and edifications, doctrinarianism and chicanery. Judaism was sliding down into the tyranny of neurasthenic-intrusive petty ritual observation, and the Jewish ultra-orthodoxy presents today a sad and awkward grotesque picture of the world’s first religion of revelation. Persian and Assyrian mythology changed the face of Judaism. There appear demons, mystical entities and ‘fallen angels’ of which there is no mention in Torah. Like Tolkien’s tales, whole sagas were created about the wars between angels and demons which lost their guises as a result of Saturday’s arrival.
Calls to asceticism, which was so alien to the vital Judaism of Moses, become stronger. There appeared and grew an aspiration of humiliating and restricting women, turning them into subordinate and intellectually barren creatures.
Mad idea of a religious war was the invention of monotheism. Human nature misrepresented the essence of faith and moral law, harnessing it to serve power and self-affirmation.
The Old Testament gives us the first example of a religious war, a war for the sake of the Creator. These wars resonated with crusades, the slaughter of the Albigenses, the massacre of St Bartholomew, a universal eradication of Jews and Waldensians, the atrocities of Ottomans and Tamerlane, a recent extirpation of Christians and Yezidis in Syria and Iraq, and Islamic jihad.
Judaism distorted itself leaving just a shell of Moses’ teaching. Old wine bags had to filled with new wine—the religion of Love born in the depths of the religion of Law. There started a new page of the humankind giving hope.
How did Christianity begin? All was simple. Only the love for God and for the world. Human for God. Human for human. The first Christian meetings (ecclesia) were like splashes of light in the kingdom of the dead, the embodiment of an ideal preached by Jesus.
It was a triumph of the human spirit! But… Human nature remained the same. Gradually, like water wears away stone, pagan cults and the traits of pride and greed started to eat away at the young tree. A new religion created a new power system with its own hierarchy, ritual, and an aspiration for possession and suppression. Bishops were endowed with untouchability as the successors of apostles. The more muscle that was poured into the ‘body of the Church’, the stiffer its soul became. From over a hundred apostolic traditions of Jesus there remain twenty-seven books including four Gospels. The rest were banned and even destroyed. Fanaticism was working up the speed. The gangs of wandering ascetics—Circumcellions—in Numidia (modern-day Tunisia) burned down villas of merchants and rich patricians, sparing neither their families nor small children. Donatists refused to incorporate abjurers who repudiated the teaching under torture and threats.
The times when prophetesses guided people and preached God’s word passed into oblivion. Why should one need philosophy and education if a soul is ‘Christian’ by nature and knows everything there is to know about God, Tertullian asked. Ignorant monks destroyed the texts of Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and Livy, removing the ink on ancient parchments and writing on them monastic constitutions or lists of the church’s income and expenditure on the pages cleared of any wisdom.
Got power, the Church entered upon the arena of history as a powerful and covetous entity. Greek philosophy and learnedness were extirpated by fire and sword. Byzantium was seized by political terror; ‘Roman Empire was a scene of massacre and flight,’ Procopius of Caesarea wrote.
Beginning from rom East–West Schismhe, the hatred between Orthodoxy and Catholicism had been seething for centuries. The Holy Apostolic See turned into Sodom and Gomorrah. French historian Hippolyte Taine, in his Journey to Italy, wrote about Popes and their environment: ‘These are heathens, barbarians, and the only voice speaking in them is the voice of an excited body, quivering nerves, erect members and overoccupied brain.’
Evil has two wings: ignorance and intolerance. On them the Church rose and reached unprecedented heights. Its body became the abode of a countless number of riffraff, demons, and ghosts. Its blood became the ink feeding scholastic teachings devoid of any connection with reality. The Fathers of Holy Inquisition did their best to cause the doomed creature not just to die, but to die in excruciating agony. When Napoleon’s soldiers went down to the cellars of Spanish prisons, they felt no less horror when faced with the bodies torn to pieces, rotting alive, with amputated legs and noses than Cortez and his knights felt at the foot of the Huitzilopochtli statue.
The Kingdom of Love degenerated into ‘The Seven Deadly Sins’, ‘The Ship of Fools’, ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’ and ‘Cutting the Stone’ (Notable works of Hieronymus Bosch).
The path of Abrahamic religions has run its course. And the way the most recent of them—Islam—is trying to restore itself only causes sombre reminiscences about the rivers of blood that consumed so many children of Adam and Eve.
By the seventeenth century, the Epoch of Faith had come to an end. A new era began—the Era of Reason, the era in which human intellect opened the doors to the future and science became its guide.
Spinoza, Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Rene Descartes, Johannes Kepler, and Robert Boyle wrote philosophical works, made discoveries and changed the world. The world was changing before our eyes; happiness seemed at arm’s length. But… once again – human nature intervened and spoiled all brilliant beginnings.
Starting out from mechanistic conception, Thomas Hobbes, Claude Helvetius, Julien La Mettrie and other schematized nature to the limit and, consequently, human society. Man a Machine (L’homme machine) La Mettrie became the main idea and main symbol of the new epoch. People turned out no more than living particle of society. Likening a human community to a mechanism attained new development via ‘social Darwinism’ as early as the eighteenth century. Herbert Spencer’s ‘Man a Machine’ turned into a ‘biological cell’, a constituent of a gigantic ‘aggregate’—society.
Like insects, people of mechanical times live and commit monotonous mechanical movements for the benefit of a collective group for which they receive subsistence, material goods, and the opportunity to procreate. Any nonstandardized behaviour was dangerous and undesirable. Human-insect had value only while yielding benefit. ‘The government of persons is replaced by the administration of things and the direction of the processes of production.’ These words of Engels became concentrated expression of this idea.
The world of machines and particles has become the sinister reality of a new world. Machine labour gave rise to a new social type—people were like insects devoid of connection to each other and the world, and rigidly attached to a technological process. An ant’s labour cost no more than ant’s life. The diseased and the disabled were taken to ‘workhouses’—the last refuge for crushed and exhausted creatures. Women chucked children at the scrap heaps; men joined up as soldiers. Alcohol in pothouses and fuss-free sex in brothels were the only things left to the human biota dreaming of forgetting itself and snatching a drop of pleasure for fleeting, agonizing, and pointless existence.
God was dead or, if He ever existed, He was alien and infinitely remote.
However, a dim delusion of industrial slums turned out to be not the only underside of a grandiose scientific breakthrough. Stepping down from conveyor lines were not just the machines for creation, but also the ones for murder.
The wars of professional armies of the past were child’s play compared to the combats of hordes of highly developed insects that left their anthills and nests to conduct military operations.
Mass of peasants and students was turned into ‘Cannon fodder’. 20 million people — practically the whole young generation of men of warring nations—were swept over by a fire sword in four years.
Humans stopped being humans; the Reason on which they had put such hopes had betrayed them. And still, thought could not put up with a defeat. Reason absolutely had to find a saving formula and science offered to the 20th century two ways of verity acquisition. One rested upon the racial-biological theory; the other upon the social-economic theory. Today we are well aware of the consequences of both of them.
…Not temples, palaces or castles and cathedrals, but endless steles and monuments to the millions of the slaughtered, suffocated, shot, and burned alive became the landmarks of the epoch—the memorials to the victims of the Holocaust, victims of famine-genocide and those of communism and Stalinism. The memorials to the deported. The memorials to the Khmer Rouge Killing Fields near Phnom Penh. The memorials to Polish prisoners of war and decimated gypsies. The monument to the victims of regime in Addis Ababa. There are no memorials as yet in China and Korea, but they will certainly appear.
Within one century, the builders of the ‘new world’ managed to create the hell, having killed approximately two hundred million people.
Again and again we see basic principle of our world: any, most brilliant and humanistic idea, not supported by deep understanding of human nature, is doomed a-priori. Why? ‘Human spirit would always remain the same as it was … Nobody can find in human spirit more than what is in it already. To think it possible is the biggest of delusions; this means inability to examine oneself,’ wrote a French aristocrat of the 19th Joseph de Maistre, who despised progressives for their naive and unbridled idealism.
So let’s pass to our time, to our civilization known as “Liberal Democracy”. How did its founding fathers see democracy and what went wrong?
First. Liberal values
According to all thinkers of 19th and 20th centuries, Democracy should rest solely on the foundation of authentic values of the West itself. There are the Bible, Greek philosophy, Roman law, Christian ideal, Rationalism of 19th century and Italian humanism. The fundamental issues of ethics—ethics exclusively in the Western sense of the word—weren’t questioned by the classical liberals.
‘What can laws in politics do without morals?’ asked Benjamin Franklin, a staunch supporter of equality and social justice. Franklin emphasized that certain personalities were the ideal embodiments of morality, and these personalities were not Confucius, Buddha, Mohammed, or Vishnu, but Socrates and Jesus.
None of the disputants could even contemplate a serious discussion about the legitimacy of the acceptability of patriarchal “honor codes,” “no-go zones”, Sharia courts and appeals to religious war. For John Mill, people with crazy and immoral ideas, like expropriation of private property or slaughter of racially inferior peoples, would be excluded from discourse.
Modern culture of Postmodernism destroyed all those basic values supported Western culture. God was replaced by exhibitionism, as a form of gaining unlimited happiness. Relativism declared as irrelevant the concepts of “good” and “evil,” “morality” and “immorality,” “truth” and “lie”, “beauty” and “ugliness”.
In the situation where all pillars are broken, the very concept of “freedom” has lost its initial meaning and have been replaced by new and dubious imperatives, such as “human rights,” tolerance, or social justice.
Rights of what “human” and for what purpose? Should society respect the rights of a murderer, cruel sectarian, religious fanatic, rapist, pedophile? John Mill was categorical: no! Modern liberal democracy so categorically answers “yes.”
Human rights organizations have become rigid pseudo-religious structures with distinct economic interests.
In October 2009, the New York Times published an article written by Robert Bernstein, one of the founders of Human Rights Watch (HRW). According to him, HRW, the original mission of which was to advocate basic freedoms and support dissenters, are helping terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. Saudi Arabia, the stronghold of Islam in its most rigid, ossified and medieval form, became the main patron and sponsor of HRW now. In April 2009, the Middle East Division director, Sarah Leah Whitson, visited Libya and praised the regime of Gaddafi for its ‘spirit of reform’.
In February 2010 Gita Sahgal, a great-niece of Jawaharlal Nehru, was suspended by Amnesty as head of Gender Unit. Why? She dared to criticize Amnesty for its high-profile associations with Moazzam Begg – jihadist and an al-Qaeda member.
‘It looks very much as if Amnesty’s leadership is suffering from a kind of moral bankruptcy, and has lost the ability to distinguish right from wrong,’ Salman Rushdie stated.
‘The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not,’ wrote Thomas Jefferson. The fate of Detroit and California already confirmed his rightness, but modern democracies have chosen exactly this path.
Destructive nihilism, avant-garde and anti-rationalism in all spheres of human activity have transformed the West, according to Ulrich Beck’s accurate expression, into a society of “substantial emptiness.” Oriana Fallaci noted with bitterness that the Somali migrants urinating on masterpieces of Florentine masters were the symbol of the new time.
Second. Society of Equal Opportunities
Alexis de Tocqueville and other supporters of liberal democracy viewed the well-being of all citizens in a free society as the basis for actualization of their aspirations, but surely not as a springboard for pursuing animal passions and satiation.
Today this ideal is turned on its head. Consumption has become a self-sufficient purpose; acquisitiveness has turned into an obsession; pursuit of pleasure is a sign of modern times. “Glamour,” the new name of Moloch, seizing souls and bodies. People now are dying not for a metal, but for consumer goods: vulgar, cheap, and accessible to everyone. “Black Friday” has become a “black mark” on Western society: people are ready to buy a place in a queue for $200-500; to live and eat on the street to buy new version of iPhone.
The flip side of total consumerism is satiety and social obesity. Society becomes sluggish, lazy, and tired. The number of those who ask the government to be their benefactor, nurse, and therapist is going up.
Consumer psychosis is accompanied by vulgar hedonism, the cornerstone of modern society. Sex addiction as well as gambling addiction and shopoholism are corroding the psyches of millions.
According to Locke, the main purpose of education was to raise an honest, ethical, highly educated man with his own unique world outlook.
Today we see ignorant people completely disconnected from their culture. Nearly half of 18-24-year-old Britons (45%) don’t know that Nelson led the British to Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar; only a third of Germans know when the Berlin Wall came down and only the same number knew it was built in 1961; 83% of Americans polled failed a basic test on the American Revolution.
The aggressive ignorance destroys the moral and spiritual equilibrium of the average man. He feels like a stranger in the information jungle full of surreal, spellbinding, and frightening ghosts. He is alone in the world; with no foothold, no anchor, lodestar, or safety belt in the form of religious and moral values, he drifts, becoming an easy prey for totalitarian ideologies, sects, and banal frauds.
He doesn’t believe in God. But it’s necessary to believe in something, so he believes in witchcraft, astrology, belief in Lizard People, aliens and the Satanic Temple. Nearly four in 10 Britons believe in ghosts, 22% believe in astrology, and 15% believe in fortune telling or Tarot. In 1951, only 7% of people believed in such things.
Forth. The West has become hostage to neo-Marxist and pseudo-Marxist theories.
West turned out hostage of all implantation of Utopia, regardless of how it’s labeled: Globalism, Progressivism, Multiculturalism, Intersectionality, Political Identity, Cultural Diversity.
Political Identity divides people into racial-class categories with a rigid hierarchy exactly Marxists did. The term “Dead White European Males” (DWEM) is about classics of the European literature, philosophy, and Art. “Middle class turned out to be captured by “bourgeois-bohemian Bolshevism”, Pascal Bruckner wrote.
Progressivism turned into paranoia. Students from a prestigious London University demanded to eradicate Plato, Descartes and Immanuel Kant from the curriculum because they are white. Students from University of Pennsylvania replaced Shakespeare’s portrait with the portrait of Audre Lorde, “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet”. A French court ordered the removal of the cross from the statue of Pope Saint John Paul II in Ploërmel. The British High Court decided that the right of homosexuals to equality “should take precedence” over the right of Christians. Disney announced that the new “Little Mermaid” will be a black actress. In Spain, Little Red Riding Hood and other classic works are banned because of “hidden sexism.” In Sweden, Astrid Lindgren’s fairy tale about Pippi Longstocking was burned because of “racism.” In the USA, Columbus Day renamed Indigenous Peoples Day. Swedish Interior Minister Mikael Damberg said migrant robbers had peed on 18-year-old boy “because they feel hopelessness”. ITV Presenter Alastair Stewart, 67, was forced to step down because of quoting the ‘angry ape’ from Shakespeare’s ‘Measure for Measure’ – he was called a racist by the black Twitter user Martin Shapland. In Sweden and Germany, elderly residents were kicked out of their apartments to make room for Muslim migrants. Forbes encouraged women to travel to Pakistan alone. Diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, Greta Tunborg was turned into a modern prophet, and enlightened intellectuals were discussing the suggestion of a Swedish scientist to eat humans in order to combat climate change. West fells to his knees before the vandals and allows barbarians to destroy and desecrate the monuments of Columbus and Churchill.
The Western civilization has destroyed itself from the inside. Modern legislation recognizes Sharia courts and ‘closed zones’ with tribal law codes that have no common with Democratic values.
The founding fathers of liberal democracy thought that rationalism, combined with a developed educational system, improvement of living standards, and an advanced legal system, would become a guarantee of democratic development. Their hopes collapsed. During less than 200 years modern democracy made the way from triumph to suicide.
Thomas Jefferson, warned: ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty“. Civilized society had lost not only its vigilance but even the basic instinct of self-preservation.
Why? The reason was specified by John Stuart Mill with hopeless and tragic simplicity: ‘Because common human nature is so wretched’.
Liberal Democracy has shared the sad fate with all other political systems in History: cut off from its roots, having lost its own values, distorted beyond recognition, it became a creepy caricature of its own destiny and ideals, like Jewish ultraorthodox locked in their ghetto is a mockery of Law of Moses, Cathedral of St. Peter in Rome is a travesty on Christian humility, and Communist regimes are the mockery of ideas of the Enlightenment. History repeats itself.
The fate of our civilization is a clear answer to the initial question: What is the history of mankind? Does it make sense?
Human being is nothing more than an experimental mouse in the giant laboratory of the Creator. He will never change this world and will not be happy in it.
But understanding its laws and his nature, he gains Knowledge. This is the knowledge of ‘who we were, what we became; where we were, where into we have been thrown; where to we speed, where from we are redeemed; what birth is, and what rebirth.’ (Valentinus).
And, on the contrary, not understanding the laws of this world and our own nature, we doom ourselves to meaningless suffering. For no matter how perfect and lofty their goals may be, they will inevitably fall apart due to the very nature of man.
Author of books “Gnosticism through the Prism of the Third Millennium: Or between God and the Creator” and “Agony of Hercules or a Farewell to Democracy (Notes of a Stranger)”, Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.