Opposing the materialistic, reductionist, individualist viewpoint, is a conception that is holistic and whole, which spreads as a feeling from the centre of the being, encountering the experienced material universe and enveloping and relating to it in an motion which can only be described as love. It can't be measured, or really judged; it sounds foolish and frail and contingent. But as it's experienced (and its experience arrives in billions of forms any second to all living beings - when not actively prevented, because systemically occluded) - it's undeniably the greater truth.
When we say opposing, it is as if we are pitting rival ideologies against each other; and this leads to the conclusion that for one to win, they must engage each other in a fight. But this isn't the case. The spiritual conception, which knows and respects no names, which is available to all, which could be found for example in the firmest atheist, and not at all in the most professed religious person, flees like dew from grass from the project of fighting or asserting material ascendancy. The latter project can only belong to its substantive opposite.
We can see the tragedy in the current situation; people professing to be Christian fight in the cause of Mammon, utterly contradicting the teachings of Christ. People professing Enlightenment values of tolerance and liberty institute the polar opposite following illegal conquests.
The responses of their victims to these aggressions wouldn't need to be religious, but because in many cases the victims are religious, naturally their responses are expressed in religious terms, which adds (from the point of view of imperialist domestic audiences) fuel to the fire of a 'clash of civilisations' thesis.
Thus we have the lunacy of hell becoming true on earth; of American soldiers calling their Iraqi victims 'hajis', a blessed and sacred epithet signifying someone who has experienced heaven on earth, in the form of the pilgrimage to Mecca. Of reading news reports of Palestinians killed by capitalist invasion, with the given names of prophets and peace.
The materialism embodied in capitalism, which has gained objective existence in our social processes and subjective ascendancy in the hearts and minds of those who lead and travel in our social vehicles (e.g. imperialist nation states), brings everyone with it; it constitutes an objective evil, which threatens us all not just materially but spiritually too. This might ultimately be the greater tragedy - that all of us people, encountering the objective material situation in the world (in all the different ways - needing to make a living; experiencing and witnessing the terrible and mortal effects of capitalism which arrives precisely coterminously with the ways we have to make our living), find our faith precluded from existing and being developed, have our faith coopted into vehicles which bear the same names but none of the content; find our faith and our holistic conception, which must always and non-negotiably value human life above matter, and always and non-negotiably knows all human life to be of equal value, offended and occluded and evaporated in myriad ways every moment. Not just human bodies are wrecked and tortured by capitalism and imperialism; human minds are lost in mental illnesses and despair and depression; and souls burdened with the "sins" borne of the illusions of particularity and reductionism, of the continual profitable hiding of holistic realities, of the system.
That the truth of life - an unending opportunity to experience and express grace and serendipity and beneficence, in the form of creativity and cooperation and experience - is equally unendingly, continually, simultaneously precluded from ever occurring, by the objective existence of the system.
So it might be that in liberal societies, tragically, for all the sometimes emancipatory potential and intent of liberal ideas, that spiritual values are excluded, to the profit of materialism. This because the innate and throughout-patterned opposition of spiritual life and matter is not understood; or understanding deliberately removed; the opposition continually misassigned (as an inheritance of the scientific enlightenment; or rather, of the deliberate intent of capitalist ideological production). So that capitalism can spread like a parasite on a host which is no longer fighting it, to exclude that which is of life within the body - viciously attacking it anew for all it presents opposition to it.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
An Objective Evil