24 June 2009

A totally lost point of view

It is amazing how completely the modern ideology has wiped out the worldview that was present approximately at the peak of the British Empire, which was the worldview of the books which I read in my grandfather’s library.

It is perhaps no accident that Christianity arose at about the peak of the Roman Empire. Clearly there was a good deal in both situations that would favour centralised psychology, moral relativism and existential awareness.

In both cases you have an upper class with territories consisting of landed estates and servants or slaves, putting its push into sending out armies; thus very militaristic and hierarchical. War makes people very aware of reality as threatening, and the awareness that one’s own life is always at risk may lead to existential perceptions. (As Nietzsche said, ‘Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius ... Live at war with your peers and yourselves.’)

One encounters other civilisations, other cultures, and becomes aware that many social structures, many different power structures, many variants of religious belief are possible. There may be suggestions that some cults or priesthoods have some knowledge of, or access to, psychic forces.

So perhaps you get a kind of open-minded existential agnosticism, like that of Rider Haggard or like my own; and ideas associated with centralised psychology are not far away in the traditions of an aristocratic and militaristic ruling class.

Now the outlook is entirely different. There are all sorts of ideas about ‘social justice’, and an antagonism to centralisation and existential awareness. It is as if everyone has entered into a social contract. The state will protect its citizens from the most obvious threats so that they will never have to think about reality, and in return they surrender their liberty. They will actually have no rights at all; society will own them, and their children, body and soul, and will tell them what they should want and need. If any individual says that he wants or needs something else, he will be told that he does not really want or need it.