Monthly Archives: September 2014

Good Mo(u)rning?

In a concession to the tearable punster in me, I offer you the following recommended greeting for those going through the text-message phase:  Are “u” in morning?

It’s so much better than “What’s good about it?”  (though not better than Gandalf’s disquistion on the goodness of mornings!)

And it might put some of us in mind of a bit of ancient wisdom with a divine stamp of approval:

It is better to go to the house of mourning
    than to go to the house of feasting;
for this is the end of all men,
    and the living will lay it to heart.

(source: Ecclesiastes 7:2-8 RSVCE)

Despite which, I do love feasting.  Fortunately, in its proper season, so does God!

The Problem of Nihilism in Public Discourse: A Case Study (Part 4)

(continued from Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3)

Let the reader be prudent before going on. I am going to simply comment on a few passages from Bakunin that help us to see the nature of the trap, here; then I hope to move on to a few conclusions.

Jehovah, […] expressly forbade them from touching the fruit of the tree of knowledge. He wished, therefore, that man, destitute of all understanding of himself, should remain an eternal beast, ever on all-fours before the eternal God, his creator and his master. But here steps in Satan, the eternal rebel, the first freethinker and the emancipator of worlds. He makes man ashamed of his bestial ignorance and obedience; he emancipates him, stamps upon his brow the seal of liberty and humanity, in urging him to disobey and eat of the fruit of knowledge.

[…] God admitted that Satan was right; he recognized that the devil did not deceive Adam and Eve in promising them knowledge and liberty as a reward for the act of disobedience which he bad induced them to commit

(source: God and the State – Chapter I)

I cite this–the full passage is nauseating in its wrathful calumny–only to note two things. The first is the direct misrepresentation at the base of this retelling of the story: the “tree of knowledge” is not a tree of access to information, but precisely a marker of moral freedom. The misrepresentation is literal, in that “tree of knowledge of good and evil” becomes “tree of knowledge” in Bakunin’s revision.

The other–and this is crucial to grasp–is that Bakunin’s reading is not alien to the text, not a modern and secular questioning of a traditional text.  No, Bakunin is asserting that one position was always already embedded in the text, and that he and all right-thinking people have at last realized the correct perspective within the text.  That is to say, Bakunin has adopted Satan’s logic before he even introduces the name of Satan, just as the Hebrew Scriptures have always already known that God was present and active in the world, before proceeding to name Him and tell of His deeds.

Compare Bakunin’s language above with Satan’s language in the Hebrew Scriptures:  “God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  The text presents this as a lie constructed of apparently true words, as God says, “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.”  Bakunin assumes from the first the Satanic construction of this passage, that God has attempted to deprive Adam and Eve of some “knowledge” by forbidding them to eat the fruit.

It is important to realize this, because the interpenetration of secular nihilism, religious Satanism, anarchism, and other explicit philosophies of negation is easy to miss behind the camouflage Continue reading »