Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Immanentize the Eschaton

Immanentize the Eschaton according to Wikipedia is to implement a policy to bring about "Heaven on Earth", fulfill that utopian desire. It's used by Eric Voegelin to deride both Christian, Nazi, and Communist efforts to bring about a world conforming to each group's idealized vision. He believes that the Christian ideal is a theoretical fallacy.

I am not sure how I feel about this. I mean the man does not have a concept of human evolution. Humanity and society have changed in 2,000 years. We are less brutish and gentler and possibly more meek than people were 2,000 years ago. We still kill, maim, rape and commit various unconscious acts, but by and large people are civilized. Of course, there can be no such thing as a utopia, but ideals are to be aspired or lived up to -- a goal to aim for. There had to be an appealing ideal for Nazism and Communism thrive as they did for a time. If they failed, it was due to human nature, greed, and all the other outgrowths of egos. Nazism would have thrived if Hitler and his people hadn't been so full of hate and such ardent believers in eugenics that they exterminated those they considered unfit or killed because of their wealth. But I suppose you can't separate the eugenics from Nazism. They are both intertwined. The average Russian was better off with Communism. Communism's main failure was the lack of incentive for people to improve their lot in life. The state was too controlling and too inefficient at apportioning resources. The graft and corruption didn't help matters. Voegelin seems to be silent about Capitalism, but my question is, if Capitalism is such a perfect economic system, why have we been seeing the Fed and government bail out hedge funds and corporations that make poor business and financial decisions the last 10-15 years? Surely capitalism must evolve to align with the ideal of Capitalism, or is that a delusion as well? The bailouts would seem to say that Capitalism is as deluded as any other economic theory if the Rich can be rescued from their greedy mistakes. After all, the common folk are not when they lose a large sum to greed.

But is Christianity wrong for saying that eventually, the human world will be a Heaven on Earth? Buddhism makes similar predictions about all things becoming enlightened. Of course, Christianity and Buddhism may be pointing to a change of perspective, a different way of seeing the world, a change in human psychology. As I pointed out above, he is looking at things as though humanity can't change when the evidence points to the contrary. Oh, we are still extremely stupid, or at least ignorant. If we are not careful we will destroy so much biodiversity and ecologies as to undermine the planetary ecology. Predators suffer the most when the food web collapses and we are the ultimate predator. We will suffer the most if we destroy the natural balance we are perched on. But our one redeeming feature is that we can predict various futures and mitigate their effects to an extent. We know how societies collapse and the reasons why, or at least, we are discovering the reasons why past societies died.

I suppose at the end of the day, one shouldn't compare politics and religion, or confuse the goals of the two. Ultimately, the Spiritual is trying to find a place for Mankind in this vast Universe and a purpose for existing. (Possibly the same can be said for Science.) The purpose of Politics should be for the common good, but more often, more cynical reasons emerge due to ego, the empowerment and enrichment of the self at the expense of the body politic. I haven't seen any politician immune to the enticements of office thus far, and the ones who do seem selfless don't make it past the Senate or House into The White House, be he or she Republican or Democrat. McCain will likely not make it as John Anderson didn't, or George McGovern. All things change. How will America immanentize its eschaton?

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"Humanity and society have changed in 2,000 years. We are less brutish and gentler and possibly more meek than people were 2,000 years ago."

You say this as though it were obvious. It's not obvious to me, so I'm curious: What makes you think this?
 
Because it's no longer politically correct to kill every man, woman, child, and animal in every city we have conquered because they aren't our people or tribe. If we had been Romans, there would be towns in Iraq that would be flattened and made lifeless to make them examples for the rest of the populous. Gengis Khan and the Mongols went through Iraq and depopulated it so badly that the population didn't recover until a century ago. Have we committed acts of genocide as bad as that?

Another indicator is that we no longer believe in slavery. Interracial marriages are becoming more common. Women are not treated as property, but are essentially equal. Maybe not throughout the world, but in the developed world, these things are coming to pass. It's only a matter of time before these ideas spread assuming prosperity flows to the Third World.
 
You're right about the taboos against genocide and slavery. I hadn't thought of that.

The equal rights for women thing, though -- don't get me started. :-) I had always thought feminism was an overreaction, until I got married and had kids. Inequality is here, it's real, and it was a shock. Things are better, but they're still not good. Thus sayeth the oppressed. :-)
 
You get to vote and you can get a divorce. Jesus pointed out that Jewish men could divorce their wives whenever they wished leaving their wives high and dry. I never said that the world was perfect, only that things have changed. Clearly men have to rein in their egos because there are women who are our betters at some things, and women do do a lot of the work with little recognition of their efforts, but it's up to women not to suffer in silence.
 
Between a person (or a group) and 'whatever is really outthere', there is an illusion that we each or our group, constructs, that structure is a mind structure and is the illusion, but it is also more, it is the field in which we act, and there is where we do our dirty work and our good deeds. It is in this space that our 'matter' is actually found. And our bodies are structures we form hard, out of that 'matter', and that is what we kill and make sick with itself.

All these organized entities spoken of as trying to achieve utopia, they work only within that field, and try to dominate that field and each other in there. That is futile, there is no hope in that, that is illusion too, like the field that is our ego.

The real utopia is to get or step out of that field, mentally, spiritually is what that is, discovering that field and removing oneself from it and its in-house realities that are made of and from it and are only about it.

Divorcing from this field is difficult because the structure that we are captive in is it. And even going back to the good old days is staying in that field.

These discussions are always about the activities within that field and so, stay 'grounded' in it and find no solutions for there is where the curved space is for real, and the reincarnation thing exist.

Thinking out of it, is the way out of staying in it. That is what Spirit is about, and spirit that stays and works in it, not on it, is angelic spirit, not human spirit, Human Spirit is something that can only be had outside of that field. There is a bit of overlap for some people, they live and work in that field, but feel themselves outside of it, feel their souls as their Humanity.
 
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