The Need For Faith, Myths, and Religion
An article out of the Academy of Ideas made some points I’ve mentioned in past articles in a very concise manner. They also include some useful quotations for further research in certain key anacyclosis texts.
It is worthwhile to share this information as a reminder:
The Age of Affluence gives way to the Age of Intellect, and the civilization continues its decline. [Kaisar note: This is referencing Sir John Glubb’s theory of the cycle which includes the Ages.]
Few would deny the immense benefits that intellectual pursuits bestow on the individual and society at large, however, as with most things in life, there can be too much of a good thing. And one of the characteristics of the Age of Intellect is that an excessively one-sided rationalistic approach to life saturates the civilization. To paraphrase Nietzsche, in the Age of Intellect rationality is turned into a tyrant and reason is viewed as the only means of discovering the truth. As a result, the symbolic, moral, and often irrational truths embedded in myth and religion are discarded, and the civilization loses the pillars upon which it was built. Nietzsche, for example, implicated the extreme rationality exemplified by Plato and Socrates as a “symptom of degeneration, a tool of the Greek dissolution.” (Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols), and as he continued:
“Without myth…every culture loses its healthy creative natural power.” (Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy)
Or as the historians Will and Ariel Durant wrote:
“Even the skeptical historian develops a humble respect for religion, since he sees it functioning, and seemingly indispensable, in every land and age…The soul of a civilization is its religion, and it dies with its faith.” (Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History)
Along with the decline of religion and myth, the Age of Intellect is also characterized by the rise of highly rational and critical intellectuals, who thrive in dissecting and tearing down the dominant systems of beliefs and values. Referring to Rome’s Age of Intellect, the historian Edward Gibbon wrote:
“A crowd of critics, of compilers, of commentators, darkened the face of learning, and the decline of genius was soon followed by the corruption of taste.” (Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire)
As these critical theories spread, traditional moral codes give way to moral relativism, and the faith that life has meaning is replaced by existential nihilism. A majority of the people come to believe that there is no such thing as objective truth, that nothing is inherently moral or valuable, and that there is no meaning to the historical process, nor to life. And as William Ophuls writes:
“…thanks to the demolition job performed by the intellectuals, the society is increasingly “value free”—that is, it no longer believes in much of anything or takes anything seriously. The original élan, the moral core, and the guiding ideal of the civilization are now a distant memory.” (William Ophuls, Immoderate Greatness)
Following this intellectual demolition job, the Age of Decadence – the terminal stage in a civilization’s lifespan – sets in. Without an overarching guiding ideal or moral core, there exists widespread disorientation, confusion, and moral decay. The masses live empty and meaningless lives from which they seek relief by drowning themselves in base pleasures, developing addictions, and by adopting escapism as a way of life. People grow increasingly incapable of distinguishing between true and false, good and bad, right and wrong, and so they often choose what is life-denying and harmful. Beauty and genius are renounced in favor of banality, ugliness and vulgarity. Virtues are seen as vices, and vices virtues. The process of individuation and pursuit of greatness is abandoned in favor of an apathetic conformity. And as a result, mental illness becomes the norm.
They include a video which can be found here:
It is essential that we understand this process (the cycle of collapse). If we don’t, then no matter what solution we develop or victories we achieve, we will face the exact same cyclical process that will end with collapse. A right-wing dissident government cannot hope to sustain because they are under modernity. We can’t keep trying the same things and expect it to behave differently. It won’t. We need new systems that are immune to this degeneration.
For more on this subject, I recommend starting with my compilation article on the historical texts surrounding anacyclosis. You can find that here: Compilation: Historical Texts On Anacyclosis. I dive into the subject much more in-depth, but the Academy of Ideas provides an excellent overview in the above article. Give them a watch/read.
Read Next: The Natural Order Of The Soul
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