Sunday, December 07, 2008

Decline of the West chapter sixteen, part one.

Decline of the West
Oswald Spengler

English excerpts along with commentary [in brackets]describing Chereidi Judaism's parallels to greater Western Culture and the Decline thereof.

Chapter 16, part one.
Problems of the Arabian Culture
Pythagoras, Mohammed, Cromwell

Religion may be described as the Waking-Being of a living creature in the moments when it overcomes, masters, denies and even destroys Being. Worldly life and the pulse of its drive dwindles as the eyes gaze into an extended, tense, and light-filled world, and Time yields to Space.

"Liberation" is a fundamental word in every religion and an eternal wish of every waking-being. In this general, almost pre-religious sense, it means the desire for freedom from the anxieties and anguishes of waking-consciousness, from the tensions of fear-born thought, from the consciousness of the Ego's loneliness in the universe, the rigid conditionedness of nature, and the prospect of old age and death.

Higher than all these [other worldly forms of stupefaction and ecstacy] stands the genuinely religious overcoming of fear by means of the understanding itself. The tension between microcosm and macrocosm becomes something that we can love, something in which we can wholly immerse ourselves. We call this faith, and it is the beginning of all man's intellectual life.

Our thinking proceeds always by single stages. It remains a belief. It is indeed Faith itself, for it is the basis of religious understanding of the world. Science, on the contrary, is a mode of understanding which fundamentally abhors distinctions of rank amongst causes - what it finds is not dispensation, but law.

The understanding of causes sets free. Belief in the linkages discovered compels the world-fear to retreat.

The belief in a knowledge that needs no postulates is merely a mark of the immense naivete of rationalist periods. A theory of natural science is nothing but a historically older dogma in another shape. But discoveries of another sort, findings of insight, "Truths" in the optimistic sense, cannot be the outcome of purely scientific understanding, since this always presupposes an existing view upon which its critical, dissecting activity can operate.

[In other words, when Chereidi Judaism attempts to measure, quantify, regulate and control every aspect of religion, they have actually negated religion and passed into the realm of science - insert action x and result b appears. That sort of mechanical and mathematical practice is not "Religion," it is "science" and is about as motivating and uplifting as studying gravity and entropy - which is to say, not at all.]

The aim of faith and science, fear and curiosity, is not to experience life, but to know the world-as-nature. Of the world-as-history they are the express negation. Only the Timeless is true. Truths lie beyond history and life, and vice versa life is something beyond all causes, effects and truths.

Knowledge is only a late form of belief. We can distinguish men, not according to what their modes of thinking are - religious or critical - nor according to the objects of their thought, but according to whether they are thinkers (no matter about what) or doers.

[There is a vast difference, in other words, between experiencing faith as a real-time first-person action and merely intellectualizing it in the abstract as a formula to be followed. A person's faith and experience with both God and His commandments is, in truth, absolutely subjective and must be tailored to fit each individual and their circumstances - hence the multifaceted and wide-ranging nature of halacha. However, attempting to reduce halacha to an objective experience - that is, one that must conform to a pre-determined set of narrow interpretations - squeezes the life out of it. It no longer fits you - it's made to fit somebody else and you are being forced to wear it. It's not your relationship with God, it's what somebody else thinks your relationship with God should be - therefore it's not authentic religion when everyone is being stuffed into an identical mold. Ultimately, your relationship with God is an individual and subjective experience - it cannot be one size fits all.]

In the realm of doing the waking-consciousness takes charge only when it becomes technique. Religious knowledge, too, is power - man is not only ascertaining causations but handling them.

From this starting-point we can understand (what the European-American world of today has well-nigh forgotten) the ultimate meaning of religious ethics, MORAL.

[Because Chereidi Judaism is so closely aligned with Western Culture, it has become immoral as well. Every aspect of right-wing Chereidi teaching and belief, that other human beings are animals with animal souls, right on up to the idea that Chereidi Jews shouldn't have to obey civic laws, land use and zoning laws, and business and labour laws in the country where they reside, all these things are based on immoral (and untrue) presumptions. That fact that God chose to have a covenant relation with one group of people does not make them more than human, nor does it make any other people less than human. Here the false teaching about immortal souls plays an important part. That bit of Babylonian and Greek paganism has been misused and abused by Chereidi theology to make themselves into some sort of extre-human super beings, when the reality of E=MC(2) proves that people don't "have" a soul - or an extra soul - they simply "are" a soul - a nephesh, a breath.
Jews are no more or less human than any other human beings. It is the arrogance and power-mongering of Western will-to-power which has made them think otherwise. Original Judaism of the Bronze Age had no such claims, and welcomed anyone and everyone who would simply obey the Written Torah.]

It is, wherever true and strong, a relation that has the full import of ritual act and practice. It is (to use Loyola's "exercitium spirituale," performed before the Deity. "What shall I do to be saved?" This "What?" is the key to the understanding of all real moral. There is only causal moral - that is, ethical technique - on the background of a convinced metaphysic.

Moral is a conscious and planned causality of conduct, apart from all particulars of actual life and character, something eternal and universally valid, not only without time but hostile to time and for that very reason "true."

["Eternally and universally valid" means a real moral applies to all persons everywhere - not one set of rules when dealing with other Chereidi Jews and a different set when dealing with everybody else in the world. All this has accomplished is to ensure that morality is practiced by the Chereidi towards no one at all - they gleefully scam and cheat and fleece each other now just as much as they to the "other," because in reality, your morality IS how you treat the "other." It's no stretch at all that your treatment of your own soon follows how you treat the "other." A morality that is only "part-time" is no morality at all.]

The highest sacrifice than intellectual man can offer is to make a personal present of it to the powers of nature [that is, to the world at large]. Every moral action is a piece of this sacrifice, and an ethical life-course is an unbroken chain of such sacrifices. Above all, the offering of sympathy, compassion, in which the inwardly strong gives up his superiority to the powerless.

[And a condescending "kiruv" toward "lesser beings" hardly counts.]

Compassion likewise demands inward greatness of soul [being], and so it is those self same springtimes [of a culture] that produce the most saintly servants of whom renunciation was a pervading fragrance, to whom self-offering was bliss, whose caritas was ethereal, bloodless, timeless, historyless, in whom fear of the universe had dissolved itself into pure, flawless love, a summit of causal moral of which Late periods [of the culture] are no longer capable.

[And clearly Chereidi Judaism is at or near no longer being capable of true morality, as their disdain for the "other" is palpable.]

But, however highly developed the microcosmic side of an individual's life may be, it is nevertheless something stretched like a membrane over the developing life, perfused by the pulsing blood, every betraying the hidden drive of cosmic directedness. "Race" dominates and forms all apprehension. It is the destiny of each moment of awareness to be a cast of Time's net over Space. Not that "eternal truths" do not exist - every man possesses them, plenty of them, to the extent that he exists and exercises the understanding faculty in a world of thoughts. But in reality it is just one surge of life that is lifting his waking self and its world together. Its unity remains integral, but as a unit, a whole, a fact, it has history. Absolute and relative are to one another as transverse and longitudinal sections of a succession of generations, the latter ignoring Space, and the former Time.

[What Spengler is reminding the reader is that while there are "absolute truths," each Culture views these truths through the lens of their own history and development - each Culture puts its own "spin" on them. Thus the Chereidi can say with a straight face that their version of history and halacha is "truth," because to them it is. That it fails to be "truth" to others with equally valid (and in many cases, far more objective) interpretations of history and halacha does not at all mean the others are "wrong." Indeed, when objective historical, medical, scientific and archaeological fact is used as the measure of "Truth" of an interpretation, the Chereidi are the least truthful. The fact that they do not value this measure of "truth" is strictly a result of the ghettos in which the Chereidi Western sub-culture was born. In that cradle, only "their" information is valid information - regardless of objective factuality. It has nothing to do with God and His commandments and everything to do with their own need for power and control.]

As soon as we follow their course in the stream of history, and watch them move on as elements in the world-picture of the generations that live and die, [we observe changes that have occurred over time]. A morphology of religious history, therefore, is a task that the Faustian spirit alone could ever formulate, and one that it is only now, at this present stage of development, fit to deal with. The problem is enunciated, and we must dare the effort of getting completely away from our own convictions and seeing before us everything indifferently as equally alien. And even then is it possible, in a single language, which structurally and spiritually carries the whole metaphysical content of its own Culture, to capture transmissible ideas of the truths of other-tongued men?

[Even when trying to study the past development of Judaism objectively, we are all, both the Chereidi and the "other," affected by our current cultural biases and beliefs, and it takes a great deal of effort (and perhaps cannot be done at all) to objectively understand the past events and how they influenced the development of the Culture in question. Our biases, if you recall, are programmed into our very language and thought patterns - it is extremely difficult to see them clearly.]

The High Cultures are separated by deep soil ties. The great religion of every springtime is bound by all the roots of its being to the land over which its world-image has risen. Sacral practices and dogmas may be carried far and wide, but their inner evolution stays spellbound in the place of their birth. Whatever disconnects itself from the land becomes rigid and hard.

Every Culture actualizes here [in its religion] its prime symbol. Each has its own sort of love, which remains to every other Culture inaccessible or unmeaning. The deep urge of the soul is governed always by the prime symbol of the particular Culture and no other.

[Civilization, of course, being an urban and later phenomenon.] The beliefs of the peasant outside remain "eternal" and always the same. Over the primitive religion of the country-side there is another popular religion, that of the small people in the underground of towns and in the provinces. The higher a Culture rises - the narrower becomes the circle of those who possess the final truths of their time as reality and not as mere name and sound. In religion as otherwise the human pyramid rises with increasing sharpness, till at the end of the Culture it is complete, therafter, bit by bit, to crumble.

[In the case of the Chereidi, their rarified little circle of "real" Jews has such great disdain for the majority, the "am ha'aretz," who possess the simple and real eternal truths, identifies the Chereidi as being at the very tip of the pyramid - indicating the Culture has gone as far as it can go now and has no path left but crumbling to pieces. And in fact, the current drive for each Rav and Shul to impose their chosen stringencies-du-jour divides the Chereidi and creates larger and larger crevasses between each shul or community - until finally no bridge will be possible. Chereidi Judaism is cracking into pieces, crumbling into mini-fiefdoms and uber-cults even as we speak. No reconciliation is possible for these groups, each claiming to have THE TRUTH and harboring disgust and hatred for their fellow co-religionists of other shuls, communities, and sects. ]

A mighty upheaval there must have been at the beginning of this Culture, as at that of others. Great personalities there must have been to give a mystical-metaphysical form to the new world-outlook. That is the second difficulty. The great early religions, too, were the possession of a class, and neither accessible to or understandable by the generality.

[In other words, the things that developed in these rarified environments of ghettos, which in turn migrated to the current mini-fiefdoms and insular-communities, never did represent the majority. They never did have the broad acceptance of all Jews. They never did represent all Israel, and never could have. They are their own little world, cut off from their people. That they have come back as conquers is not surprising, since they were born in an Imperialist culture. However, might does not make "right," nor does it make "moral."]

With the religious duties and notions of the cities [that is, the urban movers-and-shakers], which were eminently rational - the Classical Myth has no connection at all. The myth, moreover, originated in this and that group, quite local, under pressure of deep inward stirrings.

[The original 12 tribes, in other words, each with their own locality and tradition of interpretation, was equally valid and only later usurped by the children of the exiled, the new generation of urbanites who returned and imposed their alien-bred interpretations upon them.]

When this is taken into consideration, the Classical religion is seen to be a whole possessing an inner unity...a world-picture before the inner eye, and born of the common inward awakening of a group of chosen souls...but the much later city-religions are wholly technique, formal worship, and as such represent only one side (and a different side) of piety.

[That is to say, there was nothing invalid about the broad, multi-faceted base of Judaism as practiced prior to the imposition of Babylonian, Greek, Roman and European influences. What is currently being imposed on people by Chereidi Judaism is not "better," not the only "truth," not "min har Sinai" - it's only different, more urban, more technical and more mathematical. And these mechanical and inorganic things are only valued by the Chereidi because they were born and raised in an alien culture that values them - Western Culture.]

Today we no longer know what a myth is, for it is no mere aesthetically pleasing imagination, but a living actuality that shakes the innermost structure of being. These creatures were about one all the time. They were glimpsed without being seen. They were believed in with a faith that felt the very thought of proof as a desecration. What we call myth nowadays, our litterateur's and connoisseur's taste for Gothic colour, is nothing but Alexandrianism. It is easy enough for us today to think ourselves out of such notions.

The Renaissance had ever the strong faith of the Gothic at the back of its world-outlook. The Classical myth was entertainment-material, an allegorical play, through the thin veil of which men saw, no less definitely than before, the old Gothic actuality. It was the tremendous background of this myth that awakened in the Faustian soul a feeling of what it was. Never had the problem of free-will been meditated upon more deeply or more painfully.

Other Cultures have simply not know it. But precisely because here Magian resignation was totally impossible - because that which thought was not an "it" or a particle of an all-soul, but an individual, fighting Ego seeking to assert itself - every limitation upon freedom felt as a chain that had to be dragged along through life, and life in turn was felt as a living death. And if so - why? For what?

The result of this introspection was that immense sense of guilt which runs through these centuries like one long desperate lament. For Magian man the world-cavern had been close and the heaven impending, but for Gothic man heaven was infinitely far. And out of these longings there grew up an unending dogged subtilizing on notions which were ever more and more finely dissected to get at the "why,' and finally a universal cry for Grace - not the Magian Grace coming down as substance, but the Faustian Grace that unbinds the Will.

To be able to will freely is, at the very bottom, the one gift that the Faustian soul asks of Heaven. The "church" Militant on earth is the visible community of those who are enabled, by enjoyment of the sacraments, to will. This certainty of free being is held to be guaranteed in the altar-sacrament, which accordingly suffers a complete change of meaning.

But more important still - and by far - was the essentially Faustian prime sacrament of Contrition. The effect of the Magian immersion was to incorporate a man into the great consensus - the one great "it" of the divine spirit took up its abode in him as in the others, and thereafter resignation to all that should happen became his duty. But in the Faustian contrition the idea of personality was implicit.

Contrition is something that each one accomplishes for himself alone. He alone can search his own conscience. He alone stands rueful in the presence of the Infinite. He alone can and must in confession understand and put into words his own past. And even the absolution that frees his Ego for new responsible action is personal to himself. Immersion is wholly impersonal - one receives it because one is "a" man, not become one is "this" man - but the idea of contrition presupposes that the value of every act depends uniquely upon the man who does it.

Faustian responsibility [read: power] instead of Magian resignedness, the individual instead of the consensus, relief from, instead of submissiveness under, burdens - that is the difference between the most active and the most passive of all sacraments, and at the back of it again lies the difference between the world-cavern and infinity-dynamics. Immersion is something done upon one. Contrition is something done by oneself within oneself. Every confession is an autobiography. This peculiar liberation of the will is to us so necessary that the refusal of absolution drives to despair, even to destruction.

[Now, Chereidi Judaism has adopted the Western/Faustian model (and rejected their original Hebrew/Near Eastern Magian model) in various ways, sometimes as subtle caricatures of the original. There is now no more "consensus" except that imposed by the minority on the majority. There is now no submissiveness to either God (since they now have given themselves the authority to rule on every thing and ignore Heaven), nor to any civic or government authorities (when it does not suit them), nor to any sort of universal morality concerning treatment of people under any circumstances. In contrast, they accept private "contrition" from abusers and molesters, scammers and fraudsters, regardless of any "consensus" that such contrition alone is inadequate for our community's need for security and integrity, and so on and so forth. The "despair" and "destruction" potentially experienced by a person who wishes to insist upon personal contrition instead of community consensus has been taken into consideration by the Ravs at such an unwholesome and improperly high level over the needs of the community that one can seriously say that the consensus means nothing to them at all - only the need to "protect" individual cronies has any value for them (after all, there but by the Grace of God are they themselves, no doubt). Justice has been perverted into silence, because the needs of the high-ranking individuals now outweighs the needs of the community, regardless of consensus. It's all very, very Western - the Hebraic "So shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee" now only being applied to fellow Jews who won't submit to the stringencies-du-jour instead of those who are supposedly ultra-orthodox yet engaged in true acts of evil.]

When in this heaviest of decisions the soul is left to its own resources, something unresolved remains hanging over it like a perpetual cloud. It may be said, therefore, that perhaps no institution in any religion has brought so much happiness into the world as this. The whole inwardness and heavenly love of the Gothic rests upon the certainty of full absolution through the power invested in the priest [at the Temple.] In this insecurity that ensued from the decline of this sacrament, both the Gothic joy of life and the world of light faded out. Only the Devil's world, with its grim immediacy, remained. And then, in place of the blissfulness irrecoverably lost, came the protestant, and especially Puritan, heriosm, which could fight on, even hopeless, in a lost position.

[For Jews, insert Reform in place of protestant and Chereidi in place of Puritan. Neither would be possible if the Temple still stood, which is why the Chereidi are in no real hurry to get it back. The last thing they want is a functional hereditary priesthood with direct access to God and the authority to override them - most of whom are not legitimate cohanim.]

"Every man is his own priest" is a conviction to which men could win through, but only as to that part of the priesthood that involves duties, not as to that which possesses powers. No man confesses himself with the inward certainty of absolution. As as the need of the soul to be relieved of its past and to be redirected remained urgent as ever, all the higher forms of communication were transmuted. Outlook on the world was lost in ceaseless mine-warfare within the self. In lieu of the infinite, contemporaries and descendants were call into be priests and judges. It was, also, the sign that this Culture was already in the condition of a Late period.

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