Orwell’s 1984 Revisited: Postmodernity and the Demise of Self-Made Man

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13 Responses

  1. Mitch says:

    Simply Brilliant! What to do about the above, is all consuming.

  2. Robber Chih says:

    I like this article, as they go. Thanks.
    However I would like to comment ( my human arrogance so forgive me) – i don’t think this article is true to the Judeo – Christian philosophy despite all of its use of ‘spiritual’ and ‘transcendental’ ‘absolute principles’ language etc. Judeo – Christain thought has been so merged with Greek thought that although the language is there, the principles you state and base your logic on are Greek.

    When Plato talks of ‘the one’ this is an ideal – in essence a non living thing. for the philosophers it was the highest achievement of reason, the ultimate fixed point from which to make judgments. This wall of constraint – as Pariminedes proclaimed – and Aristotle after him that philosophy must cry halt at the gates of necessity. the principle of necessity became for the philosophers the ultimate principle as guided by rationality. This principle is of course natural and self evident and not biblical at all. in regards to Carroll’s pish, it may be easier to refute him by pointing out that his ‘idea’ of identity as flux is just that – an idea. This may be true of lived identity on certain levels of consciousness but as a time relative and intellectual ‘idea’ it is destructive to any individual and inexpressible and incompatible in his sceintific or Greek style. One might go with Aristotle and proclaim: One can say such things but not think them. of this Carroll is guilty.

    employing further Greek terminology, such as Logos to describe the cosmos and God even is further evidence of the abandonment of the philosophy of the prophets and a trust into the (pagan) ideal of necessity. of course its so common from the last 1900 years that we are just pointing it out. Science has been the way to know the ‘truth’ for all time, is this not our legacy from the forbidden tree of knowledge? the individual succeeds! yet not with his rationality but with his living God. As Kierkegaard pointed out, the individual exists only in relation to his God and God is not a principle, but the actualization of possibility over the finite world of self evidences and impossibilities worhsipped by the Greeks.

    you mention Winston’s defencelessness as an accusation. but what is he to say to any accusation? Christ also said nothing in his defence, maybe they would not or could not aknowledge any authoity. For to defend yourself you must know the Truth and demonstrte it to other people. (what am i doing? surely not this) all very Greek.

    From the beginning this reads very Gnostic and a bit occult: “He not only has the possibility of knowing the deeper, unseen, aspects of the world around him but, being endowed with the image of the Creator within himself, he also has the possibility to know the higher, intelligible realms, his higher noetic faculty opening in the upper part to the ultimate possibility of seeing God face to face as far as it is possible for a created being to see Him”

    knowing, knowing, knowing…but how can we help it? sounds like Catharsis but not Judeo – Christain.

    I like the article, a very good piece of work. Only i take issue with the Judeo – Christain philosophy being melded with the Greek. Which i think causes a lot of confusion when dealing with metaphysics. but confusion is the country of metaphysical discussions.

    • Malić says:

      However I would like to comment ( my human arrogance so forgive me) – i don’t think this article is true to the Judeo – Christian philosophy despite all of its use of ‘spiritual’ and ‘transcendental’ ‘absolute principles’ language etc. Judeo – Christain thought has been so merged with Greek thought that although the language is there, <the principles you state and base your logic on are Greek.

      Try this: “All men crave knowledge by nature. The sign of that is the love for what is perceived by senses and most of all sight because it displays the greatest range of differences”

      True or untrue? Is the author Greek or “Judeo-Christian”? I don’t really know what you think “Judeo-Christian” philosophy to be, but both early and Medieval fathers and doctors of the Church used Greek philosophy to a great extent. Trinity is, of course, not a Platonic emanation, but relation of cause and effect inherent to it is such that Platonic discovery of the nature of causation is the most natural way to put it in words. Why would this automatically mean closing of the space of the heart is beyond me. You can dream about Church of mystics contemplating Lux beata Trinitas and doesn’t need the development of doctrines and organization, but please note that this dream is not taking into account the clear messages of Gospel.

      When Plato talks of ‘the one’ this is an ideal – in essence a non living thing. for the philosophers it was the highest achievement of reason, the ultimate fixed point from which to make judgments. This wall of constraint – as Pariminedes proclaimed – and Aristotle after him that philosophy must cry halt at the gates of necessity. the principle of necessity became for the philosophers the ultimate principle as guided by rationality. This principle is of course natural and self evident and not biblical at all.

      Here’s one quote:

      ‘Καὶ εἰς ἕνα Κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν, τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ τὸν μονογενῆ, τὸν ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς γεννηθέντα πρὸ πάντων τῶν αἰώνων, φῶς ἐκ φωτός, Θεὸν ἀληθινὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ ἀληθινοῦ, γεννηθέντα οὐ ποιηθέντα, ὁμοούσιον τῷ Πατρί’

      Is this from the Bible? It’s as Greek as it gets on many levels. And Christian as it gets on all levels.

      In English it says: “And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds (æons), Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father.”

      And, regarding natural principles, is the Tradition of the Church against them? Or, since God made them, nothing natural can be against to what is of God, except by corruption?

      employing further Greek terminology, such as Logos to describe the cosmos and God even is further evidence of the abandonment of the philosophy of the prophets and a trust into the (pagan) ideal of necessity.

      Didn’t know Prophets had a philosophy, but never mind. I heard this argument before and, I’m sorry if you find it offensive, but it puts you straight on the way over the Reformist precipice for the reasons I’ll expound below. Btw. what you call “ideals” in Greek philosophy are realities, i.e. not something they imagined or intended but something they discovered. If they lead men so astray by their very nature, might we not say that Father made a mistake by creating them?

      Science has been the way to know the ‘truth’ for all time, is this not our legacy from the forbidden tree of knowledge? the individual succeeds! yet not with his rationality but with his living God. As Kierkegaard pointed out, the individual exists only in relation to his God and God is not a principle, but the actualization of possibility over the finite world of self evidences and impossibilities worhsipped by the Greeks.

      And this is the gist of it. You quote Kierkegaard but you could just as well quote Pascal – a Lutheran and a Jansenit both modern as they come, the later in fact firmly staggering down the road of technical rationality, while hating it at the same time and crying for the God of Isaac and Jacob his probability calculus perhaps just calculated out of existence. You might as well quote Heidegger in the light of the first sentence, because he pushed this idea to its chaotic conclusion. What “Greeks” – in fact the whole Ancient European-mediteran world – called science – was not the foundation of what we now call “scientism”.

      I find it quite ironic how someone, when he choses to go down the path of getting back to the roots of Christianity – which is btw. precisely “the Greek” way of thinking: back to origin, means back to the cause, imagined or real – ends up rejecting its Tradition. This is utterly in opposition of being in the Tradition, because it never leaves its origin and anyone adhering to it is staying within it by necessity (“the Greek” one?). I don’t say you’re doing this, I just noticed that Americans that convert to some form of Eastern Orthodoxy, passing from Protestantism they were born into through Catholicism, end up with this idea which is a pure essence of Reformation. What I find paradoxical is that such people are utterly intellectualizing the religion and basing their “conversions” on intellectual affinities and not on acceptance of influence higher than themselves, ending up criticizing (intellectually) intellectualism and advocating “back to the roots” of “Biblical philosophy”. This is “every man the Pope unto himself” and “Sola scriptura”, pure and simple – and that’s how they like it: “pure & simple”.

      To conclude, I would be careful with that “Judeo-Christian” thing. What does it mean? Why the ‘Christian’ is not enough? If I use the treasures of ancient world – as the Fathers of the Church did – to think and dialogue with others, am I becoming “Greco-Christian”? Well, if this is so, maybe I’ll become “Judeo-Christian” by getting myself that ole’ “gift of the tongues” or doin’ some “end-times prophecy”, as is customary in “back to the roots” hyper-modern sects whose roots lay precisely in the direction you’re pointing to.

      Don’t take this too much to heart, but you should think about what you’re saying. Its normal at some points in life to feel that way, but urges to “go back to the roots”, “purify” and so on are as a rule dangerous and misleading.

  3. Mihai says:

    Robber Chih,

    Though you are partially right, I sense that you are missing the point of the article. This was mainly a logical exposition- the following the logical thread from premise to conclusion, not a theological article. It is like a syllogism, if you want. A syllogism is either true or false, it has nothing to do with one or another language. For me personally, the whole thing does indeed sound very wordy and dry and believe me it was no fun writing it- as I told Branko, there is no energy when writing about things “which are not”, like the ideas analysed here.

    You are right that I use mainly an abstract, impersonal language when talking about God, but that is because I wanted to keep this simple, since the focus of the article is not theology, but a world which rejects any notion of Divinity, not just Christianity. I realized the danger of using a completely impersonal language hence I wrote “we would say God, but let’s call it, for the sake of the argument, “a transcendent principle of unity”.

    On the other hand your basic accusation that I use Greek language or philosophy sounds very protestant to me. The Fathers of the Church have constantly used philosophy and philosophical concepts in their exposition of the Faith, without altering the fundamental Christian essence. “Logos” for example is another name of Christ, as the Second Person of the Trinity.

    “seeing God face to face” is the final goal of Orthodox Christianity and such is not understood as through being done through a natural faculty found in man, but through the uncreated grace of God. This is why I used the word “opening”- we have the possibility to desire and to receive Grace, but not to produce it through individual effort. But confusion is inevitable when trying to express such lofty ideas in just a few words.

    I concede however that my language may sometimes sound very gnostic, even occult, because I unfortunately come from that background. There are definitely some unconscious survivals from that period. But one of the problems in our day, especially on the internet, is people focusing too much on language and too little on the idea expressed by it.

    Anyway, it is a possibility that I will soon write a piece which will be mainly theological, so we can talk some more there.
    But thanks for the criticism, it is always helpful.

  4. Vatroslav says:

    Great article! I hope that Branko will again write articles long like this one, these kind of articles remind me of “old” KaliTribune. Text is a far better way of communicating than vlogs or podcasts.
    I agree on the thought that postmodernity is a totalitarian empirical and rationalist view of man and the universe.
    But my problem is where is tradition? Where is tradition in a sense that it always changes. The Church changed to its ortodox and protestant links, making new traditions. I presume that for you, and for Branko, there is only one tradition, that of the catholic church.
    My next line will maybe sound banal, but banal things are often microcosmos of the macrocosmo, the tradition of christianity was born 2000 years ago, what will you say about prechristian tradition. How can Jesus be the savior if he did not live when millions of peole were living before him. When god put Jesus on this planet ( I am aware of the vulgar and banal notion of this sentence but I do not have enough time to make it better and deeper, do not think that I am mocking you), that means that god change his plan. God changed tradition. How can that be? What about of thousand years of paganism , what would you, as christians, say about them?
    I know that I am being rational about religion, but fuck it, I was born in this time, so were you, but I do not fully understand your concept of tradition.
    You say that modernity began with Nietzsche, but what about Heraclitus? As a way of think modernity existed probably since the beggining of time.
    The “Party” from the book 1984. could easily be Jobbik from Hungary. I would not put all the blame on secular left. Lets not forget that we are living in a day when people like Trump and Putin are attacking people around the world. You can not see any radical left having any power, libtards and lgbt freaks are not the representatives of the left.
    Thanx again for this great article!

    • Mihai says:

      Vatroslav,

      I’m Eastern Orthodox and I believe in the Orthodox Church is the fullness of Christianity preserved- I won’t say anything more because Branko will kick me out along with my articles 🙂

      But regardless you ask very far-reaching question that certainly cannot be answered in a few lines.
      I will just say a few things:
      1. Christ is referred to in the Scripture as “the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world”. This is a verse that is very deep and difficult to address. Suffice it to say that the world is run by divine providence but that human freedom should also be taken into account- God does not change the essence of His plan but he let’s human liberty decide the way (an maybe the when) this plan is manifested in history.
      2. We must also take into account the fall of man into corruption and the darkening of his spiritual sense to the point where he confuses the lie for the truth.
      3. As a result of the fall each people/ race preserved parts of the initial revelation. Some parts were mingled with falsehood, others were adapted to serve the particular mentality of a people. Some parts of the truth were lost, some were re-discovered in a different form. But in Christ is not only the fullness of the truth, but also the union between God and man realized. His mission was not only “pedagogical”- like the imparting of a teaching- but also and especially ontological- by assuming humanity in Himself he realized the union between God and man. By the way, what I said about other religions is not a dogma, opinions on this topic vary.

      I didn’t say that modernity began with Nietzsche (maybe post-modernity), but you are right that the many ills we experience today have their origin well, precisely in the fall I mentioned. Today we see many of them come to full fruition. In other ages, though, man still retained at least some basic common-sense notion of good, evil, true false etc. so the evil aspect had a counter-balance.

      You are also right about the left/right distinction being a false dichotomy and that the same problems can be encountered on both sides. I referred to political correctness or “gender theory” merely because they were very handy examples. Branko even argues in some of his podcasts that “political correctness” is a meta-political theory that transcends left and right. That’s probably correct.

      Anyway, as a conclusion: my intention with this article was merely to take a very popular book and point out some of the more ignored aspects and even some implicit aspects that are not at all readily apparent at a superficial look.

      • Vatroslav says:

        Thank you for answering. It all falls on belief. I thought that you will answer me in that way. For me it is sad that we can not discuss these topics without overcoming the belief principle because they do not feed my hunger for knowledge. I am more of an atheist than a believer. But I will keep reading your articles. Cheers!

    • Malić says:

      The long articles on old KT were due every two-three weeks. Now its the same, only we have a weekly video or podcast to keep the engines running and provide variety. Article on Dugin’s “Foundations” is in the works and it will be long, don’t you worry about that. Afterwards, as I announced, we’ll see about doing some real work in philosophy text/audio or text/video combination. The best way to say something about current affairs is to do the podcast or video, because most of those things we’ll be forgotten after some time. Long winded essays both Mihai and I are prone to writing take a lot of time and effort, especially if they are a textual analysis – I’ve read cca 1500 pages of Dugin’s dribble, some of it multiple times – and you just can’t do something like that on weekly basis. However, a serious media/journal is obliged to produce content on at least weekly basis. Hence my sexy voice filling the ears of global public so often these days.

  5. coco chanel says:

    In line with thoughts on origins of religions and the relation to “Tradition”, which for me, similar like for Vatroslav is still bit puzzling, if we take as an example used quote:
    ..“1. Christ is referred to in the Scripture as “the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world”.
    Well, if that one seems mysterious and somewhat “occult”, I don´t see how to avoid recognizing the fact that most of the Scripture (or Bible) is such.
    What we see in old scriptures, not just biblical but from Egyptian, Hindu or any other tradition (Tradition?) is basically this quality of occultism, or at least obscurity which is very hard to reconcile with any sort of rational view that we are intellectually accustomed in our times, and that we, at least partially, recognize in Greek philosophy.
    Taking that into account it becomes quite possible to adopt a view where transcendent knowledge or any knowledge about transcendence, human being, gods etc. is primarily from our standpoint “occult” or “esoteric”, while what we see as folk-religion is merely a reflection in the outer circles of the society of something which was held only for the initiated.
    However, what is peculiar with views of authors here, please note I am not criticizing, only note this peculiarity , the picture is the opposite – folk religion is considered as more authentic than what might be concealed as esoteric or coming from initiated inner circles, mystery centers or lodges.
    Of course, this is just roughly pointing to nexus of this question, however, hopping it will be possible to understand “traditionalist” standpoint in due course.

    • Mihai says:

      “Well, if that one seems mysterious and somewhat “occult”, I don´t see how to avoid recognizing the fact that most of the Scripture (or Bible) is such.”

      Occult is a wrong word, given the meaning of this term in our contemporary context. Mysterious and hidden is correct, if these terms are understood correctly, as something which is not revealed and “not revealable” to our normal everyday faculties.

      “What we see in old scriptures, not just biblical but from Egyptian, Hindu or any other tradition (Tradition?) is basically this quality of occultism, or at least obscurity which is very hard to reconcile with any sort of rational view that we are intellectually accustomed in our times, and that we, at least partially, recognize in Greek philosophy.”

      Greek philosophy- especially platonism- is also filled with lots of mysterious or “esoteric” teachings, like you said. The idea that Plato- for is a mere rationalist comes from the same “protestant” type of blindness which also reduces the Christian Gospels to a mere rationalism and even less than that.

      “However, what is peculiar with views of authors here, please note I am not criticizing, only note this peculiarity , the picture is the opposite – folk religion is considered as more authentic […]”

      I don’t think that either me or Branko made such a point. Our criticism goes against some forms of false or inverted spirituality- like that which is found in occultism, new-age, theosophy or openly satanic groups- that like to call themselves some higher type of initiates…maybe some are initiates, but higher certainly not..

      While that dividing line between “folk religion” and “inner knowledge” is valid in case of ancient mystery schools and some religions- such as that of Hinduism, for example- in Christianity this dividing line does not pass between people, but through them. How someone understands and lives one and the same teaching depends on his inner life.
      With God’s help, we’ll address some of these questions in a future post.

    • Vatroslav says:

      “However, what is peculiar with views of authors here, please note I am not criticizing, only note this peculiarity , the picture is the opposite – folk religion is considered as more authentic than what might be concealed as esoteric or coming from initiated inner circles, mystery centers or lodges.”
      Yes indeed, the authors are christians, but they are heretic christians.

  6. Elias Alexander Queen says:

    This is a wonderful article and probably the most profound argument against basic ‘logical’ materialism. I am sure people have been making it forever to which other people must have responded “that’s ridiculous, it could never happen”.

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