The prevailing archetype in the West for the past century has been “God against God”. The contradictions will not hold, and a new myth is needed. What Jung saw in Christianity was its potential for the concept of God to evolve. In the Book of Job, God is played against Himself. Christianity, following Judaism, proposes a “metamorphosis in the divine”, and also a terminal paradox – the serpent, the source of evil, offers humankind “increased conscious knowledge”. The paradox of Christianity is thus – the object of religious thinking is to become more conscious of the divine, but the principle of increasing consciousness is attributed to the devil.
Our human agency has been hijacked. This is the narrative coming out of both the singularity-adjacent techno horror of accelerationism and the classic revolutionary left – our human agency has been left to the revolving machine of capital, which has become too powerful for us to influence. In this respect, the singularity has already happened. Machines with their own agency already walk among us. They are banks, stocks, interest rates, and the mechanics of a voodoo economy based on debt, consuming the Earth for the higher purpose of transforming all the world into the mirror image of money’s unknown face.
Human beings are an alchemical mixture of masculine and feminine. Some err on the extreme ends of these polarities, many fall somewhere between. Queer and transgender people have found gender to be an infinite paradox – the deeper you investigate, the deeper it goes.
First off, yes, I am writing this on the internet. But many a thousand anti-capitalists have written books and marketed and sold them to purchase rent space within capitalism, so we’re all a bit stuck here, aren’t we? The spiritually destructive and caustic nature of the internet is no more unprovable or idiotic than assuming that the influence of the internet is intrinsically positive. Both are simply assumptions.
The tree of life, in its evolutionary extension across time and space, can be described on its most fundamental level as an algorithm. This is the ultimate crisis of faith: that the natural world, and thus ourselves, can be described, at the most reductive level, mathematically. What need do we have for God, after all, if evolution is an algorithm? If natural selection could, on a powerful enough computer (the universe), retrace every single mutation of species that has occurred in this pocket of cosmic dust, our blue planet, can’t we dispense with everything that is not numerical?
When we seek the honest perspective, the eyes which see the other as self and the self as other, we can no longer function in this world. Now that we see power for what it is, and how it blinds our conscience, we cannot be content with it. And yet this entire world is made in the image of power. It is power, from the rapist on the street to the thugs who compose our corporate state, which leads us to our ruin. And yet, all organisms need power in order to survive. Power is at once our only hope, and our final reckoning. It is in this paradox that we find the cross, a symbol most absurd and most beautiful, perhaps the one true legacy of our aborted Christian heritage. The cross recognizes the paradox of power, and it seeks to transcend it. How? By surrendering all power, and dying. By being crushed. But in the insanity of the cross, the absurdity of the resurrection, the message of this symbol becomes clear: the dead shall live, and the powerless shall transcend all.
The fluidity of gender is a positive development, an attempt to create ‘one’ where previously there were two. In Catholic symbolism, the presence of ‘two’ is always a fundamental problem. Reflected by a devil’s twin horns, where two concepts exist, they necessarily go to war. Nature and technology, for example, and men and women, are binary oppositions currently forced into spiritual war.
But the only good outcome of that war is a synthesis. Man-woman together, as one entity. Nature-technology together, as the same fundamental force. That is the aspiration I move toward, as I must write, despite the seeming decay of the written word, I have known no other future for myself. Perhaps it would have been easier a century ago, and that is the source of many of my biases – perhaps I resent the spoken word of YouTube and the micro-literature of Twitter, and yearn for the classic age of the novel, simple, uniform. But reality cannot be denied – the world is moving into infinite forms, before it can ever possibly lay claim to ‘one’.
(The original interview can be found here)
Jordan Peterson recommends the Christian dictum from Matthew 3:16 – “Be as wise as serpents, and as innocent as doves.” That passage is the summation of Peterson’s recurring idea that true virtue is possessed only by those with the capacity to destroy others, but who out of their depth of character alone, opt not to. Critics of Peterson must face one reality: if even one angry young man has been convinced to not undertake violent and impulsive action due to the life-affirming theme of his lectures, then Peterson’s influence on the net good of the world has been undeniably more positive than the life’s work of a million well-intentioned spirits who neglected the demons rising in their own communities.
Specific place, personhood, culture and individual context are all being savagely assaulted by the omnipresence of the internet and the fracturing of Western societies into total anticulture, places where there is no commonality between people. This must be said, until it is understood: we are all phantoms, everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
Far from being a darling of the alt-right or secretly promoting fiendish racist ideology, the largest contradiction in Jordan B. Peterson’s sprawling intellectual enterprise is simply the notion that capitalist classical liberalism is the only game we can successfully play on Earth, even as it contradicts the depths of Christian symbols.