By Alex Blum
Last year at this time, my enemy was scientific materialism. In between then and now, I thought it was existentialism. Now, I know it to be relativism – the postmodern nightmare. What comes next must transcend all of these, as well as religion, which is but myth and dust. However, whatever transcends it must be religious. It must hold a place for the transcendence of the human being, a foundation for morality and dignity that shall not be trespassed.
Existentialism is in fact the best friend of all philosophies, most of all Christianity. The ultimate sense of purposeless is a profound power when coupled with the will to act on any thought that is worth acting upon. The freedom is infinite and painful to bear, but beautiful, and that is ultimately what existentialism is – the pain and the beauty of the will, fulfilled and unfulfilled in the waking world. The recession into dream is an easy out, but it can never be taken. The dream takes many forms, and the dreamer is trapped within them, unable to wake from that which is easier than the life imbued with the knowledge of purposelessness. That life, which moves through despair and the ultimate state of the pathetic in which the self yearns for all things and cries out for the stillborn womb, is profoundly beautiful because it recognizes that which no one can escape from. Existentialism is a burden, not unlike that of the cross, to live and to act in the world knowing that action is ultimately all that we have. If we live as if we are relativists, putting nothing forth and content to languish in ambiguity, then that is what is true. If we stand behind what matters to us and strive to bring it into the world, then that is its own truth. The synthesis of all truths becomes Truth, and the world itself is a testament to the combined wills of all humanity. If your truth is not a part of it, then the absolute Truth can never exist, as it requires all perspectives to see things as they truly are.
Existentialism is the savior of the incomplete worldview. It is the humbling, the humility that the myth requires. We can stand on our myths, our truths, our individual lives, only in acknowledging the ultimate abyss of the world without ultimate purpose. In that we find strength, just as in crucifixion the Christ finds true transcendence. It is clear now that existentialist-Christianity is my myth, my truth, that is not True but that I must live as if it were. It is the wager that must be fulfilled, the risk that must be undertaken in the world where all things come to pass and in the end the only thing that sticks is what you choose to make stick.
To the ancient Greeks, an atheist was not someone who disbelieved in God, but rather someone who acted as if there was no God. Someone who demonstrated the inhumanity of humankind, and thus severed our relation to the divine. It is this model of action, not of belief, that we should turn to when thinking of God. Actions that abide by empathetic thought and moral courage affirm the human destiny and the divine, while sociopathic and coercive behavior affirm the Godless world of material interests and desires.
The interests of a civilization, a Leviathan, a false God, like the interests of the mafia, ignore individual human life. To Yahweh, to the United States and to Tony Soprano, interests come before human lives. Someone’s an informant? A threat to the family? You whack them, no matter who they are. If someone’s a threat to this country, you wipe them out and 10,000 of their best friends. The loss of human life does not matter to a false God of power – He only cares that He is worshiped. All due respect to the boss. Disrespect the boss? Threaten the family? You die. These are the principles of the world, either stand opposed to them and die or embrace them and fight. The world of force is created when interests are held above the lives of individuals, when might truly makes right and we have no recourse when we are wronged other than to gain more power.
As long as the world is motivated by such power, the beast feeding itself at the cost of others, then we will not be humans. We will truly be animals, as the politician is, as the institutional church is, as all centers of power are – centers of beasthood that we have allowed to trample over our human souls. The human is profoundly linked to the moral, as we are the animal that can recognize our own yearning for power and stifle it, and give ourselves up to the world and instead accept absolute self-sacrifice for the sake of the other. If an animal does this, then it is human. We are all animals with the spiritual power to use our thought for the sake of becoming human.
The heights of humanity, which are linked to the moral sphere, are our burden and our promise to fulfill. The human is that which seeks these heights, that which yearns for them, and desires that which is above animality. To exude the Above, to embody it through art and through moral action, to understand theological light and divine love as the fulfillment of humanity rather than anything else, is to undertake an existential burden. The animal, the beast, is defined as the creature driven by fear and anxiety and yearning for power. A human can be an animal. We yearn for power because it is the only recourse the beast has in a world run by force and where force shatters skulls. But what lies beyond it? Above power, above ‘interests’ and in the pure empyrean sphere of moral courage and genuine creation, even at the risk of death or destruction of the self? That is the knight of faith, given over completely to God, where God is each individual’s ideal of the Above incarnate in the world. To be a knight of such faith is a cause worthy of risking life itself. After all, action is our only recourse against the assertion of relativism.
We are unfulfilled because we are what we are, and it is simultaneously enough and not nearly enough. Becoming human is a rejection of more than neoliberalism, more than racism, more than sexism, more than colonialism – the seat of seething fear and power that drives the heart of animality and the animal world we live in. This world, when transcended by becoming filled with knights of faith, will stand as the physical proof of humanity’s transcendence over animality. The world that we create will be the evidence that we are indeed the inheritors of God’s light and God’s grace, the beings who are spoken of by Hermes Trismegistus in the Emerald Tablet – the prodigious sons and daughters of a reckoning that we must bring into the world by our own will. We have thought, and no one else will think for us. We can defer this burden no longer.
Lastly, this philosophy of action is deeply rooted in the mystical notion of the Akashic Record. It is the idea that transcendent of space and time, there is a record of all thoughts, all actions, all events, all things that have ever occurred in the material world and all things that will occur. We must live as if there is such a record, in complete honesty and fidelity to our thoughts and the synthesis of thought and action. As one, they are the golden chord that transcends history that stands as proof of human transcendence. The mediation of two worlds into one, the healing of the human disconnect from the world, the reunion of God and humankind.