Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Reflections: Kant vs. Christ

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I have long recognized that a person looking for the first existentialist has to go back at least as far as Jesus Christ. Despite the fact that a Christian (albeit a disgruntled one), Søren Kierkegaard, is often cited in that role, many people wrongly assume that existentialism implies atheism. This is nonsense.

Any person who reads the Gospels with an open mind will readily discover that the focus of Christ’s teachings was always on the individual as the responsible moral agent. The idea that Christ came to establish a new mode of herd mentality is a travesty established subsequent to his ministry by hierarchical corporate entities primarily concerned with their own growth and survival, rather than with the souls of their members.

A true disciple of Christ would be an existential hero—an artist, a revolutionary, or a saint—not the obedient, compliant pawn of a self-serving authority structure. Establishment of a multiplicity of rigidly enforced statutes, leading to psychological disorientation and spiritual chaos, is among the most essential projects of the Enemy. The manifold is the lie; simplicity is Truth itself.

Consider the following excerpt from The Bridge to Nothingness by Shlomo Giora Shoham, and ask yourself if his description of existentialist morality is not in line with Christ’s imperative to love your neighbor as you love yourself.  When contrasted with Kant’s categorical imperative--the basis of most modern systems of normative morality--we can see, perhaps, the primary source of the cognitive dissonance that grips the collective psyche of political conservatives who mistakenly believe themselves to be “Christians,” while marching in lockstep to a demonic cadence:

Kant’s categorical imperative entails a judgment and a duty. It is natural, objective, and not experiential; it has nothing to do with social relationships and is hence absolute.

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Kant’s morality has a life of its own, unrelated to nature, emotions, and suffering of those who are supposed to be subject to it. The categorical imperative has an I-it relationship with the people under its yoke. It is authoritarian and oppressive, a Wilhelmean Prussian schoolroom. Kant’s moral duty is uniform; individual peculiarities should be disregarded. In extremo, Kant’s categorical imperative considers all individuals to be Orwellian zombies, devoid of peculiarities, singularities, and specifics. Per contra, existentialist morality rejects impersonal pluralities. Masses are important only to the demiurgos. For the existentialist, the individual is everything. An existentialist moral act is not only always a posteriori, but relates to the experience of the other, as perceived by the other, within his specific personal context. Existentialist morality is based on—suffering with the other on his own turf and according to his terms. Suffering as an experiential dynamic is necessarily disregarded by Kantean, a priori morality. For the existentialist, the suffering of the other is the basis, criterion, and vehicle for the moral act. …A person who closes himself to the suffering of the other is existentially immoral, and one who is unable to empathize with the predicament of the other is an existential psychopath.  [pp.278-279]

It is clear that what Shoham characterizes as “the demiurge” – i.e. the amoral, chaotic natural forces wielding ultimate power on the plane of material existence – are in full control of any person who “goes along to get along” in this world. In order to have an authentic life, one must either fearlessly separate from the mass, in pursuit of one’s own creativity, or one must shed every last vestige of self in order to merge back into the One out of which one came into existence.

Groupthink is death by demonic orchestration.
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