Reading John Gray’s Black Mass is I believe a way of tapping into the root mass of the western civilization. From the knee we in the west have been fed the mythos of many different versions of Christian salvation and the language has been interred in our bones in each and every way. What we take for granted as truth and fact to a large degree can be freely distorted and reframed with the lens of western religion and now anything somehow seems acceptable almost in any version.
It all was done so very subtly over millennia that we take these ideas of eschatology, teleology, apocalyptic thinking and millennialism for granted even while we on their face deny them and embrace science and The Enlightenment. : The next contradiction. This is our schizophrenia.
What is wrong with thinking that life has a purpose? We all know that the new and improved I Phone is going to be released next week. Better schools, better transportation are a fact of life and it shall go on forever. I watch Star Trek!
Sadly, thinking like this keeps us on our historic treadmill. We are being perpetually setup up for the next rationalization from Augustine’s Interchange, to the Reformation and Enlightenment and on into secular politics. The desire for human salvation continues, as the economic system remains exploitive both of the people and the earth. The latest chapter is of Robes Pierre boosting violent revolutionary human transformation and national salvation outside of religion. That happened about 220 years ago and many people and things are still trying to figure out if that will work, among them Napoleon, Marx, Bakunin, Lenin, Hitler and Stalin come the magic market, Wolfowitz, Bush, Goldman-Sacs and Cheney. All of this is going on while the planet heats up which is new.
“The myth of the end has caused untold human suffering and is now as dangerous as it has ever been. In becoming (secularized as) a site for projects of world transformation political life (politics) became a battleground. The secular religions of the last two centuries, which imagined the cycle of anarchy and tyranny could be ended, succeeded in only making it more violent.” What we have though now is the inability to grasp the present be it a cycle like the last ice age or a trajectory of postmillennial progress. Religion accounts for much of this reticence “While humans are unlikely to become extinct, the world in which they evolved is vanishing” due to climate change. Their ability to alter their projected trajectory is a great uncertainty.