Fragment 193, word count: 1,093.
Tags: culture war, property, spirit, time, metaphysics, violence, sovereignty, creativity, self-possession, values, ideology, power.
There has been a cultural uprising raging in the Euro-American social system from the time of the European Enlightenment (seventeenth and eighteenth centuries) and even well before that, with, on one side, a culture with property possession as its prime value and, on the other, cultures emphasizing the primacy of spirit at the level of the embodied individual, often with an intellectual focus. This opposition is the deep foundation of the political division between right-wing and left-wing. Right-wing political conservatism is the champion of property possession as primary value and is anti-intellectual because intellectual achievement has threatened the cultural primacy of property possession. The political left and the political right are not equivalent in the culture war because forces of the right have exercised their dominance for millennia with extreme violence and they mean to keep it that way. The political left has not yet managed to be clearly specific about its prime value, but a good characterization would be something like: spiritual self-possession. History includes many examples of artists and ‘thinkers’ who overtly value personal creativity more than possessions. The real prospect of universal literacy was the fundamental dignity conceived by the Enlightenment, developed out of Wycliffe’s project of having everybody capable of reading the Bible in vernacular translations.
Trophy Property is Core Conservative Value
Property possession as a means of self-definition and personal evaluation is ideologically foundational for political conservatism, and property possession is meaningless without institutional readiness for violence to protect it. Possession of property is inherently precarious, vulnerable to the point of being socially destabilizing. Private property owners are terrified their stuff is going to be revealed to public scrutiny, damaged, destroyed, or stolen. Property can be taken by force or trickery, and so requires a vast system of protection involving personal weapons, organized readiness for violence, an ‘us against them’ conceptual system, elaborate legal/ police systems, and overemphasis on authority and forceful sovereignty. Property owners assert the authority, through police and army, courts, prisons, and the hangman, to protect their possessions. The “haves” project their obsession with property onto everyone else and are terrified of losing their stuff to the underclass. The more property a person has, the more psychological coddling they need to feel secure, and the more pressure they can afford to apply to public officials to provide it. That becomes extreme as social inequality increases. Owners of property always want the most powerful protection possible against any risk of loss, which means they depend on as much as can be arranged of the power that comes from the barrel of a gun, the machinery of armed violence in the form of the “right hand” of sovereign government: police, military forces, spies, assassins, and a sovereign who represents property owners, as sovereigns always do. Law and order is so prized by conservatives because it is the only way to protect the security of property possession. Such sovereignty also implies the whole dystopian apparatus of class macro-parasitism, and a general culture of mass subordination to patriarchal power. From that stream of cultural tradition comes the demand for everyone to conform to a strict set of beliefs, behaviours, gender and persona types. Cultish hive-minds of patriotism are a social construct for the protection and enlargement of the value and privileges of property possession. Conservatism is based in an essentialist and violence-ready fear and outrage at the arrogance of anyone meddling with the traditional hierarchy of wealth and privilege.
The reason for a culturally obligatory reliance on socially constructed outward representations of personal identity with trophies (possessions, status, career path, social network, costumes, titles) is that there is no comfort with the conception of personal interiority in the culturally dominant system. Right-wing personal interiority is meant to be dominated by a frightening superego representing sovereign authority.
The Primacy of Spiritual Self-Awareness
Spiritual self-possession involves, as a matter of metaphysical knowledge, self-recognition as spirit. Spirit is the personalizing principle of world organization, a questioning push directing a gaze at the world in aid of acts which are effective personal expressions of a caring, knowing, and supposing intentional agent, continuously creating a specifically relevant suppositional world that is opening in time. Spirituality is the sense of time passing in this embodied life, featuring fear of the future. Time is the active existence of creativity. Creativity is impossible without a reality which is profoundly incomplete, with time into which to suppose possibilities, probabilities, and impossibilities. Without a supposition of the absolute vacuum of futurity then creativity is impossible. Without creativity there is no time. Meaningless Being exists without time, with only a warp of instability, its instant of momentum, falling. The awareness of time is not a perception, not passively receiving the imprint of a stimulus. Sensing the passing of time involves active suppositions and abstractions to fashion a framework of bearing into the empty opening of a future, searches expressing curiosity as well as desperation, and questions that reconstruct a framework of directional orientation. There is an interior suppositional sense of active positioning relative to the shape of exterior surroundings, updated continually in detail by perceptions of features: ground and sky and passages of accessibility with dramatic portent. The dramas of personal agency integrate learned expectations with a poise for interventions that actualize previously conceived and presupposed acts, new reality in the opening of time. Any gaze of consciousness is a gaze at nature from a particularly embodied drama, and also a creative act in the drama, a move forward that matters personally, integrating personal purposes and questions, suppositions (knowledge), and an arc of interventions.
The spiritual value orientation conceives the individual as a gusher of inventive creativity, a fountain from which good things flow. On this view, power is not something that originates from the barrel of a gun, nor is it created by institutional customs and habits of stratification, authority, and subordination. Power originates in the creative freedom of individual spirituality. In this understanding the embodied individual, as a fountain of creativity and freedom, is inherently greater than the cultured conceptions of any hive-mind. Emphasis on this spirituality creates a situation in which the best case is as much originality and sharing as possible, and the best political system is one which enables and enhances that power at the individual level. Tapping into the personally interior gusher of spirituality (intelligence) and bringing spontaneous creations into the world from personal interiority is the way to fulfillment for both individuals and human collectives.
Fragment 99, November 2, 2016, What is Patriarchy? (word count: 3,700)
Fragment 172, January 7, 2021, Dissent by Metaphysics (word count: 680)
Copyright © 2022 Sandy MacDonald.