A user's guide to my essay series
Where the hell does this amazing insight and explanation of current reality leave us Paul?
I believe in God and Christ given as the sacrificial lamb for human sin. Something after death is there in the lap of the lord, so fear of death is reduced.
As for all else in this world currently?
All bets are off
"And do not conform to this age, but change yourselves through the renewal of your mind, so that you can distinguish what is the will of God, what is good and pleasant and perfect." ( Holy Apostle Paul)
Happy name day!
¡Feliz Santo! Many thanks for you essays and this summary. I really appreciate your work and listen to anything you are doing on podcasts or Youtube. You are one of a large handful (and thank God it is a large handful) of people who are making sense on the interweb of doom.
Absolutely agree with this: "The ultimate project of modernity, I have come believe, is to replace nature with technology, and to rebuild the world in purely human shape, the better to fulfill the most ancient human dream: to become gods. What I call the Machine is the nexus of power, wealth, ideology and technology that has emerged to make this happen."
The one thing that gives me a glimmer of hope is that this grand project requires a whole lot of energy - something that is (probably) going to become increasingly scarce.
We don't have the raw materials needed for a wholesale transition to renewables, and fossil fuels will (eventually) peak. Without the abundant-energy fuel, a significant proportion of the modernist machine project comes crashing down.
This is why I see the drive towards nuclear fusion as very dangerous. If they manage to pull that off limitless energy will be at their disposal - with seemingly limitless possibilities for modernist, technological, machine growth - that is until nature and God call time on Babel.
Of course, that being said, even in the absence of abundant energy, the machine urge will still exist and find other forms of being and growing.
As a believer in Jesus Christ and a retired minister who spent the majority of his career as a leadership consultant, coach, and thought leader serving both churches and secular organizations, I see a historical demarcation line as the post-Resurrection of Christ time of the formation of the Christian movement. It is not so much a shift, but a intrusion into the interiority of Western thought, values, and culture by an exteriority of perception that was radically new. It is exhibited in Augustine’s City of God, as well as the difference between the church visible and invisible, or how it is often described today as the difference between that which is spiritual and its counterpart the institutional church. As human beings, I don’t think we can escape placing the interiority of human existence at the center of all existence. We do it in the church by focusing so heavily on the conversion experience, rather than the joining with the community of Christ followers who serve God as they serve the needs of the world. To see that God exists requires an acceptance of a center to existence that doesn’t depend upon my rational understanding of it, but rather a recognition of a reality beyond my rational apprehension of it. If I may suggest that you look to two 20th century Reform church theologians, Swiss Karl Barth and Scotland’s Thomas F. Torrance, who address this interior/exterior, religion/science divide in their work. I believe you will find an alternative to the Enlightenment infused cultures of the modern day Christian left and right. Your conversion suggests or possibly confirms what I see as an emerging openness to address questions of existence and reality beyond the limitations of human interiority perception. I find those conversations more possible today than any time in decades.
Thank you for the valuable outline and blessings on your names day. Here's a sonnet to honor the occasion and the Saint whose name you share. Maybe you even share a little more than his name?
An enemy whom God has made a friend,
A righteous man discounting righteousness,
Last to believe and first for God to send,
He found the fountain in the wilderness.
Thrown to the ground and raised at the same moment,
A prisoner who set his captors free,
A naked man with love his only garment,
A blinded man who helped the world to see,
A Jew who had been perfect in the law,
Blesses the flesh of every other race
And helps them see what the apostles saw;
The glory of the lord in Jesus’ face.
Strong in his weakness, joyful in his pains,
And bound by love, he freed us from our chains.
- Malcolm Guite
Happy name day! Really appreciate your writings and also your recent video at Unherd
"The final essay in part two of my series, You Are Harvest, "
I think you meant "part one of my..." Go ahead and delete this comment after you read it.
In paragraph two, under the heading The Story, you write: "The ultimate project of modernity, I have come believe, is to replace nature with technology, and to rebuild the world in purely human shape, the better to fulfill the most ancient human dream: to become gods." I understand why you would say this, but it rather seems to me that modernism, "the sum of all heresies" in the words of Pope Pius X in his encyclical Pascendi Dominica Gregis, is not so much the substitution of technology for nature as it is the substitution of man, state, and "nature" for God. Technology is man's work, the golden calf; the state has become the collective, the solvent of the dignity of single person alone before God (e.g. one hides one's face for the good of one's neighbor); and nature, the third person of the new trinity, is simultaneously denied (sodomy is marriage) and deified. Nature is the ultimate solvent. It is whatever the authorities say it is. So, man worships himself in his action (technique), in his organization (where he is effectively erased), and in nature which both exists (we won't call it creation for that implies a creator) as all there is, and yet is infinitely plastic and cannot be said to be anything certain and beyond change. This is modernism, the new unholy trinity of man, state, and nature.
Can’t wait to read that book!
I have an uneasy feeling the Raindance may become another Ghost Dance.
At times I wonder too about someone like Mark Fisher, who was ultimately unable to "despair not". What I wonder about is the question of if it demonstrates more integrity to leave this Machine madhouse—to decline completely to accept its commands and dominion, as Fisher did—or to stay and suffer/witness its seemingly endless edicts, horrors, and degradations behind contempt and a fig leaf of faith.
I'm grateful the 'Tale of the Machine' is becoming a book, but here in the wake of it all, it seems somehow unsatisfactory to consider walking away to be the solution. I confess to wanting justice. I've even thought about becoming a Christian for one reason alone: to pray for the wrath of God to visit those who have so wrecked the world.
Doesn't seem a very Christian impulse, ironically. It's certainly not a Buddhist one. Perhaps it is a very old one, however. I think about slaves in the American South looking up at Christ on the cross and seeing their own suffering reflected in his image; and the promise that one day all these wrongs will be righted, and their abusers cast down.
Paul Kingsnorth-- this series was a life-changing bit of writing. As someone who would never have had the time to dig into Spengler, Mumford, or Sherrard, and wouldn't have known where to go looking for the right books anyway, I am profoundly grateful that I bumbled into this Abbey just at the beginning. It really helped me to comprehend the disturbance that Covid and Environmentalism made evident in recent years. I'm a buyer for the book.
Thank you for this! As a latecomer this is very helpful.
I look forward to the book, and hope you'll find a way to offer a nice hardcover edition. After all of this is said and done it would be good to have something to pass down explaining how and why it happened, and you're doing a better job of collecting, summarizing and developing a narrative around it than anyone else I've come across.
This has been one heck of a ride, Paul. I've had a snippet from “Welcome to the age of the machine” tacked above my desk for a couple of years. But it is nicer to have a Cliff’s Notes of the whole project. I’ll look forward to buying a copy of the book when it comes out and placing it on my shelves.