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RemovedJun 30, 2023·edited Jun 30, 2023
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Let's for a moment assume this is all true. Can you explain—seeing as you are so deeply perceptive and insightful—why you have failed to figure out the simple fact that addressing people this way essentially guarantees your points (and you) will be ignored? Further, what good is a religion that produces people as rude and arrogant as yourself?

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No, not to anyone if you're being honest, which you appear incapable of being, particularly with yourself. Who am I? Like you, just some guy on the Internet. And what you are is plain for all to see, which is why I fled you with such great haste. I've had more than enough of rude, narcissistic creeps and weirdos darkening my e-door.

As far as your dim bulb accusations of hypocrisy, I knew you'd fish around for some angle to try and paint me with that label. Sadly for you, I've made no secret of why I pay the bills doing software engineering, despite loathing technology. Get this: Kingsnorth sees writing as the problem, but he's still doing it. Is he a hypocrite too? Or, as I suspect, are two thoughts one too many for you to hold in your mind at the same time?

Hey, your subscription's up, yeah? Better things to do, right? Well, there's the door. Don't let it hit ya where the good Lord split ya!

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author

I had enough of him. The man has a serious problem, and he can go and display it somewhere else. Take care.

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author

Fine questions indeed. I wish I had been so succinct.

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Jun 29, 2023Liked by Paul Kingsnorth

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

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author

I don't know where it leaves you! I am in much the same place. But speaking for myself alone (which is why, in the end, any writer writes) this work has at least helped me to get a much clearer picture of the times I'm living in.

But after that, yes - church it is!

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"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair."

~Dickens, 1859

It's the human condition - bound by sin and death - And it leaves us with only one escape: Romans 8:2

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If you mean church as Christianity, I wholeheartedly agree. Mankind has repeatedly turned God's self-revelation into all manner of idol worship. The history of Christianity could be called churchianity: it has replaced Christ with Church as the object of worship, just as the nation of Israel replace God with Israel as their object of worship. And mankind today has repeated the ancient replacement of God with nature, as you have brilliantly described the age of the Machine.

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author

Nobody worships the church. The church is the body of Christ. It is where I meet my fellows and take communion. Imperfect as it is, it contains the teachings.

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Our views on the body of Christ are very much minority views in the church today. The vast majority of churches preach and teach churchianity. They very much worship the church in place of Christ.

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author

Well, that might be true. In my Orthodox community I think the focus is different. But there is such a vast panoply of 'churches' out there it's probably impossible to generalise.

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“There are still 7000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” We must live before the face of God and in the community of His people, where we find them. For some, that community will seem very familiar. For others it may be very foreign. We must be open to see His mark on the community.

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Reduced?

"14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery."

Hebrews 2:14-15

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Jun 29, 2023Liked by Paul Kingsnorth

"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!

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¡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.

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author

I think the handful is growing. There's some good news.

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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.

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Yes indeed. I am not religious but God help us if they work out another abundant energy source.

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It would be catastrophic. As Wendell Berry says, if we have done this much damage with limited energy, imagine what damage we would cause with unlimited energy at our disposal.

I argued along these lines here when the news of nuclear fusion hit last year https://overthefield.substack.com/p/infinite-energy-infinite-destruction

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Re: your essay. I don't think the problem is human nature. There were and are cultures that have existed for tens of thousands of years without creating anything remotely like the bizarre global sludge tank that is modernity.

The problem is a viral, spiritually devoid culture both in thrall to and held at economic gunpoint by an industrio-capitalist system of exploitation and extraction that more or less requires total ecological devastation. Whenever I see "human nature" blamed for the crimes of a system set up and maintained by a thin strata of elite parasites I can hear them off in the distance quietly chuckling to themselves.

And there's so much of this: neoliberals blaming "lazy workers" for their poverty, or this alienating industrial hell-world blaming "chemical imbalances" for near-ubiquitous mental illness rather than the quite obviously absurd and psychically-mutilating set of living arrangements it has imposed.

Most people never connect the dots—in fact, will furiously oppose anyone connecting the dots— and end up "useful misanthropes" unwittingly spreading propaganda on behalf of the ruling elite. It's a huge propaganda victory for this moronic death culture and in my experience is zealously defended because it is so incredibly useful.

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Thanks for the engagement/push back Optera, and I agree with much of what you say.

I should add: I am operating from a Christian (of the reformed persuasion) perspective when I put the blame on (fallen) human nature. I see the "industry-capitalist system" emerging from the greed that is very much part of fallen human nature (undeniably there have been societies and cultures less tainted by greed, but I would argue it is more prevalent than we would imagine). Thus I argue there is something deeper that needs to be fixed than just doing away with the system - the human nature is sick and in need of redemption - doing away with the 'machine' or the industry-capitalist system will only lead to another vice-filled system taking its place unless those involved with the machines nature have been changed. Greed, violence, hate etc can and will manifest themselves through many systems.

This isn't to deny that positive societal/structural change can occur without what Christians call redemption - it has and there are many examples of it.

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I think the West took a major wrong turn when we began to rename greed/avarice as "self interest" and eventually removed it from the list of deadly sins. Several years ago Edward Skidelsky wrote a very good piece on this subject for First Things called "The Emancipation of Avarice," which may still be online. It's possible to trace the problem back even further, to the weakening prohibitions against usury/interest in the late medieval and Reformation periods.

We have always had greed, but it has not always been given the pass that it has today.

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"We have always had greed, but it has not always been given the pass that it has today." - absolutely. This was what I was trying to get at. Greed has always been present but it is currently on steroids and embraced by the masses.

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founding

This is a complicated point.

If you very carefully read Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice", which is a masterpiece on the economy, and goes into the problems of grace, sacrifice, avarice, greed and INTEREST, as in taking money for lending money, you will have a lot to think about.

The Jewish usurer Shylock is stingey with his hired help, and is constantly looking to pinch a penny, but the Christian "generous" people he deals with seem to be actively looking for ways to sacrifice themselves, and their "generosity" could possibly have serious negative consequences for people around them ?

It's worth thinking about the fact that the Catholic Church prohibited exacting interest on loans within the community of its believers ( probably other religious communities had the same rules, and people within a community did not exact interest for a loan...), but did not prohibit at least borrowing from the Jewish community, since the Jew was a... foreigner, and in a situation of extraterritoriality even within the place where he was living. (This situation has its disadvantages but its advantages, too.)

Many of our modern problems come from the fact that the Jew's extraterritoriality disappeared more and more as time went on, and his community weakened, too, as he became assimilated into modern culture.

How many Jews are still in the banking business ? ...

This is a very old problem indeed.

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I don’t think that the chief sin attributable to the West is “greed,” though it may be a form of self-interest more akin to pride. The people who do the most evil genuinely believe they are doing good, and desire for unlimited acquisition of money hardly figures (although love of comfort is certainly a form of materialism, and a popular one in our times).

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founding

Sometimes I think that modern man's devastation of nature is the result of his unconscious ? realization that he will not be able to master it, and that mastery will always elude him, for the simple reason that a creature can not be a creator at the same place and the same time, particularly in a situation where we seem to only be capable of seeing flat and transparent ? worlds.

As for laziness, there certainly seems to be a lot of that going around these days, in rich people, but in poor people too, and I'm not sure the middle class exists any more (but I could be wrong).

I don't think that the system is set up by a thin strata of elite parasites. Far from it. Everybody has his role to play in this system, and the elites play the role that has been written for them, basically.

15 years ago I visited the Washington D.C. zoo and stood in front of this sign : "You may think that our lions are unhappy in this enclosure (death row inmates would be thrilled to have so much space...) but ask yourself which you would prefer : to be here in this enclosure, fed and watered, with a veterinary doctor to take care of your slightest ache or pain, and a ball to play with, or OUT THERE IN THE WILD where you don't know where your next meal will come from, or if it will come..., there is no vet to take care of you, and you could even die."

With signs like these up for the visitors, it is not savvy to blame elite parasites for what is happening/has happened to us.

We love our comfort and our safety so much that our freedom has no meaning for us any more. The machine has a promising future ahead, as far as I can see. As long as we put our comfort and our safety on a pedestal.

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I dunno. Given the below, what percentage of contemporary people would choose each option?

A) You're working class. You need to take out some loans, get yourself educated, begin a career, get a mortgage, climb a corporate ladder, and if it all works out you'll retire in your late 60s with a home, a modest nest egg, and a few years of health. Along the way you'll deal with all the problems of modernity, some of which may prove fatal.

B) You're a member of a small tribe amid a vast, almost limitless-seeming wilderness. You have no technology, no creature comforts at all. What you have is an opportunity to live off the land, which is in amazingly pristine condition (such that you can even drink from any lake or river) and there is abundant game and flora more or less everywhere. Along the way you'll deal with all the problems of pre-history, some of which may prove fatal.

My guess is some huge percentage of people, particularly young people, would choose the second option. And one reason for that is option A looks increasingly unappealing. Further, I believe more and more people are shirking off work because it is no longer seen as a viable path to option A. Working people are thought of, treated as, and compensated like chumps, and for the most part they've figured this out. Employers should be grateful workers show up at all for what amount to starvation wages, and that when they do show up, that they don't simply stab the boss in the throat.

The other reason is "comfort and safety" aren't as much of a lure as we are told they are, nor are they any longer seriously in the offing in this age of looming climate/nuclear holocaust as a member of a vast neoliberal precariat under ruthless technocratic surveillance. The promises of modernity have become a joke. The only reason the whole farce continues at all is option B isn't actually available.

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I've always found zoos to be pretty disturbing.

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founding

I was born to loving the natural world in the San Diego Zoo, in my very early years. I have nothing against zoos, even though I think that we have gone off the deep end in our relationship with animals right now...

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They have worked out another abundant energy source, it is magnificent and from memory destroys nuclear waste..? It's called 'Safire'. I've been following the crowd that came up with it for about fifteen years because they make more sense with their science than anything from the mainstream mathematicians ever came up with.

The men are brilliant, although the AI algorithm despises them.

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Yes, I've noticed most tech oligarchs have investments in fusion startups. My sense is we will run out of ecological runway before any of these contraptions produce energy at scale and can be widely deployed. The growing belts of unsurvivable heat (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-15/us-south-midwest-will-reach-temps-of-125-f-by-2050s#xj4y7vzkg), coupled with the collapse of grain harvests (again as a result of heat stress), coupled with the social pressures created by mass migration make the surest bet a kind of growing barbarism trailing off asymptotically to human extinction.

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That’s not exactly cheerful, lol!

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To that effect, a friend (now sadly gone) once mentioned that the worst thing that could happen to the world is the discovery of some source of unlimited redundant energy.

In this blog's terms, he meant that this would just enable the Machine to change everything in its name even further and faster.

There's a reason poverty is considered something good in Christianity and other old religions.

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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.

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founding

Would you mind developing this comment a little more ?

A few years ago I read Jacqueline de Romilly's book about the Greek tragic authors, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, and she postulates the kind of shift that you seem to be talking about in classical Greece at that time : 1) an initial period (Aeschylus) where divinity is even represented on the stage, and individual actors emerge from a chorus which is a community, then, 2) with Sophocles, individual actors incarnating mostly invisible forces that combat each other while the divinity is no longer represented, and the chorus becomes less important, and finally, 3) with Euripides, a complete interiorisation of conflict, which becomes psychological. The representation of the divine is absent from Euripides' theater which is... modern, during classical Greek times. This metamorphosis of consciousness took place very quickly in Greece at the time.

What you say above about the problem of God's existence reflects a particularly Greek, and philosophical approach to faith, as I understand it.

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Thank you for your great question. I hope I am up to providing a worthy answer.

By interior, I simply mean that we are oriented to measure all things and seek all things as it meets our own needs. This can produce good and bad effects. We believe in ourselves, so we take care of our health. Or, we can become insular and selfish and only seek for those things that benefit ourself. I think Rene Girard addresses this mimetic conflict with each of us.

The difference that I see in the early years/decades of the Christian church was that it was not constructed to establish boundaries to exclude people. Rather, it was focus outwardly to overcome social/culture barriers. You can see this in Jesus' encounter with the woman at the well (John4), where she recognized that he a Jew was not suppose to mingle with Samaritans. This is an example of shift ones inner life toward how to engage with the exterior world. The Apostle Paul encountered resistance because for some of those who were new in the Christian movement believed that they must convert to Judaism in order to be righteous. The church in this sense ushered in what became the first universal religion. I believe that this is the impetus for our present day acceptance of people who are strangers and immigrants. It may be a policy of secular governments, but its initial rationale came from the openness of the Christian church to Gentiles. Tom Holland in his book, Dominion, does a good job of showing the impact that Christianity has had on the modern world. This is what I was trying to convey.

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founding

I agree with what you say about the fact that the church wanted to make Judaïsm ? available to more people. What you say suggests that the Jewish faith, and Jewish identity was in crisis at the time of Jesus's preaching, and I believe that. Christianity thrived for some very crucial reasons : after some haggling, it was decided that converts to Christianity need not be circumcized, for example, and the Romans wiped Judea, and the Jewish nation state off the map, thence dispersing the Jews all over the empire.

The Romans rightly understood that Jewish ideas about what it means to be a people, and Greco-Roman ideas were not compatible, and they really had no other solution than to wipe Judea off the map. You might be interested in Robert Graves's "Claudius the God and his wife Messalina" for a long development of these points in very good historical fiction.

To be very brief, the Jewish idea of a Messiah comes into conflict with the Roman idea of an emperor, as far as I understand, at least.

The origin of the idea of accepting people who are strangers and immigrants goes back to... Judaïsm itself, as a religion where the Jew is supposed to remember that he was once a stranger (foreigner) in a foreign land, in Egypt. But I agree with you that it is also an ideal shared with Christianity.

I have to fix dinner, but will come back later...

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I remember sitting my Old Testament class in seminary and the prof at the beginning of class one day asked, "What did evangelism look like in the ancient Jewish nation?" His response was that people were brought into the center of the community of the nation. This is different than what Paul established which to go out and establish local congregations. This is what I mean by the difference between interiority and exteriority. In modern terminology, we could be talking about the difference between a centralized religious institution and a decentralized, distributed one.

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founding

Reading your answer brings me back to Mark, and the scene that I read for many years with no understanding as a child, but have only recently woken up to. Here is the quote from the King James Bible : Chapter 11, 15-19 : "And they came to Jerusalem : and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-CHANGERS, and the seats of them that sold doves ; And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer ? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him : for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine."

I find this passage extremely important. Elsewhere on this thread, I have talked about the Roman forum, or market place as a place that brought people together to do business, with money, but where money circulates, other things are circulating too. My experience of the market teaches me this. The market is a place where people are fully, and vibrantly alive, and lots of exchange is going on. For sure, in Jesus's time, the temple in Jerusalem must have been.... big business, with lots of money for sacrifices circulating, and people from all over needing to change money. People coming from all over to practice Judaïsm in the way in which it was organised officially at that time.

Where were people praying in Jesus's time ? Who was praying ? What kind of prayer ? What was the relationship of prayer to sacrifice ?

Yesterday I went to my mother's prayer group which was held outside in our local park for a special occasion, and I noticed how incompatible our prayer was with the OUTSIDE, PUBLIC place, even though it was beautiful.

The kind of prayer Jesus was hungry for was incompatible with the temple in Jerusalem, and lots of tragedy has arisen because of that incompatibility.

Paul's idea of going out... is a repeat performance of God's commandment ? to Abraham to go out.

When you look at it, it is very hard to know when to go out and when to come in, and what to do inside, and outside. Very hard.

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That passage in Mark 11 about Jesus cleansing the temple, is an interesting one because it is sandwiched in the middle of the narrative about the withered fig tree. The key to understanding it is the reference Jesus makes to Isaiah 56 “And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.”

Isiaah 56:3-7

Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say,

    “The Lord will surely separate me from his people”;

and let not the eunuch say,

    “Behold, I am a dry tree.”

For thus says the Lord:

“To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,

    who choose the things that please me

    and hold fast my covenant,

I will give in my house and within my walls

    a monument and a name

    better than sons and daughters;

I will give them an everlasting name

    which shall not be cut off.

“And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,

    to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,

    and to be his servants...

...these I will bring to my holy mountain,

    and make them joyful in my house of prayer;

their burnt offerings and their sacrifices

    will be accepted on my altar;

for my house shall be called a house of prayer

    for all peoples.

The ancient temple in Jesus day had two parts, the core part for the Israelites, and a part for the Gentiles called the “court of the nations”. The court of the nations was supposed to be the place Gentiles could pray in, but the Jews of that time had turned it into a marketplace. God did not choose the Jews to exclude the nations, but to bring the Good News through them.

Eunuchs and Gentiles were considered unclean by the Jews, but Jesus pointed the Jews in the Temple to the prophecy in Isaiah 56 that said they will be priests!

Let us consider the fig tree. What kind of leaves did Adam and Eve cover themselves with after eating the forbidden fruit? Fig leaves. In Jewish tradition the fig tree is associated with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The timing of this passage is Holy Monday, the week leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus does not want anyone to eat from this tree that cannot satisfy the hunger of man. He curses the tree, because He has come to undo the effects of the Fall and the first Adam. He has come to bring the Good News to all the nations. No one is excluded, not Jew or Greek, male or female, slave or free.

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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?

Apostle

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

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Happy name day! Really appreciate your writings and also your recent video at Unherd

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"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.

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Deo Gratias

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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.

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founding

Maybe Man worships himself in His technique, but the end result is that all of the... inevitably little men and women that we are feel dwarfed and impotent faced with the technology and the mastery of Man. In the anthill, no one ant is a god, or has power, because the power and intelligence is diffuse and collective. I think that we are facing these kinds of problems right now. Flesh and blood men and women feeling dwarfed by what Man has managed to achieve over time.

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The end result is the elimination of man and nature and nature's God [if that were possible]. The whole project is a war against God AND His creation. Yes, one does feel vulnerable and disoriented in a theater of war with bombs are exploding all around. The idea that we may have substituted nature for God in the new paradigm is a kind of rhetorical illusion for nature gets as abused and destroyed by the people who purport to wish to save it just as man himself does, who in the advertisement will be SAVED by his technique. The entire project is satanic, and the destruction is a feature, not a bug. Man is made in the image of God. He himself is triune, relationship. The architects of the NWO are working overtime to smudge this image and to remake him into something you might see in the book of Daniel, some sort of cobbled together hybrid. Something ugly that can be used as a tool to make something else ugly. But satan can't make anything. He can only pervert. If one removes God from the equation, one will make a God of what remains, which is man himself (principally in technique ,but also in an improper relationship to himself and others - narcissism), nature, and the power of the collective. This is not my idea. This is the thinking of the philosopher Eric Voegelin.

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Can’t wait to read that book!

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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.

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I think about those slaves, too. And the beautiful, mournful, soulful music they created with the biblical imagery. I believe their owners thought that bible teaching would make them more manageable, but the slaves were able to interpret the real spirit of the thing. If you become a Christian you may find yourself praying for God to spare his wrath and warning people to turn around lest judgement engulf them. As George MacDonald says, only Love is inexorable.

Clara

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Evil is its own undoing. This won't have been the first apocalypse when it's all over, and there will be more wrath and suffering in its wake than I think any of us can stomach. How have we discovered metaphysical truths in the first place, except by believing them and surviving while falsehoods led others to extinction?

Hundreds of times over thousands of years civilizations have collapsed, and what is good to the survivors is largely defined as the opposite of what they were doing before that led to catastrophe.

This might be a bigger one than usual but some will make it, and our burden is to figure out why it's happening and pass that on for whatever comes after, not to stop it or seek justice for it. We're well past that.

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The apocalyptic impulse is maybe just an ancient, human one. Remember back in kindergarten, how if some dumb kid accidentally knocked our play-bricks over, how good it felt to roundhouse kick their whole damn tower down? Somehow, in a child's mind, that rebuilds the first fallen tower.

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I mean, not me, obviously -- I was a nice kid. I'm talking about the other kids.

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(That was a joke about apocalypticism).

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I knew, and hooted!

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Ha!

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That brings to mind the question of retributive justice. To what degree is punishment a helpful response, or are you simply compounding some sort of chain of violence? It's hard to make a case to let murderers walk free because that won't bring their victims back. There's also the sticky issue of free will.

I suppose at a simple evolutionary level of existing within a community of other beings, it makes a lot of sense to attack/obstruct destructive individuals, if for no other reason than to give them pause about repeating their perceived infractions. I've always thought the Buddhist take on this was a good one: feel free to use any amount of force necessary to impede troublemakers, but remain always dispassionate. Once you get angry, you forfeit the moral high ground.

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I believe Tyson Yunktaporta has some interesting things to say about this, that’s coming from the Australian Aboriginal culture that’s at least 40,000 years old. They didn’t do empire building, they didn’t do wars. They had good governance and laws. A lot of it comes down to what do we do with the assholes. How do we keep these arseholes from getting into power. A spear helps.

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I was struck by something said at that Matt Taibbi/Michael Shellenberger "Censorship Industrial Complex" discussion Russell Brand hosted yesterday (https://rumble.com/v2x5x8y-exposing-the-censorship-industrial-complex-part-1-158-stay-free-with-russel.html). It was the part where Shellenberger talks about how fundamentally sociopathic (not to mention humourless) the people imposing all of this are (it's about 42 minutes in). Basically, the arseholes are not only in power, but they're feverishly driving the global bus to its totalitarian destination with the fiery zeal of the worst cult you care to name.

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author

This is why I became a Christian.

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It was not uncommon that master and slave were brothers, as Paul noted in his day. Retribution is not as satisfying as one might think. Restoration is.

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Jun 29, 2023Liked by Paul Kingsnorth

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.

Many Thanks,

Clara

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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.

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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.

Cheers,

Brian

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Make sure you read it first, Brian. ;-)

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Dang, knew there was something I've been meaning to do with all those books.

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