1. The Latinetards class again. Afterwards, the hot Russian chatted with me about literature, especially Bulgakov’s Master & Margarita. She said that some people see the book’s Satan as an allegory for Stalin. In a sense, i can see this – a murderous, demonic figure comes to Moscow and hypnotises, degrades, and kills the people (in this sense, it is a good allegory for socialism). However, i see Woland as more akin to the Wotan of the Wild Hunt; satanic in the sense that most pagan gods had a dark, violent energy. Woland is what happens when an entire culture denies the existence of god or the supernatural, and places its faith wholly in gulags, secret police, commissars, apparatchiks, Pravda, production quotas, technology, industry, socialism. Blake: man must have religion, and if he does not have the religion of Jesus he will have the religion of Satan.
Woland is an ambiguous figure – clearly satanic but, in the context of the novel, almost a saviour. He is close to how i would understand some “pagan” gods – neither good nor evil, but not something to take lightly; and not subject to human comprehension or control. He is, therefore, the antithesis to socialism, where everything is supposedly understood and everything can supposedly be controlled – by highly-paid left-wing apparatchiks, backed up with secret police, prisons, executions. Woland is all that is denied in our culture – everything primal, inscrutable, beyond human control or comprehension. These forces do not go away if ignored or “refuted”; they merely take different forms, strange forms & visitants.
2. After this i went to have a burger & go bowling with an old class. On our last day, a student called Marcia had approached me in the break and told me Toddball had let them all know that i claim to remember my past lives. i was annoyed, as i only told him in a moment of drunken stupidity and immediately regretted it; and i certainly don’t want my students to know about the things i keep secret from almost everyone. However, for whatever reason, the students didn’t then regard me with the amused contempt i encountered among the English. Marcia also remembers her other lives, and she said people today are generally open-minded about reincarnation, and won’t simply regard you as a lunatic.
In any case i’ve learnt to be circumspect about the whole thing. i think it’s perhaps borderline acceptable to say you remember a past life which was totally unremarkable and tedious (why, then, would it press upon the memory), but anything remotely out of the ordinary is immediately dismissed as the fabulations of a liar or lunatic. It’s true that most people live banal enough lives but at any given time a goodly minority will experience unusual lives, and since these are, i think, more likely to make sufficient impression to carry over, it seems natural that most remembered lives aren’t just “I was a peasant and ate mud and turnips every day of my worthless, tedious, unremarkable life, and I remember it all in detail”. But in a sense, this is part of the modern egalitarian tendency, to cut down anyone different, anyone who excels or differs; and this could explain why England – the land of mediocrity, of belly-patting Southron flatulence and contentment – is so atheist and secular, so prompt to attack anything of value, anything beyond the dreary round of TV boxsets, approved bands, family outings, nice ethnic restaurants, intelligent radio programs, and so on.
3. And so England has been devoured by multiculturalism, Political Correctness, socialism – because the English have so thoroughly denied any reality beyond the material. Nietzsche:
Nachdem Buddha todt war, zeigte man noch Jahrhunderte lang seinen Schatten in einer Höhle, – einen ungeheuren schauerlichen Schatten. Gott ist todt: aber so wie die Art der Menschen ist, wird es vielleicht noch Jahrtausende lang Höhlen geben, in denen man seinen Schatten zeigt. – Und wir – wir müssen auch noch seinen Schatten besiegen!
So on Facebook the other day, i wrote about religion. A militant atheist Facebook friend came swaggering in. Ordinarily i like him and he’s funny, like a clown, he amuses me, but wit doesn’t translate to logical rigour or philosophical insight – if it did, Martin Amis would be Kant. When i observed that science is about empirical study, and statistical analysis, of repeatable phenomena, and so certain things simply can’t be subject to science – they bear no stable empirical aspect, or are not subject to statistical analysis, or cannot be repeated, he simply told me:
if it’s observable, it’s the realm of science. if it’s imaginary, it’s still the realm of firing neurons. But i didn’t wan to give the impression that I have these kind of discussions. I don’t debate. I’ll instruct if asked, but I can’t learn anything from the faithful
This is typical of these folk. Simply not being a militant atheist makes me one of the idiotic “faithful”, but i should at least be grateful that like all his kind he’s willing to instruct, if i ask him, but he won’t debate. He is incapable of logical debate. He can’t answer my point about phenomena which are not subject to statistical analysis and are not repeatable – he just tells me he doesn’t debate, he only instructs. It’s not limited to atheists – most people have no logical training and so think a good counter-argument is to ignore the point and parrot nonsense plucked from fashionable bestsellers.
Atheists are fashionable people, on the winning side, the worldly side, secure of approbation and applause, who like to think of themselves as brave underdog rebels and revolutionaries (like the entire Left).
5. Shrekh, a Muslim i knew from school, became a militant atheist after a good 30 years of slavish groveling before his idea of God (which bore little relation to anything outside his head, since he hadn’t even read the Koran). And he now spouts the standard atheist lines, like a badly-constructed robot, press a button and watch it lift a hand; or in his case, mention anything even vaguely connected to religion and get a sneer about Jewish zombies, how Jesus didn’t exist or did exist but was a schizophrenic, etc. etc. For him, militant atheism serves as a religion, with its own holy texts, scriptures, dogma. It’s just as tedious to hear him mindlessly parrot the standard atheist accounts, more or less word for word (i’ve heard these from other angry atheists, verbatim), as it was to hear him gibber about how Allah was going to send him to Hell forever, “because, like, he’s on like a power trip, like”. i think i even preferred the Muslim gibbering, since it proceeded purely from his own broken mind, rather than merely being recited from books and blogs. And like all atheists, he only attacks Christianity, as if that is religion. The most he will do about Islam is mutter darkly and incomprehensibly, then launch into another tirade about Jewish zombies and Semitic mystery cults. But then, he still lives with his fundamentalist Muslim parents in a Muslim ghetto, in a Muslim country (England), and when i asked if he’d told his parents of his newfound atheism, he spat out “I don’t want to be killed!”, then promptly launched onto a new tirade about Jewish zombies. The brave rebel.
6. i don’t blame people like Dawkins. They only have this barbarising power because most people can no longer credit anything not subject to human control or (so-called) understanding. Religion certainly can’t be imposed, though it can be destroyed. So i think one must merely wait and see what happens. In our days, the difficulty is to reconcile religion with science & industry, with their own authoritative accounts & products. As science increases its often spurious range, so too does the range of the humanly-understood apparently increase; and religion is a way of coming to terms with that which lies beyond human understanding but nonetheless impinges upon us. Perhaps the modern age (from about the late 19th C on) is the first where people tend to feel that everything is now subject to human domination, that it’s all in the bag and we can laugh at fancies like love, happiness, religion, art, and just let the scientists organise the perfect society, where everyone is chemically stimulated to feel the ideal emotional state, and no one can do anything bad because the relevant parts of the brain have been excised or chemically neutered.
However, i feel sure that the gods aren’t dead and that some strange energy will burst out of this sterile materialist prison. Call it Woland, if you want.