Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The New World Man


NB: regular readers will note generous amounts of sarcasm in my comments.  For irregular readers, if anything sounds like I am praising the current nihilistic age, I am not.


He’s a rebel and a runner

He’s a signal turning green

He’s a restless young romantic

Wants to run the big machine

-          New World Man, Rush

In all justice, then, we must examine the other side, the “positive” view.”

Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age, by Eugene (Fr. Seraphim) Rose

Fr. Rose, aware that many believe that there is a positive side to this nihilism – one that even overwhelms the negative – chooses to examine this.  He notes the parallel current of optimism and idealism that has “produced its own ‘new man.’”

These are idealistic, yet practical, young men, ready to tackle the problems of the day; enthusiastic scientists, pushing back frontiers everywhere with exciting research and experimentation; non-violent idealists (I think we have certainly lost these since the time of Fr. Rose’s writing); a possibility of overcoming age-old hatreds; young writers angry for the cause of justice.

And supporters of all of these, with visions of the glorious new world that such men will usher in:

…is it not just possible that, if the “spirit of the age” is favorable, their dreams may after all be realized?

But what is the nature of their faith and hope?  Perhaps this should be understood before answering the above question.

It is entirely a faith and hope in this world.  Sure, some might consider this new man as defeated and denatured; take, for example C.S. Lewis and his Abolition of Man.  However, there is the other side – this new man will change the world! 

…in this image there is no more conflict, for man is well on the way to being thoroughly refashioned and reoriented, and thus perfectly “adjusted” to the new world.

Worldliness has triumphed over faith.  As God is now dead, the man who is made in God’s image is also dead – he has lost his nature and fallen into some form of sub-humanity.  And this point from Fr. Rose is worth considering further.

Genesis 2: 7 Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living person.

We know that God did not breath into any other of His creations.  No other animal received this kindness.  Hence, absent God, this is the resultant sub-humanity of which Fr. Rose writes.  Whatever one believes of evolution and man coming from apes, this certainly is a de-evolution.

Fr. Rose labels this time “beyond nihilism.”  He considers that nihilism’s project was to destroy Christian Truth.  As he sees this has been accomplished, there is now a new phase – the thing that comes after the emptiness, the thing that will fill the vacuum. 

Man will not live god-less.  Absent the True God, man will replace Him with something of his choosing, of his creation – man will create god in man’s image.  After all, can the clay complain to the potter about the form the potter chooses?

There was a positive spirit in National Socialism, in the French Revolution, in Bolshevism.  In all cases, a god to replace the God that was destroyed.  Whatever disorder in these systems, they have, to true believers, been a blessing in disguise.  Citing W.B. Yeats:

Love war because of its horror, that belief may be changed, civilization renewed…. Belief comes from shock…. Belief is renewed continually in death.

Lucky for us, we are living through another such experience in real time.  May we live in interesting times, indeed!

But, to be clear, what follows the success of nihilism is something “incomparably worse.”  When the work of nihilism is completed and its usefulness at an end, the goal of the Revolution is at hand.  Replacing the anti-Christianity of nihilism, a pseudo-Christianity is prepared to take its place.

Again, lucky for us…we had George Floyd, memorialized as a blasphemous version of Christ, with every knee bowing and every tongue confessing.  Nietzsche would describe it as “mankind’s transit into completely new conditions of existence.”  This new condition of existence can only come out of and on top of the nihilist success.

Lenin would offer a similar thought, where the factory discipline which the proletariat will extend to all of society is not the ideal or final aim:

It is but a foothold necessary for the radical cleansing of society of all the hideousness and foulness of capitalist exploitation, in order to advance further.

This “further” is the completely new condition of existence, something pointed to by both Nietzsche and Lenin.  It is, as Fr. Rose describes, beyond nihilism.  The corollary of nihilistic annihilation of the Old Order is the conception of the New.  It is not merely an evolutionary change, a transition to the latest or even greatest age.  It is the inauguration of a whole new time. 

Nietzsche would write, in 1884, “…that I [may be] the first to light upon the idea which will divide the history of mankind into two.”  Dostoyevsky, through the person of Kirillov, “the most extreme of the ‘possessed,’” would write:

Everything will be new… then they will divide history into two parts: from the gorilla to the annihilation of God, and from the annihilation of God to the transformation of the earth, and of man physically.”

Once again, blessing of blessings, we are living in the midst of this “transformation” of man.

Further, the New Age will bring on the idea that man is now transformed into a god.  Nietzsche’s superman was supposed to fill the bill, but it seems to me that we each now get to play this role – after all, I am able to create myself in any image I choose, and change this image as often as I like.  Again, Kirillov offers us the Mangod: “if there is no God, then I am God.”

Whatever the intentions of those who wish to follow such a path, only bad outcomes can follow.  Genius and nobility are too often perverted:

…the corruption of the best produces, not the second best, but the worst.

Even Ayn Rand, one who happily would kill God, saw this reality: any compromise between food and poison and all that.

The nobility is in service to Lucifer, first among the angels who wanted something more.  The success of this program in the last few centuries in the West is quite clear.  But what can such a success bring?  Just as in their prince, Satan…

…the “virtues” of his servants are consistent with the ends they serve.  Hatred, pride, rebelliousness, discord, violence, unscrupulous use of power: these will not magically disappear when the Revolutionary Kingdom is finally realized on earth; they will rather be intensified and perfected.

 And here again, we are living witnesses to this transition.  Nihilism will not be overcome by any man-made means.  This New Age will be its culmination.  Being a spiritual disorder, it cannot be overcome by any means other than spiritual means – something sorely lacking in the contemporary world.

Truth and Faith – this is what is required to overcome the nihilist age, and these are the things most lacking in modern man – not merely the few men who are the prophets and dreamers, but of much of humanity.  The Nihilist, each individual nihilist, has, and is entitled to, his own truth, and he has his faith…in nothingness. 


Let’s end on a positive note:

God may be fought: that is one of the meanings of the modern age; but He may not be conquered, and He may not be escaped: His kingdom shall endure eternally, and all who reject the call to His Kingdom must burn in the flames of Hell forever.

Yes…I did say this was a positive note, but not yet. 

Nothing less than Hell is worthy of man, if he be not worthy of Heaven.

Still, not yet.  Here goes – the positive note, the way out and the way through:

John 14: 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.

1 Corinthians 13: 13 But now faith, hope, and love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

OK, now bring on the many comments that will not be posted!


  1. How about a follow up to John 14:6? Which I love by the way because it is the verse I spoke to my brother that either solidified His faith in Jesus or started it.

    The weight of that verse is made even heavier in the following verses.

    John 14:8-9
    " Philip *said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus *said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?"

    These old thoughts on Nihilism, sound just like what people are saying today about trans-humanism. Humans will somehow transcend our nature to become something better. But a thing can't transcend its nature can it? If you tear at the nature of a thing, doesn't that just harm it and then destroy it?

    Placing all our trust in A.I., technology, and Science (TM) doesn't change our nature as humans. It simply suppresses or oppresses our desire to be humans.

    The proponents of Nihilism or trans-humanism claim to free humanity from shackles. But what they really support is shackling humans with inhumanity. I think I am starting to understand.

  2. A good way to start the New Year: reflecting upon how we got to the insane situation we are in by way of learning from Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, and Fr. Rose. I spent the last few weeks reading Mrs. Nesta Webster on the French Revolution. The Jacobins set up a template that even the Bolsheviki could but imperfectly approximate. I am now reading Burke's Reflections for the first time in decades. Then I intend to read (for the first time) Demons (The Possessed). For the last week or so, the Blog Law and Liberty has published two reviews on that novel. So I am not surprised that out host mentions it in recent essays.
    Attempting to make man a god: this is quite evident in the cult of George Floyd. Murray Rothbard wrote that abhorring the violence perpetrated upon a victim does not require making the victim a hero. Yet precisely this has been done in Mr. Floyd's case. Rev. James Martin, S.J. said that Floyd suffered suffocation for his people, identical to the Lord's passion on the cross. Catholic University has an "icon" of Mr. Floyd on the entrance to a chapel in a Pieta style: the Virgin cradling St. George the way she did the body of her Son. If George Floyd, whose character seems hard morally exemplary, can be worshipped as equal to the Lord Jesus, then the Abolition of Man and the apotheosis of his replacement is well underway.

  3. "...the corruption of the best produces, not the second best, but the worst"

    Corruptio Optimi Pessima.

    I'm convinced all of Leftism, and much of what is popularly considered Rightism today, can be considered a horribly disfigured Christian heresy. This unbalanced desire for equality and supposed concern for those least well off among us, the outcasts, the immigrants, the margin, the fringe... is all a distorted echo of Christ's words taken out of context:

    "Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land." - Matthew 5:4


    "And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me... Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me." - Matthew 25:40 and 45


    "So shall the last be first, and the first last." - Matthew 20:16

    (I'm sure there are many more, but I'll stop here)

    All these can be used (though erroneously) as justification for some revolutionary overthrow of the existing order by the lower classes, or by those elites cunning enough to harness their power. Just as Christ gave importance to the individual person, He also gave importance to the poor as a class of people. And both of these concerns, balanced and perfected in Christ's example and words, became disordered once separated from Him. Concern for the individual, in its most disordered state, became atomism and libertinism, while concern for the poor, in its most disordered state, became socialism and communism.

    Funny how both of these seemingly opposite paths lead to the totalitarian state.

  4. The Holy Trinity has given us a host of New Martyrs and other saints to combat this great evil and to guide us. Let us draw near to them:

    St Iakovos of Evia:

    New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia under the Communist yoke:

  5. We do have reason to be optimistic. God will not be mocked. With what will we replace this humanism? “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
    ‭‭John‬ ‭14:15‬. We have the revealed word of God that includes laws for government. Humanism seeks to be the judge of what is good and evil based on man’s reason alone. When man’s reason is separated from God’s law, it’s quite reasonable to eat the fruit.

  6. ... the comments that will not be posted..." Exactly: you talk much about "love" but Truth is to you apparently not one of those things worthy of love. You're far too in love with yourself, BM. That's a problem IMO.

    1. Well, this blog IS Bionic's property and he can set the rules of engagement as he pleases, just the same as you could if you had one, which you might. Why don't you post the address so that we can make judgments about your opinions. Or...are you all hat and no cattle?

  7. I find this akin to the "New Soviet Man"-

    It is the dilemma upon which polity and "freedom" find themselves at odds.

    Even the communists recognized the need for a man that *tried* to emulate Christian ethics.

    From wiki:

    " an archetype of a person with specific qualities that were said to be emerging as dominant among all citizens of the Soviet Union, irrespective of the country's cultural, ethnic, and linguistic diversity, creating a single Soviet people and Soviet nation"

    This archetype included "selflessness".

    Libertarian philosophy acknowledges "self interest" as part of the human condition.

    It is the tension of these two things that makes the question of polity and cultural background a difficult topic.

    I beleive there is room to acknowledge that a cultural set of ethics, let's say Christianity(in general), might produce superior outcomes as opposed to other ethical foundations. Could Stoicism? Are there others? What cultural ethical systems produce tyranny?

    I read in earnest but hesitated to comment on your "Creating Moral Philosophy Ex Nihilo".

    John Howard is an intelligent person and uncompromising in his viewpoint and belief. The elephant in the room however, the ultimate thing that kicked all of this off, was the shooting of a child over the theft of an apple.

    There is a moral/ethical dilemma that is not easily solved here. It begs the question, as asked by CS Lewis, as to where morality comes from.

    I believe Mr. Howard was briefly part of that initial debate years ago.

    However, for many, including myself, the dilemma remains. I'm clearly in the camp that believes shooting a child over the theft of an apple is morally reprehensible.

    Why that is, in light of a strict interpretation of the NAP, which I generally agree with in principle, is up for debate. I've argued in the past for proportionality in punishment, but it's obviously a subjective notion- leading us right back to the place that kicked all of this off:

    Where does morality come from? If the answer is that we all have our own moral code then even those that feel this way shoudn't be surprised when the NAP in even it's most "logical"/Spockian sense is rejected by those who "disagree" by their own moral standard.

    I believe Rothbard was right in saying the NAP wasn't enough. But how that dilemma gets solved is a very difficult, probably not a one size fits all, solution.

    1. Thank you for the thoughtful comment, Nick. You are right to recall the apple episode, however I may have started scratching the surface of the idea of a common culture before this. Maybe not. Anyway, not very important at this point - although there is no doubt that this episode sent me full steam into the topic.

      "Could Stoicism? Are there others?"

      The historical evidence, based on dozens of different foundations, points to only one (that I am aware of) that developed an idea approaching liberty. I think the foundational beliefs that all are made in God's image and all are fallen (and cannot be perfected as long as one is in the human form) are critical in this. (Further developed in my post "Natural Law, Sola Scriptura.")

      "What cultural ethical systems produce tyranny?"

      Many, it seems. Also, bastardized Christianity seems to do so as well. I don't think we can merely live as if God exists (as Jordan Peterson often mentions). It likely has to be believed, unquestionably. This, I believe, and unfortunately for modern man, must be taken on faith.

    2. "This, I believe, and unfortunately for modern man, must be taken on faith."

      A significant problem, because the scientific method has greatly benefitted man's standard of living and understanding of the physical world.

      Because in essence, the God of the Bible can't be "proven" by this method, it is a very difficult proposition to gain faith in such from a purely logical standpoint. (Though I believe Aquinas's Five Ways model, specifically the Prime Mover argument, lends a credible argument for at least a higher power)

      I've read many books that attempt to "prove" that Jesus was who he said he was- probably the most interesting from my perspective being Lee Strobel's "The Case for Christ" and subsequently some Josephus, which in and of itself is mired in questions of authenticity.

      I can't get away from the fact that for thousands of years man has been steeped in superstition in many ways surrounding many topics. You only have to go back 330 years to see people being executed here in the US that were deemed "witches" but even more troubling is the last 40 years have produced many "prophets" that have made a myriad of claims that ended up with many people being hurt/killed.

      If the notion as you and some others have suggested is that the only hope for a culturally "moral" society is having faith in Jesus Christ then I fear it's only going to get worse, not better.

      You can't put the mysticism genie back in the bottle per se, which was in essence Nietzsche's point.

    3. Nick, it need not be either or - either science or faith.

      There will be no choice but for society to walk this path. The only question is how much death and destruction will be suffered in the meantime.