9. EPILOGUE

In the ten thousand years of the development of hominine civilization, intellect and wisdom, there has been no progress toward the development of genuine Peace, as distinguished from the temporary absence of battle. Abrahamic Civilization (comprising Judaeo, Christian and Islamic civilizations) remains the most savage on the planet, and the 20th Century has been the most savage in that savage history. Resolving those problems and providing the requisite principles, methods, and, hopefully, sufficient wisdom, for building genuine Peace, has been the objective of Ideologics and this PRINCIPIA PACIFICUS website.

During an early stage of this work, in the mid 1950s, I wrestled with the primal question: What message was really being conveyed by the Old Testament legend of the Forbidden Fruit in saying that partaking of fruit from the Tree of Knowledge constituted “Original Sin”?

Then I found the answer — in passages of John Milton’s 17th-Century classic, Paradise Lost, the greatest epic in the English language. In great excitement I wrote a favorite mentor of mine in such matters, Reinhold Niebuhr, who has been considered “by common consent the leading native-born Protestant theologian in the United States in the 20th Century…[who] brought a prophetic dimension, a sense of transcendent criticism, judgment, and grace, to American theology and religion.” A graduate of Yale Divinity School, he began teaching at Union Theological Seminary in 1928, becoming professor of applied Christianity in 1930, in which position he remained until his retirement in 1960. In his later works, such as Faith and History (1949), Niebuhr defended Christianity as the world view that best explains the heights and barbarisms of human nature. He died in 1971.  

The passages from Milton and substantial excerpts from Dr Niebuhr’s long reply to me of December 1955 from Union Theological Seminary (next to and affiliated with Columbia University) are provided in the Conclusion of PRINCIPIA IDEOLOGICA, and the reader is urged to read them there, and thereby gain most worthwhile perspectives and wisdom. For present purposes, the following excerpts from Milton will suffice:

But knowledge is food, and needs no less / Her temperance over Appetite, to know / In Measure what the mind may well contain, / Oppresses else with Surfet, and soon turns / Wisdom to Folly, as Nourishment to Winde.

– – – – – – – – – – –

But apt the Mind or Fancie is to roave / Unchekt, and of her roaving is no end; / Till warn’d,.or by experience taught, she learne.

Excerpts from the letter by Dr Niebuhr replying to Stephen Seadler:

…It was so nice to have a letter from you and to prolong the discussion which we had on Christmas Day…

You say, “Man’s woes stem not from an original sin, but from perpetually recommitting this sin, in perpetually overreaching, in intellectual excesses, in insisting on and creating Ultimate Answers and Total Systems.” Of course I perfectly agree with this and merely remind you that this is everywhere the modern interpretation of “original sin…But what is universally recognized now is that the term “original sin” means the perpetual inclination to overreach oneself, and incidentally not only in intellectual excesses but in the will to power, and so forth…Milton combined classical with Clavinist insights. He therefor made the devil a rather appealing figure, which is to say like Prometheus. And as I stated on Christmas Day I think the difference between the Promethean myth and the myth of the Fall is that in the Promethean myth man has to defy God in order to be creative. But in the myth of the Fall he is challenged to be creative but is reminded that there are limits to the creativity of a creature…

…certainly one of the great revelations of our era has been that secularism from Jacobinism to communism can produce the same excesses which dogmatic religion produced through the ages, and against which the earlier secularism revolted.

I write you at too great length, I am afraid, because you have touched one of the main themes of my thought for the past twenty years.

With cordial personal regards,

Sincerely yours, 

/sig/ Reinhold Niebuhr

Reinhold Niebuhr / Union Theological Seminary / New York

December 29, 1955

The Conclusion then coalesces the concept of Original Sin from Christian traditions with various allegorical interpretations of the Tree of Knowledge story from many traditions comprising the highly pluralistic culture called Judaism (where the concept of ‘Original Sin’ does not exist). It notes that Mankind has cultivated well the trees of Life and Knowledge, as he was challenged to do, but in the process Mankind also corrupts knowledge — with falsehood, fallacy and error. Some of the corruption is in the form of secular and religious excesses, in overreaching. But, worse, some of that corruption is malignant. Such corruption — malignant secular and religious excesses — forms a repetitive pattern, causing recurring cycles of tyranny, aggression, oppression and war.

Thus, Judaic and Christian themes, including John 1.1, join and comprise Judaeo-Christian roots of Ideologics, which, however, has gone far beyond such roots, turned, and cycled back to attack and reform them. Thus, also, John 13.34, known as Mandatum Novum, ‘The New Commandment,’ must be joined with a complement of the injunction of John 8.32, that “ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,” to create Mandatum Novum II.

That creation came to me in the fall of 1988 while facing death on Valsfjell, Norway, an easy day’s climb up and down in what started out as beautiful weather, but turned into a blinding snow storm at dusk as I was already lost. I was clearly but a mere speck on one rock on one planet in one solar system in one…….in a vast freezing cosmos that didn’t care a wit about the speck — a cosmos I cursed roundly in my panic, intensified by fatigue, freezing and hopelessness. By chance I was rescued by two knowledgeable and appropriately dressed Norwegian women who were descending within sight of me through dusk and snow. When I got back I wrote down Mandatum Novum II, as follows.

But verily I say unto you that it is not enough that ye love one another, for still many there will be who hate. Therefore, a second commandment I give unto you. That ye fight hate and hateful thought, and slash its falsehoods with the swords of truth. Hence, ye must also know falsehood, and that truth shall make you free.

The Conclusion then applies the foregoing lessons to Holocaust III, and notes that the Jews of the Holocaust in the European heartland of Western Civilization faced annihilation as a consequence of the perpetual patterns we have just discerned. But, most portentously, an equal number of non-Jews perished with them. In particular, in Poland, target of the first blitzkrieg that opened the European Theater of World War II, where virulent anti-Semitism had long been a tradition of Church, State and Society, three million Jewish Poles perished — an equal number of non-Jewish Poles perished with them in camps, cities and countryside — and another 2.5 million non-Jewish Poles were deported to German camps. Such is the universality of Jewish history, and of the black plagues of Malignitism. Such is the perpetual banishment of Mankind from the Gardens he could otherwise create, as self-punishment for his perpetual recommission of “Original Sin.”

To avoid that recommission we should also heed the advice of Henry A. Rowland, the great 19th-century American physicist and first president of the American Physical Society, in his presidential address on October 28, 1899, which, while addressed to scientists, applies to all of us:

 …the liability to error whatever direction we go, the infirmity of our minds in their reasoning power, the fallibility of witnesses and experimenters, lead the scientist to be specially skeptical with reference to any statement made to him or any so-called knowledge which may be brought to his attention…The ideal scientific mind, therefore, must always be held in a state of balance which the slightest new evidence may change in one direction or another. It is in a constant state of skepticism…It is above all an agnostic with respect to all facts and theories of science, as well as to all other so-called beliefs and theories…What greater fool, then, than he who states that belief is of no consequence provided it be sincere.

Agnostic, that is, until the fact has been overwhelmingly proven and established, as that the Earth goes around the Sun, not the converse. But systems of beliefs, that is, ideologies, based upon that fact should be treated with enduring skepticism and agnosticism.

Furthermore, previous Pages of this tract have demonstrated that claims of divinity provide not authority or validation, but, rather, only delusional madness or deliberate pious fraud. 

All in all, we must at last, having been repeatedly warned and by experience taught, discern and learn ancient and modern wisdom and new knowledge, and apply them, with these newly emerging tools to do so, cooperatively where feasible, adversarily where necessary. Doing so will inherently, in the process, build a new dimension in societal and world affairs, and give birth to a New Era. For, now Mankind has the means to learn how, on the way towards and ultimately in the resultant New Era, to recognize, disdain, and defend against malignant ideologies in all their forms, to know the absence of WARRE, and thereby enjoy PEACE — for the first time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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