The Self As The Ultimate Source Of All Tyranny by Rocket Kirchner

by Rocket Kirchner
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Rocket Kirchner (blog)
Rocket Kirchner (youtube channel)
April 19, 2012

It has become quite fashionable these days to state that matters of faith in the divine is the ultimate source of all tyranny. When all is said and done it may seem a logical conclusion for those in the camp of unbelief. I am not sure if it is because of the rampant abuse of religion, the rise of the new atheism, or that Ayn Rand is back in vogue via the New Yorker Magazine crowd. At any rate, this seems to be to many the last thing to tackle in order to liberate minds in our present society. But not so fast. For those who are not aware of Romanian atheist E. M. Cioran and his brilliant work, they need to be before they begin to hastily reach such a conclusion that has been stated.

Cioran, the modern Diogenes of the late 20th century spared no one, be they religious or secular. In his chapter “Unconscious Dogmas” from his book “A short history of decay”, he refers to the man who has ridded himself of all belief in God as being a fanatic still. As he states,

“life has dogmas more immutable than any theology, each existence being anchored in infallibilities which exceed all the lubrications of madness or of faith. Even the skeptic, in love with his doubts, turns out to be a fanatic of skepticism. Man is the dogmatic being par excellence, and his dogmas are all the more deeper when he does not formulate them, when he is unaware of them, when he follows them”.

Wow, that is a mouthful indeed. And here is where he comes in for the kill, “no theology protects its god as we protect our self…. How escape the absolute of oneself?”

There it is: how do we escape the “absolute of oneself”? Of course this question has been asked and asked and asked a million times through history by anyone that is serious about thinking. But it seems that nowadays it is being pushed to the side of the stage, and seeing faith in something divine as something to escape has taken its place. Many times politics has taken its place, or economics, or whatever. But we keep having to come back to this one question that is at the root of all other questions: How do we escape the self? Now many would say that the self is good, and that to escape it would be folly. Oscar Wilde said, “the only way to deal with temptation is to yield to it.” But even Wilde wrote in his later writings a whole book called De Profundus, renouncing that aphorism. Wilde grew up. And in growing up he saw that being selfless was the route to go.

The thing about the self, is that it plays games with itself. George Harrison’s song “Piggies” kind of sums it all up for me. We are all little piggies playing in the dirt. If someone with a liberating message comes along, we kill the messenger. The little piggy in us is threatened by any magnanimous outpouring of love, because if that love infects us, it will inspire us and require us to stop being little piggies, and start to evolve into becoming human beings. And the self as the source of all tyranny will not only be exposed for what it is, with all its excuses, finger pointing, and subject changing, but it will be dethroned. And when it is dethroned all things are possible.

***

on Feb 1, 2010

Have you seen the little piggies
Crawling in the dirt
And for all the little piggies
Life is getting worse
Always having dirt to play around in.

[…]

george harrison – piggies

***

Suggested links:

The Buddha’s 4 Noble Truths

Samson: The Problem Of Being *Worldly

The Tyranny Of Self – You, Yourself And You, Again

The Trouble with Being Born

see

Rocket Kirchner: The Cult Of One + Thawing Out

21 thoughts on “The Self As The Ultimate Source Of All Tyranny by Rocket Kirchner

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    • FH — i replied on your blog . i like your blog . thanks for sharing your angst on it . i can relate .
      my definition of authentic faith is simply responding to an experience , not something we cook up in our finite minds . In order to be liberated from the self the experience must be more powerful than the self , and we must commit to it for the long haul . For as Kierkegaard described himself ” I am a Christian in the process of becoming a Christian ”.

      • Rocket — thanks for taking time and thought to comment and for your kind words about FH. It’s nice to have a little forum and I’m hopeful to connect with other folks who’re interested in speaking outside the axiomatic lines.

        As to your response, it seems as though some combination of reason and revelation are necessary for the fully-souled individual — even if one requires hubris that offends the very entity the other embraces and even if the other often requires irrationality, too.

        I have not yet read The Fragmented Self but I certainly will in time. Just now I’m reading Campbell’s Hero with a 1000 Faces … which you’ve likely read but — if you have not — I would suggest it. I would be surprised if you had not been through it as you seem to have an interest in eastern thought — as does Campbell.

        I’m sure you’re correct about my mis-reading of Schopenhauer … admittedly, I’ve not read him as thoroughly as I have some other thinkers and I may have been capricious in my treatment of his thought.

        I’m also reading over Nietzsche Contra Rousseau. Nietzsche had some interesting views on the self which were succinctly summarized by the late Allan Bloom (who I feel ambivalent about).

        I enjoy Dandelion Salad … thanks for the well-thought-out articles and I look forward to future reading.

        • FH — The Augustinian position of the great Catholic synthesis in his masterpeice ”Civitas Deo” seeks to combine Greek and Hebrew thought into the perfect fusion between faith and reason . However , his ”Confessions ” he is shooting from the hip of the pure visceral , and it shook the known world like an earthquake . ”Confessions” sums up in raw emotion the Tertullian-Kierkegaardian position of ”by virtue of the absurd ” and exalts the irrational over the rational . i go for that ! ”reason is a whore ” Luther said . so true .

          there is such a thing as ”inspired reason ” that operates on a whole different level than that which we concoct with our human mind . The importance of Nietzche and Kierkegaard is their disdain for the Hegelian dialectic and the importance of bringing back the irrational .

          faith really is a subjective journey , after one rejects the objective certainty and embraces objective ”uncertainty” and hold fast to it to a most passionate inwardness. Neitzche had the right idea in his rejection of objective certainty but replaced it with the will to power which is a dead end road of self surrounding itself with self as Cioran points out . Keirkegaard’s christian existentialism is where i think a good place to be as one leaps out of the sphere of the ethical into the sphere of transcendence. Of course Jung understood this in his work ”The spiritual problem of modern man ” , and Cambell echoes Jung .

        • Well, I’ve certainly got a lot of reading to do. I tried Keirkegaard quite some time ago and couldn’t get through him but I was very young. Have you read Simone Weil at all? She’s always been the Christian thinker I’ve clung to most.

        • FH — Simone Weil is amazing . Muggeridge puts her up there with Augustine and Pascal . i discovered her accidently in a booksore. i picked up ”Waiting on God ” and my jaw dropped . There is a new bio on her called ”Gravity and Grace”.

          as far as Sorn Kierkegaard — i cannot stress the importance of this great thinker . Start with ”Fear and Trembling ” and go from there.

      • oh, and faith as compulsive reaction might work for me, too. i’d much sooner trust faith as a reflex to a immensely personal encounter of sorts than I do the hand-me-down game of telephone we’ve come to see it as.

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  10. Clever stuff Rocket, and thought provoking. Big “s” Self and lesser self is a theme we find well developed in the Yi Jing for example, that teaches the virtue of the “superior man.” This formula is indeed very ancient and classical ~ since the Greeks had their daemon, muses & indeed all their gods & goddesses of course. The challenge for us in a world of misogyny, cynicism, brute force, ignorance, celebrity and spin, is how to recognise authentic superiority. It’s never just going to be about theists or atheists, saints, rabbis, positive materialists or clerical goons, but who’s got the “real thing…” their Truth, through their own agency ~ nobody else’s.

    • David , thank you for your thoughtful response. Are you familiar with the work of E.M. Cioran? He seems to echo Buddha’s 4 noble truths. The thing about the post modern age is that it thinks it has deconstructed the eternal verities of the ancients. But one can ever deconstruct eternal verities. Even its attempt proceeds from the self. and even if we think we have scoured the last remains of our self, the fixity from which it proceeds remains.

      in reference to your statement on the superior man, yes i agree… one must delineate between the small self that is the piggy, verses the larger Self that becomes a servant to ALL. The eastern thinkers get this very well, and Jung does too in the west. i don’t know if the how to recognize authentic superiority is as important as actually becoming truly superior oneself thru humility which is a paradox indeed.

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