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High Hope and Damnable Despair
Some Words of Wisdom from Vox Day and Bruce Charlton
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I don’t believe in God or Satan, but I increasingly wonder whether I should. I greatly admire and regularly learn from the writers Vox Day and Bruce Charlton, so perhaps I should adopt the Christianity that they make central to their work. At the same time, I can separate the ontics from the pragmatics in the epistemics of theistics. That is, I understand that believing in God can be useful whether or not God literally exists. Indeed, I know for myself that merely imagining a God can be useful. The concept of God clarifies and consolidates some valuable techniques of mental, moral and spiritual hygiene.

Crucial question

Even if you’re an atheist (and adiabolist) like me, you might find it useful to ask yourself of your own thoughts and deeds: Would God be pleased with these or would the Devil be cheering you on? By definition, God is the embodiment of Truth, Beauty and Goodness. He wants what’s best for you, me and every other human. Satan, by contrast, is the absolute and eternal enemy of Truth, Beauty and Goodness. He wants what’s worst for you, me and every other human. So it’s a very effective shorthand to ask who would be pleased by what one is doing or thinking: God or Satan? I’ve killed negative trains of thought by asking myself that question. And thereby snapped out of self-pity, bitterness and recrimination. Those are bad things to have in your head – Satanic things, a Christian would say, so it’s no wonder that leftism encourages thoughts like that.

Yes, the same “God or Satan?” question applies just as much to the political as the personal. Indeed, the political is the personal, because the politics you espouse reflect what kind of person you are. Is someone interested in power rather than Truth, Beauty and Goodness? Then they will espouse leftism. And that gives leftists some big advantages. It is easier to pursue power when you don’t have to worry about truth, morality and aesthetics. This is related to the fact that it’s easier to destroy than to create. Leftism is the ideology of destruction, not creation, and that again gives leftists an advantage. They are energized and encouraged by destruction, decay and degradation – by ugliness and evil in the arts and entertainment, by the elevation of thuggish Black criminals like George Floyd to sainthood, and by the flooding of White Christian nations with unattractive, unproductive and unintelligent non-Whites.

Hope creates morale, morale wins wars

Those of us who oppose leftism are not encouraged and energized by those things. Quite the opposite. And so it’s easy to be dismayed and demoralized by them – in short, to slip into despair. But that’s where the “God or Satan?” question proves useful once again. Christianity has always taught that hope is virtuous and despair is damnable. As Vox Day puts it: “The choice is between the hope of Jesus Christ and the despair of Satan.” Despair is what our enemies want us to feel, because it does their fighting for them. As Vox Day has also said: “Hope is what generates morale, and morale is what wins wars and every other form of conflict that requires endurance.” Here are some excellent blog-posts by Day on the subject of hope and despair:

Always watch your tongue

No despair nancies

Despair will not be tolerated

The filth-pigs of San Francisco

The journey sans ticket

Biggest sting-op in US history

As he says in the first blog-post above: “Words not only describe reality, they shape reality by influencing thoughts.” Feeling despair yourself is bad enough; seeking to infect others with despair is worse still. That’s why defeatism has often – and rightly, in my opinion – been a capital offence in times of war. It’s exactly what the enemy wants you to practise. If you oppose the enemy and his ideology, why do you do his work for him?

Despair is always wrong

And if you understand the world, why do you feel despair in the first place? That’s because one essential part of understanding the world is the recognition that you don’t and can’t fully understand the world and its future course. That is, the world is too complex and you know too little of it to warrant a firm belief in one outcome or another. Despair isn’t just stupid and self-defeating: it’s egotistical. By indulging in it or encouraging it in others, we set ourselves up as something we are not and cannot be: infallible prophets and prognosticators. And if you want to understand better this aspect of the wrongness of despair, I strongly recommend a blog-post by Bruce Charlton entitled “Palantir problems… Tolkien on the evil of despair.” Here’s an extract from the post:

And – simply put – despair is always wrong because we never have conclusive reasons to give-up hope.

Despair is not based on probability, but certainty – and that certainty is always false. A high probability of a bad outcome should be called pessimism. It is not despair because it is a best guess, and estimate; and we realise that even the very improbable sometimes happens.

Note: It is vital to distinguish between despair and pessimism; and between hope and optimism.

Despair is a sin, and is always-wrong; hope is a virtue and (for a Christian) always-right. Optimism and pessimism are merely conjectural judgments about the likely future – constrained by individual ability, information and honesty…

But more fundamentally, despair is not even about strict probabilities of the future of a known situation; since we are very unlikely to be framing, to be understanding accurately, the real nature of the situation.

Even if we know a lot about a situation, we never know every-thing about it; and some specific thing (some ‘fact’) that we do Not know, may have the capacity to transform our understanding. (“Palantir problems… Tolkien on the evil of despair,” Bruce Charlton at The Notion Club Papers, 5th January 2021)

Bruce Charlton is writing about what he calls “Tolkien’s frequent theme that it is always wrong to despair” [his emphasis]. And that theme is another of the many ways in which Tolkien’s great work Lord of the Rings (1954-5) is invaluable for White nationalists. We can do more than refresh our souls and rejoice our spirits by reading Tolkien: we can learn how to conduct ourselves in the war between the friends and the enemies of Truth, Beauty and Goodness. In one section of Lord of the Rings, one great and noble character is driven to despair by what he learns from a palantír, a crystal ball that allows the skilled and strong-minded to learn of distant events.

The character learns much, but he misinterprets what he sees, because despite his wisdom he fails to understand his own limitations. As Bruce Charlton says: “Even if we know a lot about a situation, we never know every-thing about it; and some specific thing (some ‘fact’) that we do Not know, may have the capacity to transform our understanding.”

“Westward, look, the land is bright!”

This has long been a theme of literature. In the ancient myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, Theseus’ father Aegeus, King of Athens, casts himself in despair into the sea when he sees the black sails of an approaching ship. Theseus has been successful in his fight with the Minotaur, but has forgotten to hoist the white sails that he promised his father would signal victory. So Aegeus despaired and died, misinterpreting what he saw and failing to wait for the truth. And here is the Victorian poet Arthur Clough (1819-61) using the power of verse to compress into a few lines what Tolkien, in his different genre, takes many thousands of words to say:

Say Not the Struggle Availeth Naught

Say not the struggle nought availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light,
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
But westward, look, the land is bright!

(Republished from The Occidental Observer by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. The concept of God clarifies and consolidates some valuable techniques of mental, moral and spiritual hygiene.

    So sale. If you have mental ‘hygiene’ you test beliefs against evidence, and that means you reject the concept of any supernatural entity who interferes with the physical world in predictable ways.

    No surprise then, that my favourite ‘concept of God’ apophthegm is slightly different:

    The concept of God does not survive ten seconds’ critical scrutiny from anyone who has learnt the awful truth about the Easter Bunny.

    Finally: if you decide (somehow) to believe in a thing despite the evidence-of-absence and the absence-of-evidence, what makes you stop at the ‘concept of God’? Why not ‘safe and effective‘? Why not ‘these rights are being withdrawn because it’s good for you‘? Why not Dredd Scott, Buck v Bell or Korematsu?

    Accepting – even tolerating – concepts that have no evidentiary basis, is the way to darkness. There are vast numbers of people itching for an increase in people who will believe things in the absence of evidence – and they’re not waiting to help.

    If you permit a concept inside your ego-boundary, you are implicitly accepting the consequences of the worst-case scenario. Accepting the concept of God, accepts the risk of the re-emergence of theocracy.

    • Agree: Realist, acementhead
    • Replies: @BananaKilt
  2. @Kratoklastes

    …and yet you make a lot of assertions about what aught to be, while supplying no evidence.

    In order to be rational, one needs a ratio between something and another something. At the bottom of the hierarchy of warrant is an axiomatic atom, against which the rest of the hierarchy is built.

    Yet, you try to pull the rug out from under the necessary atom simply because you are incapable of finding or providing evidence for it, that is, unless you infer it.

    If you think about the attributes of the atom by which all other concepts are built, you will see that it has to be indestructible, preexistent, have infinite extent, simple(not made of parts) and eternal through all past and future time.

    Without this atom, science and evidence are meaningless gibberish.

    • Agree: Realist
    • Replies: @Realist
    , @Right_On
  3. Realist says:

    That is, I understand that believing in God can be useful whether or not God literally exists.

    One big problem with believing in an omnipotent entity is the temptation to do nothing in the face of cruelty, corruption, all manner of evil, and natural calamity…and let God sort it out. This leads to the situation we are in today.

    There is no proof of God, the people who inhabit this planet have the sole responsibility for their destiny.

    Hope in an entity that does not exist is false hope…realism is the only salvation.

  4. Realist says:
    @BananaKilt

    Meant to Disagree.

    The truth requires proof.

  5. God is faith, period. God isn’t logic, realism, individualism, it isn’t Democracy, you don’t elect God. God is faith, period.

  6. Right_On says:
    @BananaKilt

    If you think about the attributes of the atom by which all other concepts are built, you will see that it has to be indestructible, preexistent, have infinite extent, simple (not made of parts) and eternal through all past and future time.

    What about the concept of the number “1”.
    The mathematical “1” is indestructible, pre-existent, simple (not made of parts) and eternal. Then it splits in half and so is joined by “2”, . . . , and so ad infinitum. Talking of which, “The Infinite” – the concept of the unbounded – also satisfies your requirements.

    We could then adopt Max Tegmark’s theory that the physical universe is not merely described by mathematics, but is mathematics. Or we might prefer the route taken by neoplatonists who thought “The One” the least misleading term for the Absolute.

    “God is the only being who need not even exist in order to reign. Whatever is created by the spirit is more alive than matter.” – Charles Baudelaire.

    • LOL: Realist
  7. I’ve always thought the word “despair” is agreeably fitting, because in Latin it means literally “far from hope”. The ancients venerated Hope as a minor deity, Spes in Latin, Elpis in the Greek-speaking east. She was charmingly depicted as a lovely young woman holding up the hem of her long skirt with one hand as she walked along offering a flower in the other.

    Christianity’s most offensive characteristic (of its very many) is its incessant invention of false dualities, creating confusion and conflict where none actually exists, by insisting there is a difference between artificial constructs such as good and evil, virtue and vice, body and “spirit”, and so on. Theologians are experts at crafting lovely-sounding, seemingly convincing arguments of words, but they are empty exercises of rhetoric and specialized vocabulary, not actualities that exist in the real world. Some claim that humans naturally seek out a “power greater than ourselves” because we possess “a god-sized hole” which we look to fill with sex or drugs or alcohol or money when we are not seeking out the deity which is the only thing that can complete us satisfactorily. I would rather prefer to think that this hole is entirely imaginary, that every one of us has always been whole and complete all along. There is no reason to suppose we were born deficient, but rather than we become distracted by the daily struggle to survive. Buddhists call this phenomenon “the monkey mind” and propose that when we learn how to tone down the volume of its chatter we find the inner resources that have always been at our command.

    It may well be the sad truth that human life does mean nothing; but as Sartre observed, that does not in any way automatically doom anyone to being a meaningless person or to having a meaningless life. And in the end it almost certainly does not matter a whit whether you were Gandhi or Stalin while you were alive, and that is all right too.

    • Thanks: anyone with a brain
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