“[W]hat you deem ‘shame’ is simply a rejection for any tolerance of self-annihilation. If I feel truly shamed I KNOW I have degraded myself and there can ultimately be no tolerance for self-degradation in those that honestly desire free will.”
Essentially the white Supremacist is claiming here that he never feels shame. I find this hard to believe given his desire for superiority over other people. I believe his true motivation for superiority is shame masked heavily with denial. He clearly feels himself to be in a position to judge other people who do not share his vision of reality. He labels them “radical autonomist” and “self-annihilator”. When you label something you confine it to a box that may or may not match up to reality. It is a convenient way to reference a concept but it often produces lazy thinking.
“But there is already the impetus to label everything which may or may not have anything to do with putting that now labeled something into a ‘box.’ What is a ‘box’ anyway? This ‘something’ you’ve labeled ‘box’ that then holds other ‘somethings’ requiring designated labeling seems a special kind of ‘something?’ How does this ‘box’ actually ‘confine’ somethings and seemingly not “confine” other somethings? So if I label wS a self-annihilator, how is he really ‘confined’ to a ‘box’ when he already rejects white Supremacy? What exactly is the nature of your confinement when labeled a ‘white’ self-annihilator in a state of radical autonomy ‘boxed-in’ by the self-delusion of being a true Christian?”
I can see here that he missed my point. His labels do not confine me in reality. His labels confine me in his head. He then mistakenly believes these labels in his head to be reality.
“PS. A white Christian is a white Supremacist and rejects all acts of self-annihilation.”
So here we get into his notions of Christianity and what a “true” Christian actually is. He takes the position that white Supremacy is true Christianity. In a previous exchange I asked him how he squared this assertion with the Second Commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself” and Jesus’ commandment to “Love one another as I have loved you.” His response was that he did not love himself and so therefore he was under no obligation to love his neighbor and Jesus’ remarks were solely directed to his disciples specifically with respect to the other disciples and thus carried no authority with respect to him as a mere reader of the gospel. I found these arguments, labored, technical and weasely frankly. It seems to me he was following the letter but not the spirit of the law which is an attitude Jesus rejected.
I further wonder how he squares white Supremacy with the beatitudes specifically, “Blessed are the meek: for they will inherit the earth…, Blessed are the merciful: for they will be shown mercy… Blessed are the peacemakers: for they will be called children of God,” (MT 5:5-9) and “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” (MT 20:16)
I have no doubt he has an equally labored, technical, weasely response. Be sure to read the comments to find out.
To be continued…
Thus sayeth my white Supremacist, “There seems [to be] a manner in which one steps beyond basic self-awareness to that creation of the original ‘ego’ set out to push one’s psychological envelope. From the internal monologue to the inter[n]ally manufactured dialogue with one’s ‘ego’ is that initial kickstart seeking to maximize one’s autonomy.”
Here again is the word “autonomy” which in his world carries negative connotations because it suggests an attempt to break away from God. As I said he never made it clear what actions are autonomous and what actions are considered to be in line with his so-called concept of “God-ordained free will.”
In response to his statement I attempted to bridge the gap by suggesting that we both are probably in agreement that the ego is a maladaptive reaction to a misconception of reality. Where our opinions differ is that I believe this process to be largely unconscious whereas perhaps he thinks it is intentional and thus incurring guilt. Of course, he proceeded to snatch this olive branch from my hand and slap me across the face with it.
He went on to profess, “I don’t see things in terms of adaptive and maladaptive. The fundamental human process in my view is perpetuating self-annihilators. I do not grant abiogenesis.”
The term “self-annihilator” is another buzzword of his which I think he uses interchangeably with the term “radical autonomist” in that a “radical autonomist” seeks autonomy from God by acting not in accordance with “God-ordained free will” and by doing so ultimately annihilates himself. I’m not sure what his remark about abiogenesis is in relation to as I never suggested that man arose spontaneously from inanimate matter nor do I know why he thinks that is relevant to the conversation.
He continues, “I ‘see’ an ‘evolution’ usurped by the self-annihilators. I ‘see’ the human being driven by raw desire with just enough good few ones choosing right to constitute an ascending continuum. The ‘ego’ really stands as one’s only truly trusted confidante or very worst enemy OR the appearance of one’s very worst enemy, but in fact one’s understood and very much trusted driving force…. This latter individual is the radical autonomist. His ‘ego’ is that which can get him off the hook with the degenerate masses.”
I’m not exactly sure what he is getting at here. I think he is suggesting that the self-annihilators have somehow exited the flow of evolution and it is the “good ones” who are evolving upward in an ascending continuum. Both types, however, have egos only one sees the ego as an enemy and the other sees it as a guide. But it is unclear what goes with what. His final statement about the radical autonomist using his ego to get him off the hook with the degenerate masses seems a little clearer to me. What I think he is suggesting is that to the radical autonomist, the ego is a clever trick used to absolve him of responsibility for his own actions. He can say, “it’s not my fault I robbed that bank, it was my ego.” To an extent he is correct that the concept of ego may be used in such a way. A sociopath might do that. But a person seeking to do right and act ethically and morally would not do this.
The point I was trying to make in my earlier blog post “Ego and Forgiveness” which this thread is in response to, is that there is a sense by some that guilt and shame should be perpetually carried around even once amends have been made and maybe for no other reason than being born the wrong type. Realizing that perpetual shame is largely the result of abusive situations imprinted on the psyche and formed into the ego is the way out of this situation and into authentic morality. For one cannot truly act morally if one is only doing so in order to avoid feeling shame. Morality should be exercised whole heartedly in other words. Otherwise it is an empty gesture.
To be continued…
The free will debate has existed since ancient times. Anyone can read the various ins and outs of the debate as argued by various people. I think what is more important is the debate that goes on inside the individual.
On the surface, if I do not think about it too deeply it does feel as if I have free will. I can choose to turn left or right. I choose to make the moral choice (as I understand it) or not.
But it is conceivable that I am only experiencing the illusion of free will. When a thought pops into my head I take ownership of it. I claim the credit of my creativity. But if I think about it, I really have no idea where this thought originated. Perhaps someone, somewhere sitting at a computer is implanting these thoughts in my head and I assume they are of my own doing. In this model of consciousness there is a “me” capable of observing but that “me” is under the illusion that the thoughts I think are my own. But even under this model I seem to have the choice of choosing whether or not I will take ownership of these thoughts. But then again, this choosing could also be implanted by the guy sitting at the computer.
So I am stuck in the position where I cannot prove or disprove that I have free will. My religion teaches that God endowed man with free will. My hunch tells me I have some degree of free will but it is probably less than what I assume it to be without thinking about it too much.
Recently a white-supremacist who has been regularly commenting on my blog made the argument (if I understand him correctly) that “God ordained free-will” (his term) means actually having the limited choice between choosing to do God’s will or choosing not to do God’s will. See the comments to my blog post Procrastination When Writing is Essentially Laziness Only More Complicated. I am sure if I misstated his theory he will correct me in the comments to this post.
The question that arises in my mind is this: How can I know what is God’s will in order to properly exercise my God Ordained Free-Will in order to make the correct decision? From a Christian perspective the answer is that the Bible is the word of God and tells me what His will is. The only problem with that is the Bible says a lot of things that are open to interpretation. So I am still stuck in the position of not actually knowing the will of God.
This white-supremacist commenter also argued that the opposite of exercising God Ordained Free Will is the exercising of Radical Autonomy (his term). He goes on to say that Radical Autonomy leads ultimately to Self-Annihilation (his term yet again). Again, I am sure he will correct me in the comments if I am misstating his position. From my perspective, there are a great many hoops he needs to jump through in order to square his theories on, God Ordained Free Will, white-supremacy, and Christianity not to mention Radical Autonomy and Self Annihilation.
Of course this white supremacist has the free will to respond or not respond to this post in the comments. If he does respond (which I suspect he will) I assume he will believe his choice to respond is an exercise of “God Ordained Free-Will.” The debate will then proceed from there.
Shame is the hatred of the self or at least the belief that the self deserves punishment. Not all shame is bad or inappropriate. In fact, shame can be healthy when one commits a bad act and seeks to atone for that act. In this circumstance shame informs the self that the self has committed a bad act. Shame becomes a problem when it expands beyond this role and dominates a person’s life and infiltrates every moment of existence. When shame expands beyond its useful role it becomes difficult to live a moral life according to Christian morality as defined by Jesus. Specifically, when asked in the Gospel of Matthew which is the greatest commandment Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (MT 22:36-40).
A person I recently interacted with who is a self-avowed white supremacist and Christian whom I believe to be shame driven expressed that because he does not love himself he is not required to love his (presumably non-white) neighbor. I found this to be a clever loop-hole but it ultimately fails for two major reasons.
First, to love God (the first and most important commandment which even my white supremacist acquaintance would acknowledge) he must also love God’s creation which is an extension and reflection of God. God’s creation includes one’s self and his neighbors. Certainly this love is not unconditional. In order to love something whole heartedly (as the greatest commandment requires) the love cannot come from a place of obligation. The heart must have the free will to choose to love or to not love. To love out of obligation is merely going through the motions, is not whole-hearted and lacks real value.
Second, in the absence of self-love, shame will expand beyond its useful role because in this environment shame does not serve to bring the self back from error but rather to annihilate and perpetually punish the self. With this type of shame naturally comes comparison to others, resentment of others and jealousy of others. In this environment it is impossible to love one’s neighbor or one’s self. I believe if one cannot love himself he cannot truly love God. Life becomes joyless and hateful to the self and the others with whom he interacts. Under these circumstances there is no room for the Holy Spirit to enter the heart. This is self-annihilation. According to Saint Paul the fruit of the Holy Spirit are Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. (Gal 5:22-23). None of these fruits can ripen in an environment of shame and hatred for the self and one’s neighbor.
Before Adam and Eve disobeyed God, the Book of Genesis specifically states “they were both naked … and were not ashamed.” (Gen 2:25). But when they ate from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they became aware of their nakedness, became ashamed, covered themselves and hid from God. (Gen 3:7-10). It was shame that separated man from God since the very beginning. It is also shame that separates man from himself and his neighbor (extensions of God). This is why shame (the absence of self-love) is ultimately self-annihilating.