We have been deliberately gyrating between religious, and ‘secular’ modernist viewpoints to find the elusive common ground for a global movement that will probably move past marxist materialism (but not its core message), as the cultural context of modernity remorphs very rapidly.
A funny thing has happened. Modernists have lost the ability to define what modernity is. And in that vacuum religious traditionalists are staging a comeback, or several such, veering between Reformation Christianity (and Islam, whose modernity is stalled) Eastern religions as in the New Age movement. Thus, a movement such as that of the New Atheists is so low grade, legacy religions are staging a comeback. So what is modernity, and what is the issue of religion.
We have tried to show the complexity of defining modernity. Secular humanism has failed here, and its sources in the era of Marx/Engels suggest the reason: the Enlightenment scope was being dumbed down, and the era of positivism turned the ‘secular’ defining moment into a parody of itself.
First, the Reformation shows that religion is a key part of modernity. Its progression beyond itself is far from complete, or completable. The rise of science has been confused with the ‘secular’, but at its core science can’t even deal with ‘values’ or the issues of such.
In a movement on the left it is important to be able to communicate in the context of religious contexts. This intractable problem was given here a simplification as between the paths of will and the paths of being, i.e. the monotheisms in relation to such religious legacies as that of buddhism. This defining distinction is imperfect, but a useful partial generalization.
We see that we cannot unify the two very easily, and we can’t really choose between them. The task of a real secularism would be to resolve this kind of issue, but the current field of secular humanism is simply incompetent.
We have pursued both aspects here, the issues of the ‘paths of being’ remaining mostly at the Gurdjieff Con blog.
We can simply take the two different paths as two aspects of the same higher religion, unrealized, as we forge a stance toward religion in the creation of a New Communism. We cannot resolve the issues here by simply denouncing religion in the name of modernity. This strategy has had a century and a half, and has failed.
Using the framework of Last and First Men, we can solve this issue at a glance with the generalized framework of both Axial antiquity and modernist discourse. This can then support a version of, say, Liberation Theology, a neo-buddhist revolutionary path, with Chinese Axial Confucianism/Taoism nimble and almost presolved with respect to the conflicts we face here.
Here it is essential to see that religion is not a kind of postmodern reaction to modernity, but a challenge to Reformation and/or revolution into the modern. They are forced to renew themselves for a new epoch emerging from the early modern.
The keys to the correct interpretations of either religion or modernity have already been lost here, as an aggressive new phalanx of modernist distortion tries to make secularism synonymous with atheism, to force belief by the manufactured authority of ‘science’ in the pseudoscience of Darwinism, next to a sterile scientism, darwinism and reductionism. This situation drives religionists to conclude they were better off with their traditions unchanged.
The revolutionary left should take the kind of framework shown in Last and First Men to define a dialogue with the ‘paths of will’ and the paths of being, in the context of their basic modernist cast.