Reformation and ‘secularism’
Trick question: was the Reformation religious or secular?
November 29th, 2017 •
Our question (previous post), why does the left always lose?, is reflected in this interesting bit on the Reformation. We have commented already on the elusive character of the Reformation:
it includes not only Luther but Thomas Munzer. It is apt to consider this dialectic at the beginning: a bourgeois (Luther a bourgeois?) and a communist revolutionary theme emerged at the start of what we call the ‘modern transition’. And they did so as it were in tandem. We have one answer in terms of our eonic model: the Reformation was a success because it was part of a larger movement of history and had a macro determination. What on earth does that mean? (by eonic hypothesis).
That the Reformation was connected to the rise of the modern left should be obvious from the case of the English Civil War. The French Revolution and the era of Feuerbach are a later stage, completely understandable in their ‘secular’ emphasis but likely to make one forget the earlier phase (Engels was quite aware of it). But the ‘macro’ aspect of the Reformation is confusing: it doesn’t actually have a religious basis!!!! What? The same forces, by eonic hypothesis, that produced the Reformation produced all the other aspects of the modern transition. Thus the Reformation is only ambiguously religious and the final stage of the Reformation clearly leads beyond Christianity, Feuerbach again.
But this is too confusing. Let us simply note that revolution in the early modern has eonic correlation, thus a slingshot effect. This effect wanes and the various lefts are stuck with the question, what is a revolution with the unstated question, can anyone produce a revolution at will? Clearly not! The macro factor is completed and free agency is left to itself.
Again, this is too complicated but the point is clear that revolutionary action is subject to ambiguities that obviously haunt the left now, leaving it to endless equivocations and analysis with no easy plan of action.
But we have to consider this: our idea of a floating fourth turning point was another question: can a revolution of free agents mimic a macro phase? can we construct a new society beyond economy in terms of the general categories of culture from philosophy to art to religion and science? The question is ominous and we can see in bolsheviam an anemic ‘floating fourth turning point’, or ‘eonic pseudo-transition’. We can ask another related question for example: can a revolutionary movement produce great art as did did the early modern? It is useful to invoke the ‘impossible’ and then consider that revolutionaries are learning and that such impossible tasks will resolve themselves in a next epoch of transformation.
This is too complex to easily analyze but we have a hint that a macro transformation starts with a religious transformation but isn’t really about religion, in the end, at least…
The left has actually conformed to this principle and we can see that the era of socialism then Marx are really the final phase of the Reformation, in a sense.
This is at least a reminder that the question of religion is VERY tricky. Historical materialism by its extreme reductionism was not up to the task of culture creation…
Again, this is too complex: we should start over with the simple idea that a leftist theme must be secular but able to invoke the the net equivalent of religion, and in general the broader aspects of culture.