/ Social Order / AgainstHierarchy / NYU /
2006 10 02
The Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation … taught the “West” to beware of priesthoods. We’ve had a long time to try to learn the lesson. Some of us already knew: for some individuals I’ll bet that wisdom is several thousand years old at the least. How brilliant Pedro Almodóvar’s Bad Education seems though is contemporary evidence that the lesson has yet to become general through the population.
Imagine the surprise of this Renaissance-loving Protestant when Roman Catholic priest Ivan Illich taught us to beware secular priesthoods as well. Secular priesthood? It seems an oxymoron.
Well, sure. But think of it as an analogy. Men want it to rain. They dance, they cut themselves, they pee into the air where the gods should see … Finally, it rains. And the last magician to have cut himself before the rain started is elected the chief magician. Then you’re stuck with his church: until luck or nature intervenes.
With the Renaissance, the Church lost power. Now there was more than one book to read, more than one thing to study. People also get around better, sailed the oceans. The world was shrinking. Nationalism developed, states emerged with new meaning (and new menace). When your group was the only human group in the world, you may have had a church, but there was no need for a nation. Pride you felt for sure, but not nationalism. (Now the world has shrunk so small that we have to be very careful with our nationalisms.) (I do not trust that we will be careful enough, but that’s neither here nor there for today’s purposes.)
As states emerged executives and bureaucrats alike swiftly learned all of the power plays of the old churches, with the Magician priests — being accorded and accepting credit, privilege … for making it rain, for making the sun rise …
Christianity came along and taught that far from lubricating God’s messages to man, the old church blocked such messages, murdered angels, crucified the Messiah. Following Illich (and also being myself), I say nothing has changed: except that our woes have doubled. (And we’re twice as dumb for believing our own new promises under our new church.) We still have sacred priests to protect our children from, but now we have secular priests — secular priests coming out of the woodwork — with their hands not only in your children’s drawers, but in your wallet.
It rains, and now the secular priests drown out the sacred priests, drown out God, claiming credit, telling you how beholden you are to them.
Secular priests never see that they exhibit the same tendencies
as do the old spiritual priesthoods.
Church priests offer spiritual salvation: entrance to heaven, for example.
Eve never checked to see if Lucifer actually could deliver any of the things he promised her, she just believed him. Her belief was wrong in every detail.
Secular priests offer secular salvation: universal literacy, more money, an easier job, guaranteed medical interference …
Secular priests never see that they exhibit the same tendencies as do the old spiritual priesthoods.
Once upon a time we could be illiterate for free!
Once, joining a faith was voluntary. You went along because it made sense. Maybe it was true. Give it a try.
Once the faith is established, once its priesthood grows, enters an Nth generation, the church uses every opportunity to grab more power and to secure its position without increasing the plausibility of the faith! Indeed, the plausibility may erode. Thus states, schools, the AMA … become compulsory monopolies. You MUST believe in your nation state: even as you watch it napalm little girls with non-European skin. You MUST believe in compulsory schooling: even as ever more billions of dollars, and ever more years of study produce ever less literacy. Illiterates are stamped literate, certified by the state: and the public, the schmuck citizenry, MUST believe that another billion … and another year … will finally produce the magic.
Once upon a time we could be illiterate for free! Or, we could learn to read, learn our culture: cheap, cheap, cheap. All it took was wanting to, an absence of interference, and a little luck. (Literacy for example had to have become possible, an alphabet had to have been invented, one had to live in a culture where that was so …)
this part needs a fresh start, less petulance
Among all these secular priests, which do more damage than the teachers?
OK, that’s hyperbole. At the least, that’s moot. Point is: notice the damage. In the contemporary state school is compulsory. And the state trains the bulk of the teachers. The state also issues licenses: and what it can issue it can withhold, or revoke. The state decides what you, and your children, and your childrens’ children, will study, how long you will study it for, and who you will study it under. At no point is the state tested on its results. (Except as always, by nature, by truth, by reality: things people living under two sets of contradictory, mutually incompetent, dyed-from-the-go-dishonest churches have little conception of.)
But look, these points are all over Knatz.com, and InfoAll.org … I like how I’ve said some things here, I’ve been practicing long enough, I prefer how I said some of the same things elsewhere, decades ago … Point is to notice: the private schools, never perfect, have become more and more like the state schools, and the private schools — including universities, you fools — have come increasingly under the thumb of the state. (My Columbia never should have accepted that cyclotron from the fed in the 1940s!)
Small populations living in groups can teach their children what they want when convenience allows. Survival is the test of the wisdom of decisions. In modern society a host of strangers (without half your IQ in all likelihood) make all important decisions for you. If the group doesn’t like how you raise your children, you soon won’t have any children.
My son was taken from me, remember. (He still doesn’t seem to see anything wrong with it!)
Whoops, back up. I was pleased with my start, now I’m ranting, accelerating without my feet under me.