“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing them into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” – 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
If you were to borrow a microphone at a movie theater or a rock and roll concert before the show and ask people if they have ever heard of Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean Paul- Sartre, Aleister Crowley, or even Alan Moore, many will probably say no.
Why should they care? To paraphrase a cultural aphorism, who frankly gives a rip?
After all, we already have enough problems in the world and we don’t want to multiply our problems by thinking about ideas which on the surface do not seem to correspond to our world. We are living in a material world where the hustle and bustle of everyday life seem to get the best of us.
Yet whether we like it or not, ideas, as the late Richard M. Weaver pointed out, do have consequences and affect our lives tremendously. Ideas, August Comte tells us, “govern the world or throw it into chaos.” If ideas can throw the world into chaos, then the people who created those ideas can hardly be ignored. If that is the case, what are we to do?
Ravi Zacharias accurately argues that our way of life comes to us on basically three levels (to make it short, only two will be mentioned here). The first level deals with theoretical ideas, and it is where we engage in metaphysical questions and where writers and thinkers have focused their attention since the time of Plato and Aristotle. But let’s get real here.
Most people go about living their lives without caring or even being aware that people like Plato or Aristotle ever existed or that their ideas largely constitute the fabric of Western Civilization. So this level does not appeal to many people and has attracted mostly intellectuals.
The second level is the art. It is where ideas are morphed into images (including music) and images in turn shape perhaps half of our lives, whether we are aware of it or not.
Tom Hanks admitted, “I think that when the film industry can capture an idea and make it glamorous and gorgeous, so that the audience isn’t even aware that they’re embracing something they never would have embraced before, then, yes, the film as a social motor can inaugurate some kind of change.” Lenin also learned that very quickly. “One quick way to destroy a society,” he said, “is through its music.”
In other words, a person can learn about Nietzsche through the arts without being aware that there was such a person named Nietzsche, and a person can inject a Weltanschuung in his art without even telling his viewers.
This was one reason why Aristotle declared that music ought to be regulated, for he knew that it could be used as a powerful weapon in bringing about cultural changes. Plato himself declared in his famous work Laws,
“Through foolishness they [the people] deceived themselves into thinking that there was no right or wrong way in music, that it was to be judged good or bad by the pleasure it gave… [As it was,] the criterion was not music, but a reputation for promiscuous cleverness and a spirit of law-breaking.”
Fast forward thousands of years later, the most revolutionary individual in Hollywood who has harnessed the revolutionary power of the “art” in order to implicitly attack Western Culture is arguably Jewish director David Cronenberg.
He is revolutionary in the sense that he uses pornography in nearly all his films to get his point across. For Cronenberg, what is up is really down, and what is down is actually up.
Evil is good, and good is evil. “The minute you say evil,” Cronenberg told one Rolling Stone interviewer some years ago, “I think Christianity. I don’t throw [the word evil] around, and it may not be something I even believe in.” If Cronenberg does not believe in evil, then destroying lives through pornography is a good thing.
Then Cronenberg dropped the atomic bomb, a bomb which seems to be the quintessential philosophy that makes up all of Cronenberg’s films—including his recent film Cosmopolis, starring Robert Pattinson of the Twilight saga. He said:
“I’m positing art as a means of coming to terms with death. Yes. I´m putting art in opposition to religion [Christianity, of course]—or as a replacement of religion, in the sense that if religion is used to allow you to come to terms with death, and also to guide you how to live your life, then I think that art can do the same thing. But in a much less schematic way, in a much less rigid and absolute way.”
Where did Cronenberg get those ideas? Well, as E. Michael Jones would have said, the metaphysical and categorical source of those ideas came from the rejection of Logos (Jesus Christ), who is the source for order, harmony, good art, logic, and reason.
Once Logos has been pushed aside, pornography is no longer an abstract principle as in Freud’s psychoanalysis, but is a psychological weapon aimed at the heart of Christianity and Western Culture. We will come back to Cronenberg in a specific article, but Cronenberg was a follower of William S. Burroughs and Sigmund Freud and got most of his ideas from them.
The point is that an abstract idea can attract only a few people, but images can do a better job. As Zacharias puts it,
“Existentialist philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus did not waste their time establishing syllogisms. They harnessed their passion of an empty world within the human psyche and fused it with their own ethos, effecting the mood and feeling of an educated heard… Through technology the whole world has now become the media’s parish, talk-show hosts the prophets, actors and musicians the priests, and any script will do for the Scriptures as long as moral constraints are removed.”
Nietzsche, being a secular prophet, postulated that the modern revival would have to be on level two, since this is where almost everyone can get on board. Nietzsche proclaimed the death of God and placed man in His place, and even put a curse on Christianity in his book The Anti-Christ.
E. Michael Jones argues quite convincingly in Dionysos Rising: The Birth of Cultural Revolution out of the Spirit of Music that Nietzsche deliberately infected himself with syphilis in a form of demonic pact. By taking this route, Nietzsche became a revolutionary in the literal sense of the word.
At the end of his life, Nietzsche became a deserted intellectual and died in a state of madness. He was arguably the loneliest thinker of the nineteenth century—more miserable than Arthur Schopenhaur, who also got syphilis probably because of his misogynistic ideas toward his own mother.
But there was some honesty in Nietzsche. Unlike Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris or (the late) Christopher Hitchens who keep postulating that moral values can exist without God, Nietzsche made it clear that if God is dead, anything is permitted.
If God is dead, you can slash your mother in law with a kitchen knife, you can rape and torture little children for fun, you can destroy people’s lives with fabrications, and that would be all right. In some sense, Richard Dawkins indirectly ends up saying the same thing in River out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life.
Dawkins declares, “In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice.
The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference…DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.”
According to the logic of this principle, Stalin or Hitler or Mao didn’t do anything wrong; it was good that they had to execute millions of people. They were just dancing to their DNA.
But in The God Delusion, the book that made the Oxford don a celebrity, Dawkins violates his own principles by postulating that “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
Unpleasant? Petty? Unjust? Ethnic cleanser? How did those moral judgments subtly slip into the equation? Why is Dawkins so judgmental? I thought there were no good and no evil? Could it be that the God of the Old Testament was just dancing to His DNA?
Why is Dawkins so jealous in not letting the God of the Old Testament have His way? Moreover, if He doesn’t exist, why would a person of Dawkins’ caliber be mad about someone who doesn’t even exist? Could it be that Dawkins was implicitly appealing to a transcendent moral law that is independent of what he and others like?
This indirectly was the kind of problem that H. G. Wells could not explain to us in any rational fashion. He wrote,
“Never had I hated God so intensely…I have a sort of love for most living things, but cannot recall anytime in my life when I had the faintest shadow of an intimation or love for any one of the persons in the Holy Trinity…But God, you are not much of a man. Leave me alone at any rate. Else I will canvass against you. I will make your position unbearable. I will jeer and make a mock of you.”
With all respect to Wells, one needn’t be an intellectual to see that this idea is patently nonsense. In order to hate a person, that person by definition must exist. But Wells was an atheist!
Let’s conclude this with an illustration. Suppose you walk the streets of Manhattan and come across a person who is constantly talking to himself although nobody is around.
So you approach him and ask, “What’s going on, dude? Why are you talking to yourself?” He answers, “I am angry with my wife.” Further into the conversation, however, you realize that the man never had a wife.
You then ask, “How can you be angry with an imaginary wife?” Suppose that the man says, “Life doesn’t seem fair.” Would you be satisfied with such an answer? You would immediately think that the guy is at least out of touch with reality, if not “mentally challenged.”
Neither Dawkins nor Wells lacked the mental sophistication to see the contradictions that exist in their own system, but their ideological hermeneutic did not allow them to take a reasonable step. Wells is dead, but Dawkins has to take his pick: either there are good and evil or there aren’t. If there is a third alternative, he should let us know. So far he hasn’t, and we are still waiting.
The only difference between Dawkins and Nietzsche is that Nietzsche got guts, and Nietzsche should be applauded for that. But to return to our point, if God is dead, it is all right to lie to your friend, even though that big or small lie might lead the person to his or her own her death. As Nietzsche put it,
“To be truthful means using the customary metaphor—in moral terms: the obligation to lie according to a fixed convention, to lie herd-like in a style obligatory for all.”
From this principle, it follows that morality is an illusion, truth a myth; and a lie is perhaps the best “truth” that will liberate mankind from the shackles of morality, most specifically the morality that stems from Christianity. This madness was a call to overthrow all values, wherever values are found—whether they be tribal or universal. To paraphrase Nietzsche, it is the transvaluation of all values.
Nietzsche declared in The Birth of Tragedy:
“Yes, my friends, believe with me in the Dionysian life and in the rebirth of tragedy. The age of the Socratic man is over; crown yourselves with ivy, take the thyrsus stalk in your hand…You are to lead the Dionysian celebratory procession from India to Greece! Arm yourselves for a hard battle, but have faith in the miracles of your god!”
Who, then, was Dionysus?
It was the Greek god of wine and revelry, and Apollo was the god of the art. And Nietzsche’s choice of Dionysus and Apollo as figurehead to his new religion was a specific one—as god of drama, music, poetry, theater, etc., Nietzsche knew all too well that this would bring about the transvaluation of all values. He later declared that “the fight against Christianity is merely a special case.”
Nietzsche longed to see the cultural revolution, but he died in despair. He died in 1900 at the age of 55. If only he could have held on for another sixty or seventy years, he would have seen flashes of the cultural revolution in America and Europe during the hippie movement.
Nietzsche’s problem with the Christian morality was not that he considered it to be inconsistent. Quite the contrary, he unequivocally declared that,
“Christianity is a system, a consistently thought out and complete view of things. If one breaks out of it a fundamental idea, the belief in God, one thereby breaks the whole thing to pieces: one has nothing of any consequence left in one’s hands.”
In Thus Spake Zarathustra, he tries to overthrow the Christian worldview by declaring that mankind only needs to listen to the oracles of Zarathustra to survive. Zarathustra, now replacing God, adjures all men to “remain true to the earth, and believe not those [Christians] who speak unto you of superearthly hope! Poisoners are they, whether they know it or not. Despisers of life are they, decaying ones and poisoned ones themselves, of whom the earth is weary, so away with them!”
Lastly, Nietzsche declared in The Anti-Christ:
“This eternal accusation against Christianity I shall write upon all walls, wherever walls are to be found…I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity, the one great instinct of revenge, for which no means are venomous enough, or secret, subterranean and small enough—I call it the one immortal blemish upon the human race.”
Of course, saying things like that is not going to attract many people. Generally the average man is not going to pick up a book by Nietzsche and starts reciting the oracles of Zarathustra.
In order to turn those statements into sweet and delicious orange juice, it has to be disguised; it has to be crafty; and it has to be in the form of the art or films.
Who can actually do that for us? Who is able to answer Nietzsche’s call? The Wachowski brothers—or, shall we say more accurately, Andy and Lana Wachowski.
Screenwriter Brian Godawa pointed out that the Wachowskis themselves admit that the ideas for The Matrix trilogy largely came from Nietzsche’s writings.
The Wachowskis declared, “It’s all there in Nietzsche, man. We dwell in the dominion of truth and are marshalling our armies of metonyms and anthropomorphisms into our future work.” Marshalling our armies? Are we in a war? Well, for the Wachowskis, we are.
At the end of the Matrix Revolution, the third movie, Agent Smith declares that truth and love are “vagaries of perception. Temporary constructs of feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning and purpose. And all of them as artificial as the Matrix itself. Although it’s only a human mind that invents something as insipid as love.” This is Nietzsche in a new garb.
Don’t forget the principle here, if God is dead, then man is in charge. What do we see at the end of The Matrix? Neo, the inversion of Christ, died to save “Zion.” And The Architect said when Neo died, “It is done.” This was Christ’s last words when He died on the cross. The Matrix is littered with biblical languages, but as Joe Schimmel pointed out, at their eventual root those languages are Gnostic inversions of Christianity.
But this is not just happening in The Matrix. For example, in V for Vendetta, when the main character V is introducing himself to Evey, he says, “The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous.” Sounds poetic.
But who wrote the comic book upon which the movie was based? The legendary Alan Moore, a devout follower of Aleister Crowley. Moore declared that “the actual religion Christianity is obviously something that is completely soul-destroying.” And who were the screenwriters and producers for V for Vendetta? The Wachowskis. And once again in the movie V keeps telling Evey that “lies can be used to tell the truth.”
Indeed, truth has been outnumbered in the culture war. But falsehood or lies cannot and will not thrive forever. In the end, truth will triumph. And for Christians in particular this is good news. The Apostle Paul declares that “I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecution, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
E. Michael Jones rightly pointed out that if weakness means strength for Paul, then strength is a bad sign for the enemy of truth. In other words, when the enemy is strong, that is when he is the most vulnerable.
C. S. Lewis declared that Christians are living in an “Enemy-occupied territory” and Christianity is calling everyone “to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.” That campaign of sabotage includes denouncing bad art for what it is and praising good art for what it is. The Hobbit that just came out last December is a glance of what good art should represent.
What are we to do? In the cultural and spiritual war, stay away from complete falsehood. As Alexander Solzhenitsyn poignantly put it, “Our way must be: never knowingly support lies! Having understood where the lies begin—step back from that gangrenous edge!
Let us not glue back the flaking scale of the Ideology, not gather back its crumbling bones, nor patch together its decomposing garb, and we will be amazed how swiftly and helplessly the lies will fall away, and that which is destined to be naked will be exposed as such to the world.”
With that note, our next article will be “Escape from the Zionist Matrix.”