Escape from Clown World

Clown World

By Ron Scovell
About the author: Rob Scovell is a graduate of Edinburgh University with degrees in Astrophysics, Theology, and Mathematical Modelling. His interests are in political analysis and in bridging the illusory gap between Faith and Science. He is a classical liberal in a world where that position is under attack from both left and right-wing Identitarians.

The Internet has caught on to the fact that we live in a Clown World. It?s got to the point where all you can do is point and laugh at the sheer illogicality of what our thought-leaders and influencers have given us. I don?t need to give examples ? we all know all too well what I?m talking about!

This is what happens when you abandon thousands of years of accumulated wisdom about the human condition and deem it ?outdated?. Rousseau started it, with his banal ?blank slate? theory, and the postmodernists have refined it into what we suffer now.

All the ideologies of the past 200 years have roots in Rousseau. Communism tried to create the ?New Man? from fallible human material. Fascism tried to create, through exercise of the Will, the ??bermensch?. Fabian socialism, the ideology we are struggling under now, promises to remake human nature ?closer to our heart?s desire?.

The philosophical tradition of the West started with the pre-Socratic philosophers of ancient Greece. They sought to discern the Nature (phusis from which we get the words physics and metaphysics) of The Things that Are (ta onta — from which we get the word ontological). The Taoist philosophical tradition in the East has the same ethos. The Hebrew Wisdom tradition, found in several books of the Old Testament, sought to discern how to live in accordance with the true nature of the human condition.
How can three separate but similar traditions be declared ?out of date? when they span thousands of years?

We need to abandon this 200-year-old dead end before it destroys us all.
I am going to argue that the Orthodox Christian doctrine of the Trinity gives us a solid understanding of the ?nature of the things that are? and therefore gives us a way out of Clown World. Please bear with me through the theological content, even if it seems highly theoretical.

At the very heart of Orthodox Christianity is this statement of faith: We worship Father, Son and Holy Spirit, The Trinity, One in Essence and One in Being. This is, in a way, an equivalent proclamation to the ?Allahu Akbar? call to prayer that thousands of Kiwis listened to before the two minutes silence in March 2019.

This is how it works:

The Father
There is one fact we can rely on as a starting point: we exist. We exist as human beings in a cosmos that exists. Existence is a given. If you don?t believe you exist, then please stop reading: the rest of the article is not for you!

We exist, therefore our existence has a cause. That which caused our existence, we label ?The Father?. This is a very important and crucial point: we do not start with a belief in a supreme being and then posit that that being created the cosmos. We start from the knowledge of our own existence and name the cause of that existence, Father. Of course, you can posit that the cosmos is uncaused ? that it just came into being at random. That is your right. You can also ask the question, ?What caused the cause??, which is a valid question. The cause of our existence is necessarily mysterious ? how can we understand something that must necessarily be outside of the cosmos?
In the language of the Trinity, the Father is the cause and source of all that is, and that includes the Trinity itself.

The Son
Not only do we exist, but we exist in a cosmos that is ordered and logical. We can model it using mathematics and the laws of physics, which themselves are couched in mathematical terms. We can predict the movements of the planets. Whenever we dig deep into a scientific field of research, we see order at every level, with increasing degrees of intricacy. Everything holds together.

In the poetry of Genesis 1, we see this ordered structure being ?spoken? into existence by God the Father. At first, the created cosmos was ?without form and void?, until the Father ?speaks?, and order starts to appear. In both Jewish and Christian tradition, this Word gets personified, just like the creator-Father gets personified. In the Old Testament, the Word is also the Wisdom by which the cosmos was created ? tying in the physical structure of the cosmos with the structure of human relations discerned by someone with wisdom. In other words, there is a continuity between the physical structure of the cosmos and the moral structure of community life. The two cannot be separated. We are physical beings and our social structures ultimately emerge from our physical nature.

Orthodox Christianity makes a leap here ? and proclaims that the Word of God described in Genesis actually became a human being in Jesus Christ. This is where the idea of ?The Son? comes from. Obviously, it is a leap of logic and one which the philosophers in Athens were unable to take when St Paul preached to them.

The Holy Spirit
We live not only in a cosmos that exists and has ordered structure, but which contains life. Life has a cause, and Orthodox Christians call that cause, ?The Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life?. Again, we do not posit the existence of some being, and then attribute life-giving to that thing. No, we look at the existence of life and conclude that there must be a life-giver, and we call that life-giver the Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of God.

In Genesis, the Spirit of God is the one who ?hovered over the waters?, doing the work of creating order out of chaos, according to the pattern designed by the Word. This too accords with our experience of life and also accords with the scientific discoveries of the last century. Although the cosmos is ordered and structured, it is also not like clockwork, mechanistically ticking towards a pre-destined goal. There is still chaos, and it does take work to bring order out of chaos.

Quantum physics tells us that the state of the cosmos is undetermined until it is observed, at which point the ?probability function? collapses into the observed state. Remember, ?Holy Spirit? is just a label ? for that which works against chaos to bring life. We don?t know what ?it? is in ?itself? so we label it thus. (The ?preferred pronoun? of the Holy Spirit is ?He? but that?s a whole other topic and not relevant to this article.)

How does this relate to Clown World?
So far, this has been theological and theoretical, but we have also seen how the Christian language of the Trinity is an expression of how we experience the world and our life within it. If we want to find our way out of Clown World, we need to understand that our existence has a structured order but that work needs to be done to bring that structure out of the chaos.

We also need to align ourselves with the structured order, and not with the chaos. In Clown World, leaders align themselves with the chaos and bring us down with them.

This is why we need to go back to the Holy Scriptures as our guide for bringing life and order out of the chaos. And not just the Holy Scriptures. We need to return to learning about and understanding the great pre-modern philosophical traditions of both the West and the East: Aristotle, Plato, Lao-tze, Confucius, etc.
We need to reconnect with the mainstream of human understanding that we detached ourselves from 200 years ago.