The Miracle

Scott Alexander just published a fantastic essay, which you should read:  Meditations on Moloch.

In it, he takes a problem, points out that it is not just a problem but a terrifying, probably unsolveable problem, and then raises a…lackluster solution.

Moloch is the personification of unfortunate consequences of game theory that promote misery, betrayal, small-mindedness, hatred.  Gnon is the personification of causality, who rules by definition.

Moloch as such is manifest in the small grumbles of everyday life—patent trolls, attractive guys being jerks and attractive girls being insane, good art being unpopular, and the existence of “One Weird Trick” ads.

Gnon has been named and invoked by neoreactionaries as causality deified, and is liberal with his bestowal of schadenfreude (and as such is memetically fit).  Neoreactionaries (including myself) advocate respect for Gnon, because to do otherwise is to die.  Gnon always wins.

Where Alexander transmutes Moloch from a paltry heathen god or the Hurried Pace of Modern Life to Cthulhu is when it is revealed that Moloch and Gnon are one and the same.  Cthulhu is the source of the Cathedral, Gnon is the source of patriarchy.  They operate in the same way, and since these are personified concepts rather than actual people (mortal or otherwise), to be alike is to be one.

Offered in opposition to these blind watchmakers is Elua, who is the only one of these persons who acts like an actual person.  Given the juxtaposition it’s easy to mistake Elua for another deified natural phenomenon (*all* of which, it turns out, are but aspects of Cthulhu), but the lie is put to that when we see that on any issue, Elua’s desires are the same as humans’.  That is, after all, what he or she is.  Elua is a human.

Unfortunately, Gnon wins by definition, where Elua only wins sometimes.  If we were to witness Elua winning out over Gnon, then we would in fact be seeing just another instance where they happen to agree.

Unless Gnon were conscious.  Unless Gnon was in fact Elua.  Unless the laws of causality could be bent.  In our favor.  I would call this…a miracle.

And so we come to Christianity, by roads we (or at least I) did not expect.  We find ourselves Completely Screwed, unless Gnon just happens to be a human.  And to ask the question is to answer it: we find a guy in the middle east two thousand years ago, claiming to be both the Lord of Hosts and the Son of Man.  Gnon and Elua.  And performing many miracles.  And beating Oblivion itself by coming back.

This isn’t a proselytizing post, unless I guess you want it to be.  It’s more a description of the conflict I feel in what there is of the neoreactionary community when we discuss “what is to be done.”  We debate on government but it’s not enough to get just the right government, because you can’t govern an ungovernable people.  But neither can we rely on simple virtus because, well, we’re humans.  We need God, and specifically Christ.  I am not writing this out of the blue, I am simply answering the question SA posed in his essay.  And I’m sorry if this isn’t the answer you wanted, but if you think about it, all the other ones are much, much worse.

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5 comments on “The Miracle

  1. m50d says:

    Thank you for at least writing a clear response in plain language. That’s more than many managed.

    Why Christ specifically, rather than say Islam? Islam had been better at enforcing the likes of patriachy in the modern world. The connection between Christianity and Victorian England seems mostly am accident of history – in previous centuries Islam has similar success stories.

    And I don’t see how we could revive any religion without sacrificing too much. The scientific worldview is valuable, or at least the resulting technology is. Innovation requires a tolerance of freethinking. And with modern communication and recording technology (which I would not want to sacrifice) it’s clear to everyone that miracles aren’t happening, which makes it hard to believe in any interventionist deity.

    • Thanks for your response.

      I’m not approaching this from a utilitarian societal engineering mindset, and I don’t think anyone should. The thing that’s good about neoreaction is that it is the current home of truth* on the internet, and I don’t think that’s worth giving up. So I’m not advocating picking a religion for its salient effects on civilization and then trying to make it a thing. I agree that by that metric one could probably split the difference between Christianity, Islam, and Enki-worship. But then we’re just creating a new Cathedral.

      No, the motivation behind this post is to point out that there is a conveniently (or inconveniently) Christ-shaped hole in our world. That in itself is not “proof” of Christianity—there is no such thing. But my hope is that some smart person—certainly too smart to be taken in by religion, with all its frauds and liars—might match the hole with the guy in Jerusalem and think, “I have no proof of Christianity, but wouldn’t it be nice…”

      I am hoping that smart person might allow themselves to consider the possibility that Christianity is true, not merely useful.

      As to the scientific worldview, I agree that it is valuable and should not be given up—but let’s get something straight: It is us channeling Moloch—or rather, channeling Gnon, which amounts to the same thing. Dispassion is a virtue in a scientist—but not in a human being. Science is not our friend. It’s not our enemy either, of course, but it will not save us.

      The problem is not the scientific worldview. The problem is that we’re the ones having it. Make a tool for people to defend themselves, and some will use it to start mugging the others, be that tool guns, mortgage-backed securities, or statistics.

      Say that we discover novel new solutions for solving prisoners’ dilemmas and other teeth of Moloch. What’s to stop someone from using them to create a better, more cohesive, more cooperative…army?

      Thanks for your comment.

      *or our best approximation of it

    • Lesser Bull says:

      When he said we need a God become Man, he didn’t mean that we need a better engineered religious function that better adapts to our human attributes across multiple psychological platforms. He meant we need a God become Man.

  2. […] gets both philosophical and religious with The Miracle. Not an easy read, but some might find it interesting, especially those interesting in more […]

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