The Importance of Dispassion

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God forbid that we should ever see a #Christianlivesmatter movement. 

What faster way to rob people of their temporal or spiritual salvation than to encourage them to sublimate their identity into that of a political movement?

It is bad enough to hold your prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude accountable to a congregation – but now imagine a Church governed only by its congregation – perhaps with a bit of sinister guidance from the media and extrinsic commercial interests.

Suddenly, the individual is prostrated before a thousand disparate hot-button issues, feeling their own identity under attack when someone else’s altarpiece is desecrated. To question the purity of anyone else’s intentions or the effectiveness of their means risks ostracisation. Some sensed trouble coming. When the individual matters less than the group, the riot isn’t far behind.

There is much fear within politically correct movements. It is the same fear which grips party cadres in any despotic regime. I spent a couple of years embroiled with the machinery of China’s state censorship. Governed by the understanding that a false move or opinion can get them expelled, once you’ve met one communist official you’ve more or less met them all. There is also great courage and bravery in circles where the slightest sign of dissent carries enormous risks. But, alas, gains to the dissident’s soul are unlikely to correspond to influence within a group whose homogenous means are their ends.

The social media which everyone has doubtless piled on to over the lockdown is an incredibly effective incendiary of this mob. When people start pouring their lives on to the record, the temptation is to self-censor according to the sensibilities of those around them. The result is ever narrowing parameters of acceptable thought and, one suspects, possible thought. Thus the gestalt gathered in spiritual conformity around the Ouija board of online discourse and waited for the spirit of CNN to descend.

This particular blaze was sparked by a murder in the USA. It was awful. Justice will doubtless be served.

The global response from the usual crowd of serine peace-loving activists, however, will not assuage their thousand grudges. Rallying around pretexts of race, climate, or the ism of the day – the crowd’s social endorsement may feel good enough to assuage the individual, but it is not love – far less tolerance.

Everyone, through their oppression or privilege or race or sexuality, is expected to aspire to some utopian equalisation on pain of being a ghastly bigot. This coercion applies to the very people who they pretend to care about. Joe Biden (a white), opined that you are not black if you support Trump. Shaun Bailey – a black Londoner on whose parliamentary campaign I worked in 2010 – was accused of being a ‘coconut,’ which is what a black person calls another black person when they want to insult them for being ‘white on the inside.’ Bailey, you see, was a Conservative. Just as he was guilty of cooperating outside of his racially designated ideological sheepfold, I am probably guilty of tokenism for collaborating with him. If you can denounce this Maoist thuggery for what it is, you should while you still can.

But this sham religion won’t collapse with its successive premises. Ultimately, we have to free the souls it incorporates from a cult which drives its individuals to shout louder and louder as their voices are lost within the whole. 

BLM are in crisis because on some level or another they haven’t forgotten that all lives matter yet, as individuals, they have functionally ceased to exist. That’s why they keep shouting louder.

“From practice of the virtues grows the precious flower of dispassion. The offspring of dispassion is love, which is the fulfilment of all the commandments” – St. Theodoros the Ascetic