CHAPTER 12 - Creativity and the Structure of Society
Sociologism is a false sense of community, a community of individualistic disunion, a degraded community of men estranged from each other.
At the bottom of all the “politics” and all the “social construction” of our times there is an individualistic alienation and disunity. We are too social because we are too disunited and estranged one from another. Such disunity and estrangement create the necessity for an acute social sense.
We are too social because we are too disunited and estranged one from another. Such disunity and estrangement create the necessity for an acute social sense, and extreme sociologism of consciousness.
The opposite of metaphysical individualism is universalism, cosmism. This is an organic contrast. Man’s consciousness of himself as a microcosm, a consciousness of mans’s organic appurtenance to the cosmic hierarchy—this is a consciousness which excludes the possibility of any individualism, any disunion.
The crux of the problem is whether we should accept both society and personality, ontologically and cosmically. The social consciousness now prevailing hides the creative secret of communion because it denies and does not wish to know the cosmic nature of man and of society; it breaks away from the organic roots of communion. Man, isolated in the exclusively human, and in exclusively human relationships, cannot know the secret of communion.
All the politics of this world, reactionary or revolutionary, liberal or radical, is obedience, rather than creativeness. “Politics” is not real, in the final, metaphysical sense of that word, and it is not radical—it does not touch the roots of being. “Politics” remains on the surface and sets up an illusory being. “Politics” forms part of general culture, but it is not the way to a new world, to a new life.
Every legal system is a legalization of man’s distrust of man: it is constant fear, constant expectation of a blow in the back. Existence under state law is the existence of combatants.
The Gospel itself preaches freedom from constant anxiety about how one’s life should be ordered. The Gospel feeling for life is neither economic nor state: we do not feel in it the heaviness of sin but rather the easement of redemption. Communion in the Spirit of Christ knows no anxiety and worry, either state or economic.
The way to new life leads through heroic and sacrificial action. The way to a new life for mankind, to communion in the Spirit, can lead only through collective, œcumenical sacrificial action, through renunciation of that security and sense of comfortable order which is provided by the ancient social consciousness of the world.
A Christian state is a monstrous impossibility, an attempt to unite the un-unitable. The state is not a revelation of communion; it is rather an expression of the world’s want of communion, the world’s non-cosmic situation.
The element of power in this world is the source of one of the temptations which Christ resisted in the wilderness. The state is always forgetting its negative origins and its negative nature: it claims to be the positive kingdom of this world, an earthly city. This temptation to imperialism lies in wait for every state. In essence not creative, the state claims to be an absolute kingdom and thus becomes the foe of every creative movement, by the law denouncing not sin, but creativity. Every condemnation of creativeness itself becomes sin.
Every Christian theocracy has resulted in retaining life, falsely and by force, in the outer court of the church: this hindered the free revelation of humanity, its free reunion with God.
It is too often forgotten that Christians do not have a city here. They seek a city which is to come. This earth had not yet seen the Christian city. The creativeness of the new city cannot be built on the ancient elements of social order, the state, the law, economics, elements which after all are of the world’s pre-creative epoch.
Men of a creative spirit are not revolutionaries in the social-mechanical sense of that word. Theirs is another sort of revolution, measurelessly more radical, more organic.
Creativity builds a new man and a new cosmos, new communion of man with man, of man with the cosmos.
The way to all creativity lies through readiness to sacrifice.
Regarding the Kingdom not of this earth, the creative society is subterranean, of the catacombs. It is not a kingdom of this world; it overcomes the word, sacrifices its goods for the sake of another, freer life.
The creation of a new communion or communality presupposes an anthropological revelation , a revelation of divine humanity, a Christology of humanity. The final anthropological secret will be revealed not in obedience, but in creativeness. In creativeness will be revealed the mystery of society, the mystery of a new communion in love, communion in the Spirit, communion not only human but cosmic as well.
Equality just by itself has no value. Equality is an evil when in its name high qualities are destroyed and the greatness of individuality is rejected. Democratism exerts itself to make quality subject to quantity, the individual to the general, the great to the average. Individualism, with all its precious qualities, predicates an organic hierarchism of the world rather than leveling mechanism. Vocation and greatness in the world are possible only in the case that there is an organic hierarchy in the world.
Christianity recognizes the equal value of all human souls before God, not only the equal value by the absolute value of all souls.
In its mystic sense, Christianity is not at all democratic: it is genuinely inwardly hierarchic and aristocratic. Recognition of the inner man and his unique individual qualities, his unique vocation and place in the world, predicates the metaphysical recognition of the aristocratic inward structure of the world, its hierarchic organism. This true metaphysical hierarchism and aristocratism has always been the source of all greatness in the world, all heightening of the qualities and values of human life, all movement in the world. Only genuine aristocratism, aristocratism of the inner man rather than his external bourgeois situation, can be a dynamic, creative and revolutionary principle. Aristocracy is the only necessary, desirable, normal, cosmic form of authority in the world, since this is the authority of the inner man, the authority of the great and of those called to authority. This is the aristocracy of sacrificial service.
This does not deny the meaning of law, for you cannot constrain man to the organic, you cannot compel love. Law protects freedom in an epoch of disunion.
Civilization has developed gigantic technical forces which ought, by their intention, to prepare man’s complete reign over nature. But the technical forces of civilization lord it over man, make him their slave and kill his spirit. Modern man understands only partly the nature of the technical forces of civilization which he is developing. The magic character of these forces remains unknown to modern man. There is created a milieu of magic which bewitches the soul of man, a milieu of human living not without peril for spirit, mind and body.
The new city can never be created out of elements of the old social order. The ways to the new city are neither conservative nor evolutionary nor revolutionary. In order that the City of God should reign in the world, all the old social order must burn up—the state, every law, every economy. The new social order will be created, in the “worldly” sense, out of nothing, from other sources which lie outside the world’s social evolution, out of Spirit rather than out of the world. We cannot place our hopes on any social force or class, on any historic force, but only on personality reborn in the Spirit.
The radical mistake of all those seeking after a religious social order is just this hope of procuring a new social order out of the old. The way to the New Jerusalem is a way of sacrifice. It is written that it will come down from heaven, which means that it will not be created out of elements of “the world.” The new city is the church which is to be created, created in Spirit, outside the evolution of the world.
The new creative religious social order is not theocracy, neither is it anarchism, nor the order of the state nor socialism: it is inexpressible in the categories of “the world,” untranslatable into the language of the physical plane of life. The Kingdom of God will come unperceived by “the world,” and man will enter it only in the measure of his growth in Spirit.
All the rationalistic disputations about the thousand-year reign of Christ must be cast aside. Will the thousand-year reign of Christ be on earth or in heaven, in this world or in another, in the material or only in Spirit? The Kingdom of Christ is something outside the evolution of the world. The Kingdom of God will not be born of the elements of “this world.” But this does not mean that the Kingdom of Christ will not be on earth, for the earth is not only physical, but metaphysical; our earth belongs to another world, it belongs to eternity. In the same way our delicate transfigured body belongs to another world, to eternity. And the religious social order will be born not of the physical but of the spiritual body. The New Jerusalem will appear catastrophically, not by evolution; out of the creation of the spirit of divine humanity, rather than out of “the world,” out of the old social order. But the New Jerusalem will be on earth and revealed in the flesh, though not in the physical but rather in the transfigured flesh.