Spirituality as a Necessary Mechanism of Society

In Adam Zamoyski’s highly acclaimed biography of Napoleon, one of the standout topics of interest for me was the Emperor’s views on spirituality and religion. A particularly striking sentence in the book is in reference to his views on communion. He ‘was not enough of a believer for it to be of any benefit, and yet too much of one to wish to coldly commit sacrilege’. After coming to power as First Consul in 1799, Napoleon, despite protests from the political Left, gradually reintroduced Catholicism into France, after 10 years of revolutionary terror. He did this to appease the rural poor – who made up the majority of the population and were ardently religious – and to take the political initiative away from the surviving members of the exiled Royal Family, who were promising the restoration of Christianity if they were allowed to return to power.

Having witnessed the backwardness of 18th century Corsica, the insanity of the far-Left Jacobins, and the incompetence of the Directory, Napoleon had become pragmatic on spirituality. He did not believe in all the religious practises of Christianity, yet he believed in monotheism, and understood the mechanism that spirituality provided in giving the masses morality and peace of mind. It is quite striking that when it comes to religion and spirituality itself, the continent of Europe these days, especially Czechia and Sweden, are now ardently atheist, and align quite strongly with some elements of the Jacobins of the 1790s.  It would have been unthinkable 200 years ago that such a fringe belief as atheism would have penetrated so effectively into the mainstream, yet that is exactly what it has done.

Napoleon’s famous quote ‘Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich’ demonstrated his understanding that most people can only accept the existence of inequality and other hard realities in our world if they believe that there is a higher reason for them. Otherwise if, as atheists believe, there is no afterlife, and this is our only existence, then why should anyone accept inequality? This appears to answer the question of how atheism spread so widely when paired with the dominant political drive of today: egalitarianism. The entire system of hierarchy, so essential to civilisation, always tends to buckle and collapse when this very question is asked. It happened in 1789 and 1917, and there is no doubt in our own period we are going through unnecessary madness brought about by people asking that question.

Spirituality and religion, and the belief in providence that goes with it, essentially helps to inoculate humans and their societies from revolutionary periods. If people believe that the inequality in our world happens because of a higher power or spiritual reason, they are less likely to fight against that inequality. There are some hierarchies that are bad of course and need to be changed, but what I am saying is that there must always be some form of hierarchy for stable and productive societies to maintain themselves, and spirituality helps to insure that.

Historians have long pointed out that the emergence of left-leaning atheist/agnostic literature in mid-18th century French cities was a major catalyst that helped cause the catastrophe of 1789. Similar printed pamphlets in Britain after 1815 also helped to create a left-leaning political momentum, which eventually lead to the Great Reform Act of 1832. Although revolutionary change in Britain occurred at a much more steady and bloodless rate than France (at least after 1689), the gradual secularisation and agnostic direction of society from the mid-18th century, coupled with the emergence of left-wing printed pamphlets, lead to a semi-revolutionary pillar that has been in existence ever since. In many ways the ‘march through the institutions’ is really a revolutionary spirit that emerges and effects society when spirituality is not a dominant force.

No doubt more is needed than faith, religion and worship to recover what has been lost in the 20th century, but they are still crucial factors nonetheless. The Pagan vs Christian battles that often occur on social media often miss the point. Whether one form of religion is better, completely true, or even which denomination within a religion provides the best moral purpose, are all questions for a later date. Our societies have been degraded so thoroughly, and Christian denominations have been liberalised so extensively, and our people broken down in so many ways, that teething stages are needed first.

The reality is that hierarchy is the system of nature, and indeed it is the hard truth of our reality. Spirituality in society helps people to accept that fact, because it gives a divine reason for something that is prevalent in all species and ages of history.

 

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Thurgood says:

    It’s a curious thing. Religion per se never left. The throne and alter reactionaries think the new religion is inferior, untrue, or fatally flawed relative to Catholicism or Orthodoxy; however, the idea that hierarchy was abandoned or that egalitarianism overtook towering social order is clearly nonsense. What are you, adherent of the now-old-ways? You are the bottom of the new social hierarchy. Who is on top of it? The elite men and women of progress cult, probably members of an ancient levantine cult or another insular ethny with strongly tribal morality. Where is the magisterial wonder, what about the cathedrals, and why is there no salvation, you ask? The media fills airwaves with the traditions of the new faith. Its cathedrals are all over, from public buildings to non-profits. Salvation is on offer, in-fact, but you must renounce those which you are unwilling to part ways with. Your old faith, your tribal identity, your immediate family, some sense of history in which your kind are anything but a villain, all of these must be given over and penance sought. Confessionals can be found in Youtube channels, psychiatrist offices, and more.

    If all you want for is reassurance, worry not. Order is preserved.

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    1. Arc of the Coven says:

      Ironically, perhaps, the author would be better off if he began with a Levelling.

      But then NRx always thinks it’s hip and edgy even as it advocates the least radical ideas of all time. “Save us from democracy!” cry the people. “Gladly,” reply the banks, corporations, intelligence agencies, and Congresspeople.

      Here’s a question: “If I get my way, who will benefit?”

      Use it as your polestar.

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  2. Liquid Phosphex says:

    Are you sure you want the throne and altar back? Because from what I’ve seen, the only states that haven’t abandoned throne and altar ideas are wannabe caliphates, a mafia that lets the most holy man in Russia enjoy his Rolex watches, or the human hive that is rewritting the bible to reflect ‘socialist values’ and plans on establishing a literal communist church. I get that the progressive PissEarth religion is no friend of ours, but to say that you want throne and altar back in the West when nobody is going to a proper church or believes in god, you might as well ask the Devil to take over things from here on out.

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  3. Fashy Dan says:

    Great article, but where’s the rest of it? It looks like you stopped after the intro.

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  4. Fashy Dan says:

    I’ll add that I think the other comments are a tad unfair. That there is indeed a new state religion, a perverse inversion of the old, sane hierarchy, is clear.

    That takes nothing away from the authors argument. We are spiritual beings, and the fact each of the pseudo-egalitarian atheist examples he gives degenerated into new forms of spirituality proves his point. Hierarchy, of course, didn’t end up going anywhere, so neither could religion.

    So where does that leave us? This could be the first page of a very interesting essay, but it doesn’t say much standing alone.

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