When was the last time you received an awkward compliment? How did you respond? How would you respond to this one? “Father’s homilies are really distinctive—they have a beginning, a middle, and an end!”
What do you think the speaker was getting at? Perhaps he was referring to a kind of public speaking (I wouldn’t call it “preaching”) that is illustrated by “The Three C’s—Commence, Continue, Cease.” The speaking starts and eventually stops, but it doesn’t go anywhere. It doesn’t constitute a whole, and it is not a vehicle to greater understanding.
I imagine that many times, after witnessing yet another such display from a pulpit, we think to ourselves, “Well, that was useless—but at least it didn’t take very long!”
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Can we take the dynamic of The Three C’s and apply it to human history? We can say that human history has commenced; it continues; it will cease. Can we summarize human history then as was done by Ernest Nagel, who described human history as, “an episode between two oblivions”?
These are broad and deep questions that I’ve addressed elsewhere, especially in my books and lectures. Here, I want to focus on a specific time and trend in human history, i.e., the progressive impulse toward annihilation.
I will sketch below the route that human history has been following. I don’t like where we are headed. We’re running out of goods to reject or destroy. We’re almost at the point of no return. I’m thinking now of the ominous signs indicating the onset of the New Jersey Turnpike: Last Exit Before Toll. We need to put on our turn signal and move to the exit ramp while there’s still time. We can’t afford to get this wrong.
Consider this timeline:
- 1517: Martin Luther rejects the Church.
- 1789: The French Revolution rejects Christ.
- 19th Century: Darwin and Marx reject the Creator.
- 1960s: The Sexual Revolution—separating sex from fertility, no longer reserving sex for marriage, curtailing or excluding fertility within marriage. The Sexual Revolution denies human nature across its physical, spiritual, and social dimensions.
This timeline represents the progressive evacuation of the divine and the human, which I describe as a process of incremental annihilation. This dynamic, already far-reaching, begins to broaden in scope. The past and the future must be eradicated. Thus, we see:
- 1970s: The rise of the abortion cult. This is a consequence of the contraception cult. Where the future cannot be cancelled (contraception), it must be killed (abortion).
- 2000s: The past as enemy—cultural amnesia is induced by a variety of methods, including revisionist narratives, “reimagining” historical events, and, more recently, the removal of monuments, names, symbols, and even corpses.
- 2010s: The remaking and erasure of the individual. The individual (sacred in Christianity; one among the undifferentiated masses in Marxism) cut off from past, future, and fellows, has nothing left but an unsatisfied and unsatisfactory self.
The isolated individual rejects the self as having been found in “the wrong body” (transgenderism) or “the wrong species” (variously known as transspeciesism, such that one identifies as an “otherkin” or a “furry,” i.e., as a member of a non-human species). Or the unsatisfactory and unsatisfied self rejects the limitations of body and mind and so advocates for transhumanism, with the individual “augmented” by various technologies in a man/machine hybrid.
- 2020s: Narcissistic cannibalism—the unsatisfactory, unsatisfied yet self-obsessed individual is running out of realities to reject, alter, or destroy. Caught in the grip of enraged and insatiable disappointment, the empty self demands that remaining realities be destroyed more completely, more absolutely. So now we see the narcissist step into a kind of cannibalism. That which is affiliated with the failed human project must be absorbed into the empty and implacable self.
The narcissistic cannibal, caught in an unbearable present, aims his appetitive rage at the past and the future. We see this repudiation of the past in the recent advocacy of human composting. The human body and all that it represented may be broken down into its component parts and then absorbed by the hungry living. At the same time, we are being urged to cannibalize our future by reducing our children to the status of sexual consumables by normalizing pedophilia. The narcissistic cannibal, caught in an unbearable present, aims his appetitive rage at the past and the future.Tweet This
The human rejection of God and man, the destruction and even the devouring of the past and future—these lead to the nihilistic dynamic described above, that of “Commence, Continue, Cease.” On this view, there can be no proper beginning, middle, and end of the human story. It doesn’t go anywhere or mean anything. It will simply cease when there is nothing left to eradicate.
Shakespeare’s Macbeth caricatures human life as, “…a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Is this not a poetic summary of human life as an “episode between two oblivions”—a story that results in nothing? This 500-year-long tale of narcissistic nihilism, ending finally in a comprehensive cannibalism, is a perverse inversion of the Church’s “Fiat” (Luke 1:38) and her “Nunc dimittis” (Luke 2:29)—it is a complete rejection of divine gift and promise. The tellers of this tale may be human, but its author is a spirit, namely, Satan.