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Author Topic:   The Dark Mountain Project: Secularism Gets Sober
Phat
Member
Posts: 13930
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 1 of 27 (862014)
08-30-2019 4:00 PM


I read an interesting pamphlet...(not so much a book) called The dark Mountain Project.

Tangle--you and some others have criticized the fundementalists and charismatic-loons (such as myself) into a category of negative thinking, disaster-hoping miscreants who are depressed about their own lives and who prefer fantasy over reality. I just wanted you to know that there are some serious thinkers out there who have educations rivaling your own and who are most certainly not religious. (Faith, you also may find this interesting. I urge you to give their efforts serious consideration. Fixing the planet is not so simple as abolishing bronze age myths...in fact, should any of this happen, these beliefs will only get stronger. )

They too warn of a coming apocalyptic event (or series of events) and present their case here. This is Chapter One, and I won't bother quoting any more of their site...go and examine it for yourself or do as they predict that you will and bury your head in the sand, along with the rest of civilized society.
Walkingf On Lava

quote:
Those who witness extreme social collapse at first hand seldom describe any deep revelation about the truths of human existence. What they do mention, if asked, is their surprise at how easy it is to die.

The pattern of ordinary life, in which so much stays the same from one day to the next, disguises the fragility of its fabric. How many of our activities are made possible by the impression of stability that pattern gives? So long as it repeats, or varies steadily enough, we are able to plan for tomorrow as if all the things we rely on and don’t think about too carefully will still be there. When the pattern is broken, by civil war or natural disaster or the smaller-scale tragedies that tear at its fabric, many of those activities become impossible or meaningless, while simply meeting needs we once took for granted may occupy much of our lives.

What war correspondents and relief workers report is not only the fragility of the fabric but the speed with which it can unravel. As we write this, no one can say with certainty where the unraveling of the financial and commercial fabric of our economies will end. Meanwhile, beyond the cities, unchecked industrial exploitation frays the material basis of life in many parts of the world, and pulls at the ecological systems which sustain it.

Precarious as this moment may be, however, an awareness of the fragility of what we call civilization is nothing new.

‘Few men realise,’ wrote Joseph Conrad in 1896, ‘that their life, the very essence of their character, their capabilities and their audacities, are only the expression of their belief in the safety of their surroundings.’ Conrad’s writings exposed the civilisation exported by European imperialists to be little more than a comforting illusion, not only in the dark, unconquerable heart of Africa, but in the whited sepulchres of their capital cities. The inhabitants of that civilisation believed ‘blindly in the irresistible force of its institutions and its morals, in the power of its police and of its opinion,’ but their confidence could be maintained only by the seeming solidity of the crowd of like-minded believers surrounding them. Outside the walls, the wild remained as close to the surface as blood under skin, though the city-dweller was no longer equipped to face it directly.

Bertrand Russell caught this vein in Conrad’s worldview, suggesting that the novelist ‘thought of civilized and morally tolerable human life as a dangerous walk on a thin crust of barely cooled lava which at any moment might break and let the unwary sink into fiery depths.’ What both Russell and Conrad were getting at was a simple fact which any historian could confirm: human civilization is an intensely fragile construction. It is built on little more than belief: belief in the rightness of its values; belief in the strength of its system of law and order; belief in its currency; above all, perhaps, belief in its future.

Once that belief begins to crumble, the collapse of a civilization may become unstoppable. That civilisations fall, sooner or later, is as much a law of history as gravity is a law of physics. What remains after the fall is a wild mixture of cultural debris, confused and angry people whose certainties have betrayed them, and those forces which were always there, deeper than the foundations of the city walls: the desire to survive and the desire for meaning.

*
It is, it seems, our civilization’s turn to experience the inrush of the savage and the unseen; our turn to be brought up short by contact with untamed reality. There is a fall coming. We live in an age in which familiar restraints are being kicked away, and foundations snatched from under us. After a quarter-century of complacency, in which we were invited to believe in bubbles that would never burst, prices that would never fall, the end of history, the crude repackaging of the triumphalism of Conrad’s Victorian twilight – Hubris has been introduced to Nemesis. Now a familiar human story is being played out. It is the story of an empire corroding from within. It is the story of a people who believed, for a long time, that their actions did not have consequences. It is the story of how that people will cope with the crumbling of their own myth. It is our story.

This time, the crumbling empire is the unassailable global economy, and the brave new world of consumer democracy being forged worldwide in its name. Upon the indestructibility of this edifice, we have pinned the hopes of this latest phase of our civilization. Now, its failure and fallibility exposed, the world’s elites are scrabbling frantically to buoy up an economic machine which, for decades, they told us needed little restraint, for restraint would be its undoing. Uncountable sums of money are being funnelled upwards in order to prevent an uncontrolled explosion. The machine is stuttering and the engineers are in panic. They are wondering if perhaps they do not understand it as well as they imagined. They are wondering whether they are controlling it at all or whether, perhaps, it is controlling them.

Increasingly, people are restless. The engineers group themselves into competing teams, but neither side seems to know what to do, and neither seems much different from the other. Around the world, discontent can be heard. The extremists are grinding their knives and moving in as the machine’s coughing and stuttering exposes the inadequacies of the political oligarchies who claimed to have everything in hand. Old gods are rearing their heads, and old answers: revolution, war, ethnic strife. Politics as we have known it totters, like the machine it was built to sustain. In its place could easily arise something more elemental, with a dark heart.

As the financial wizards lose their powers of levitation, as the politicians and economists struggle to conjure new explanations, it starts to dawn on us that behind the curtain, at the heart of the Emerald City, sits not the benign and omnipotent invisible hand we had been promised, but something else entirely. Something responsible for what Marx, writing not so long before Conrad, cast as the ‘everlasting uncertainty and anguish’ of the ‘bourgeois epoch’; a time in which ‘all that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned.’ Draw back the curtain, follow the tireless motion of cogs and wheels back to its source, and you will find the engine driving our civilization: the myth of progress.

The myth of progress is to us what the myth of god-given warrior prowess was to the Romans, or the myth of eternal salvation was to the conquistadors: without it, our efforts cannot be sustained. Onto the rootstock of Western Christianity, the Enlightenment at its most optimistic grafted a vision of an Earthly paradise, towards which human effort guided by calculative reason could take us. Following this guidance, each generation will live a better life than the life of those that went before it. History becomes an escalator, and the only way is up. On the top floor is human perfection. It is important that this should remain just out of reach in order to sustain the sensation of motion.

Recent history, however, has given this mechanism something of a battering. The past century too often threatened a descent into hell, rather than the promised heaven on Earth. Even within the prosperous and liberal societies of the West progress has, in many ways, failed to deliver the goods. Today’s generation is demonstrably less content, and consequently less optimistic, than those that went before. They work longer hours, with less security, and less chance of leaving behind the social background into which they were born. They fear crime, social breakdown, overdevelopment, environmental collapse. They do not believe that the future will be better than in the past. Individually, they are less constrained by class and convention than their parents or grandparents, but more constrained by law, surveillance, state proscription, and personal debt. Their physical health is better, their mental health more fragile. Nobody knows what is coming. Nobody wants to look.

Most significantly of all, there is an underlying darkness at the root of everything we have built. Outside the cities, beyond the blurring edges of our civilization, at the mercy of the machine but not under its control, lies something that neither Marx nor Conrad, Caesar nor Hume, Thatcher nor Lenin ever really understood. Something that Western civilization – which has set the terms for global civilization—was never capable of understanding, because to understand it would be to undermine, fatally, the myth of that civilization. Something upon which that thin crust of lava is balanced; which feeds the machine and all the people who run it, and which they have all trained themselves not to see.


Now tell m,e that these authors are also nuts! If so, I would accuse you of being overly unrealistic and clinging to your own fragile belief in society.(without God)

Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. ~RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith

You can "get answers" by watching the ducks. That doesn't mean the answers are coming from them.~Ringo

Subjectivism may very well undermine Christianity.
In the same way that "allowing people to choose what they want to be when they grow up" undermines communism.
~Stile


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Tangle, posted 08-30-2019 4:26 PM Phat has not yet responded
 Message 3 by Faith, posted 08-30-2019 4:32 PM Phat has responded
 Message 5 by Theodoric, posted 08-30-2019 4:39 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply
 Message 11 by AZPaul3, posted 08-30-2019 9:03 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 13930
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 4 of 27 (862029)
08-30-2019 4:34 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Faith
08-30-2019 4:32 PM


Upon Further Examination
I will have to read and research it a bit more, but im almost late for work so it will have to be in tomorrows pile.

Here is one sentence that jumped out at me, though.

quote:
human civilization is an intensely fragile construction. It is built on little more than belief: belief in the rightness of its values; belief in the strength of its system of law and order; belief in its currency; above all, perhaps, belief in its future.

Edited by Thugpreacha, : No reason given.


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. ~RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith

You can "get answers" by watching the ducks. That doesn't mean the answers are coming from them.~Ringo

Subjectivism may very well undermine Christianity.
In the same way that "allowing people to choose what they want to be when they grow up" undermines communism.
~Stile


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Faith, posted 08-30-2019 4:32 PM Faith has not yet responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 13930
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 6 of 27 (862031)
08-30-2019 4:39 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Faith
08-30-2019 4:32 PM


From the standpoint of a believer, I can say that if we do have end times events, (which Tangle argues would simply be the natural fall of one civilization in the lineage of many) it would not be directly caused by a supernatural Satan so much as it would be, according to "them" the natural error of the human mind to fully grasp its own demise and thus cause it.

They seek to warn society of the path we are blindly heading..../quite similar to the apologists minus the need for Jesus and salvation (and communion with a saner mind)


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. ~RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith

You can "get answers" by watching the ducks. That doesn't mean the answers are coming from them.~Ringo

Subjectivism may very well undermine Christianity.
In the same way that "allowing people to choose what they want to be when they grow up" undermines communism.
~Stile


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Faith, posted 08-30-2019 4:32 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by jar, posted 08-30-2019 5:53 PM Phat has responded
 Message 13 by Faith, posted 08-30-2019 11:23 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 13930
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 18 of 27 (862081)
08-31-2019 12:45 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by Tangle
08-31-2019 2:58 AM


Putting God first before Self
Tangle writes:

The countryside where I live is littered with ancient churches, I have three in my tiny village. They would have cost poor people an enormous amount in time, effort and money over a millennium to build and maintain and in the process built rich, powerful and divisive institutions that held back the progress of society.

While it is true that much time, money and effort could be said to be wasted in the buildings, there are many people in life who have done much to bring about a better world who have been educated through the church. One such notable man of influence was Romano Guardini. He reflects:
quote:
"God certainly does not dominate my life," confesses Romano Guardini, a devout German theologian. "Any tree in my path seems to have more power than he, if only because it forces me to walk around it!" Guardini goes on to wonder: How is it that God permeates the universe, that everything that is comes from his hand, that every thought and emotion we have has significance only in him, yet we are neither shaken nor inflamed by the reality of his presence, but able to live as though he did not exist? How is this truly Satanic deceit possible? 16-7
...AZPaul3 would no doubt claim that the reason is obvious: God does not exist. This simplistic explanation has nothing to stand on apart from the modern rationale that evidence of absence equates to absence of evidence.
Tangle writes:

If that effort had been put into building schools hospitals and our secular institutions for the good of the people instead of the worship of imaginary gods, our society would be in a far better state.

I believe that for some of us at least, (men such as Romano Guardini) the study and meditation of God as enriched their minds and led them into further sacred and secular studies both. One other point which I wish to address is your supposed indifference to even thinking about God. Philip Yancey expressed it this way:

Yancey writes:

I marvel at a God who puts himself at our mercy, as it were, allowing himself to be quenched and grieved, and even forgotten. Reading the Old Testament convinces me that this human tendency-indifference taken to a lethal extreme-bothers God more than any other. Gracious to doubters and a pursuer of willful unbelievers, God finds himself stymied, and even enraged, by those who simply put him out of mind. God reacts like any spurned lover who finds his phone calls unreturned and his Valentines tossed aside unopened. (...)I used to jump out of bed as soon as I woke up. Now I lie there in the quiet and invite God into my day, not as a participant in my life or an item on a checklist but as the hub of all that will happen that day. I want God to become the central reality so that I am as aware of God as I am of my own moods and desires.
Yancey, Philip. Reaching for the Invisible God (pp. 202-203). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

This central focus on God every day causes me to study a plethora of different things, many of them totally secular. (which you would argue is normal, of course) The Dark Mountain Project is basically secular and, as Theo pointed out, a bit New Age. It is insightful to a degree, however.


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. ~RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith

You can "get answers" by watching the ducks. That doesn't mean the answers are coming from them.~Ringo

Subjectivism may very well undermine Christianity.
In the same way that "allowing people to choose what they want to be when they grow up" undermines communism.
~Stile


This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by Tangle, posted 08-31-2019 2:58 AM Tangle has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 21 by AZPaul3, posted 08-31-2019 2:07 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 13930
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


(1)
Message 19 of 27 (862082)
08-31-2019 12:50 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by GDR
08-31-2019 10:23 AM


Re: What have your secular institutions done?
Our small Anglican church provides about 50% of the funding for a home for young women in Uganda who would otherwise be in the street, we support a library in Ethiopia and a hospital in Kampala. We just had an event as a fundraiser for a seniors day program, the local hospital foundation and a local food bank. We had another fundraiser for the local humane society.

Just what have any of your local secular outfits done lately?

They probably pass out condoms to teenagers! On a serious note, I have seen evidence of the usefulness of secular organizations. I just am stymied how they feel that the church isnt as useful. I think they see us the way the Televangelists portray us as. (themselves) There is a lot of Christianity...likely the most useful of us....who remain out of the spotlight and unseen.

Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. ~RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith

You can "get answers" by watching the ducks. That doesn't mean the answers are coming from them.~Ringo

Subjectivism may very well undermine Christianity.
In the same way that "allowing people to choose what they want to be when they grow up" undermines communism.
~Stile


This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by GDR, posted 08-31-2019 10:23 AM GDR has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 20 by ringo, posted 08-31-2019 1:06 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 13930
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 23 of 27 (862088)
08-31-2019 3:58 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by jar
08-30-2019 5:53 PM


Re: Once again, what does the evidence show?
Theodoric was right--it is a New Age manifesto. What turns me off, but likely would mildly intrigue you all, is the idea that humanity is not central to the future, and that storytelling is the basic art.

DMP writes:

THE EIGHT PRINCIPLES OF UNCIVILISATION
We must unhumanize our views a little, and become confident
As the rock and ocean that we were made from.’

  • We live in a time of social, economic and ecological unraveling. All around us are signs that our whole way of living is already passing into history. We will face this reality honestly and learn how to live with it.

  • We reject the faith which holds that the converging crises of our times can be reduced to a set of ‘problems’ in need of technological or political ‘solutions’.

  • We believe that the roots of these crises lie in the stories we have been telling ourselves. We intend to challenge the stories which underpin our civilization: the myth of progress, the myth of human centrality, and the myth of our separation from ‘nature’. These myths are more dangerous for the fact that we have forgotten they are myths.

  • We will reassert the role of storytelling as more than mere entertainment. It is through stories that we weave reality.
    Humans are not the point and purpose of the planet. Our art will begin with an attempt to step outside the human bubble. By careful attention, we will reengage with the non-human world.

  • We will celebrate writing and art which is grounded in a sense of place and of time. Our literature has been dominated for too long by those who inhabit the cosmopolitan citadels.

  • We will not lose ourselves in the elaboration of theories or ideologies. Our words will be elemental. We write with dirt under our fingernails.

  • The end of the world as we know it is not the end of the world full stop.

  • Together, we will find the hope beyond hope, the paths which lead to the unknown world ahead of us.
  • jar writes:

    Is there even a single example of Jesus or God preventing any disaster or social breakdown?

    Of course not. These things *must* happen. The solution is to love God and love your neighbor. I might add that knowing God is a priority, but you will be unable to understand this basic bit...unless perhaps you might believe that in knowing our neighbor, we thus know God. New Age mumbo jumbo is very close to the Christianity that I believe in, yet miles apart.

    You say Christianity is about what you do. (not what you believe) In that regard, the Dark Mountain New Agers likely would agree. They, like Stile, would eliminate knowing God as a necessary first step and would advocate sharing with each other and loving each other. I fear, however, that without the Holy Spirit it is destined to fail.

    Are there not numerous examples of religious fervor causing disasters and social breakdowns?
    yes, many. My question would be how to tell apart a crowd based on obsessive fearful groupthink(authoritarianism) versus a crowd of individuals with no groupthink, varied beliefs, and a shared desire to simply bond with each other. The question is this: If a Holy Spirit exists and desires to commune with humans, which crowd would He,She, or It likely reside in?

    Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. ~RC Sproul
    "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~Mark Twain "
    ~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith

    You can "get answers" by watching the ducks. That doesn't mean the answers are coming from them.~Ringo

    Subjectivism may very well undermine Christianity.
    In the same way that "allowing people to choose what they want to be when they grow up" undermines communism.
    ~Stile


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 9 by jar, posted 08-30-2019 5:53 PM jar has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 26 by jar, posted 08-31-2019 7:10 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

      
    Phat
    Member
    Posts: 13930
    From: Denver,Colorado USA
    Joined: 12-30-2003
    Member Rating: 1.4


    Message 24 of 27 (862089)
    08-31-2019 4:01 PM
    Reply to: Message 22 by Tangle
    08-31-2019 2:16 PM


    Re: Putting God first before Self
    Tangle writes:

    What is this Phat? This idiot thinks he knows how god feels.

    Why should that bother you? You don't even believe that God exists.

    There is nothing wrong with people who believe in God and who struggle to understand Him. A wrong answer is better than no answer at all.


    Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. ~RC Sproul
    "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~Mark Twain "
    ~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith

    You can "get answers" by watching the ducks. That doesn't mean the answers are coming from them.~Ringo

    Subjectivism may very well undermine Christianity.
    In the same way that "allowing people to choose what they want to be when they grow up" undermines communism.
    ~Stile


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 22 by Tangle, posted 08-31-2019 2:16 PM Tangle has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 25 by Tangle, posted 08-31-2019 5:19 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply
     Message 27 by kjsimons, posted 08-31-2019 9:00 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

      
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