The Specter Of Stalin and The Folly Of The Leftist
This is Stalin as quoted at the funeral of his first wife, Kato Svanidze, on 25 November 1907. This is the man whose specter has taken its throne in the leftist pantheon.
I take this quote as Stalin's admission to his own faithlessness, which became painfully evident through his actions later in life. Stalin was not a man who believed that order emerges from nature, but one who believed that order must be brought to bear on the world by way of his own brutal authority.
As the great intellectual Stalin was, it seems apparent that he must have suffered in the way that intellectuals often do, that he felt isolated, that he lived a vivid internal life of tortured, detached abstraction few could understand. A mind in the throes of its own existential anxiety may seek shelter in many ways, whether it be the comforts of chronic pain, the excuse of a tumultuous past, or the story of a world on fire, there is always a safe-space rooted in an identity of pain and that is where Stalin lived.
What is missing for the leftist is a conscious, internal connection from that place of abstraction to their own primal character. They represent the broad emergence of an intrinsic human quality called nihilism. I don't consider nihilism to be a consciously held thought, but a perceptual mode. Before intelligence can act, perceptual data from the lower mind has been processed through a neurological network locked in threat detection. The enemy is the external world, and the nihilist lives in this prison, disconnected from nature, failing to recognize the bars he rattles are his own.
The tragedy comes when we fail to believe that our story can be true, and we search the world for the bogeyman that took it all away. This is the deep faithlessness of Stalin, this is the nihilism that can bring a civilization to its knees, and this is the heartbreak that can bring a young life to its self-appointed end.
This is what contempt of suffering can do. The leap of faith is to accept suffering for what it is; the very mechanism of our adaptability. If it is not suffering that adapts us to our existence, then Evolution has much explaining to do. Why would this ubiquitous human quality have not been selected away by nature long ago if it were such an odious flaw?
Unless the argument is that humans are somehow supernatural, we should expect that this same convergence on order and complexity is at work on human societies, and within human minds. The arc of history certainly bends toward increasingly complex and well-ordered societies, and the advancing sophistication and maturity inherent to the adult developmental process are well known.
To be a person of faith means to believe in this developmental process even when we are not capable of seeing it for ourselves. It is to submit to the natural transcendence inherent to our being, to hear nature's call to order and to align our behavior in its service. Otherwise, we are agents of disorder. We are libertines, hedonists, and addicts simply existing to avoid pain, and imparting pain to the world in the meantime.
It is interesting to consider another man from History, but one who bore this truth of suffering. While he didn't express it in the analytical terms I've used here, he did express it in archetypal terms - a language of the lower mind that reaches us despite our pain. The message that transcendental complexity and the capacity to bring new order into the world is accessible to anyone who can pick up their suffering and bear it should have great effect if it enters popular thought, and it is no surprise that the man who so successfully delivered this message continues to be an icon of Western Civilization 2000 years on.
It is that time that it takes to become true creators, to find awareness of our connection to nature in our primal character, not in our conscious thoughts. The folly of the leftist is to presume to be able to tell the world how it should order itself before such time. We are all redeemable should we choose to find internal order before we choose to take substantial action in the world, but failing that, we are Stalin.
It matters what you believe.
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