Marc Barnes is fantastic

Here’s his typically insightful (and in this case, Ecclesiastesesque) post on the consequences of limiting one’s horizons to a nature that has been, as Paul says, subjected to futility.

[T]he modern world sees destruction as something bold, brave and ballsy. We see sin — always destructive — as a solid in an otherwise watery universe.  The vandals, arsonists, gangsters, home wreckers, and serial killers; the self-destructive, self-righteous, and self-serving; the womanizers, tyrants, and abusers – we are most of these things, and we think at least one or two of them badass. This is the modern thesis: The man being good is afraid to be bad, and the man being bad is hardcore. The Joker is cooler than Batman. It’s a problem of poetry more than anything else: Goodness is a soft thing, while badness is lauded as hard.

But if we come from Nothing and are going to Nothing, what boldness can there be in destruction? The law of entropy will kill our families, reduce our houses to dust, and slowly, steadily, bring about all the super-hardcore-ness we can imagine. There is no rebellion in hastening the inevitable. A killing spree may shock society, but it is a boredom to the universe, who ultimately kills everyone. To objectify a woman into a sex object might give men a thrill, but it is pathetic to the universe, who is busy rendering her into a corpse.

I like that.  Some time ago, I tried to get at something similar in a little piece I wrote called “Truth Cancer and the Redemption of Rebellion” arguing that Christ was the most interesting rebel and subversive character in history since he is a rebel against the Police State called “the world” which the Prince of this World has erected after being cast out of heaven.  Marc gets the same thing and tries to awaken in postmodern readers the thought “The Matrix (the world system of spiritual slavery and nihlism dominated by the Prince of this World) has you.”

In the comboxes, a relentlessly fundamentalist devotee of Bob Sungenis’ geocentrism and various other Protestant literalist obsessions perfumed with Catholic smells and bells (a Mr. DeLano), shows up for a while to utterly misread Marc and appoint himself combox inquisitor. Then some atheist shows up to be a counterpart fundamentalist to DeLano’s fundamentalism. Things look dark for a while as the conversation spirals toward a State of Total Dumbness that is the intellectual equivalent of 0 degrees Kelvin.  But then, Mike Flynn (“Ye Olde Statistician”) turns up to carry the thankless burden of trying to talk sense to DeLano and Struck.  He fails, naturally, through no fault of his own to make an impression on Mr. DeLano’s and Mr. Struck’s hermetically sealed brains.  But for onlookers who are capable of listening to common sense, he provides a valuable little set of lessons about how to think about such matters as a Catholic. Check out the link both for Barnes’ and YOS refreshing lucidity.

  • J. H. M. Ortiz

    Yeah, but why single out “the modern world” as reckoning destruction “bold” and “brave”? ’Twas ever thus. In the *ancient* world Titus expressly *destroyed* the Temple at Jerusalem. And in that world “the women sang as they played, and they said: Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”

  • Chris

    This statement about the origin of man is patently incorrect. Perhaps he forgot to walk it back later in the piece, but I couldn’t find anything to indicate he’s speaking in the voice of a non-believer:

    [i]He comes from Nothing…and will return to Nothing in death. [/i]

    All that is possible pre-exists (for our sake) in the intellect of God in potentiality before it becomes actual. If you were born, you were possible. If you were possible, you were “real” from the word Go, however, not in actuality until God willed you to exist in the confines of time. None of us came from Nothing, otherwise we would not be made ‘in the image of God’. We would be made in the image of Nothing. And we certainly don’t return to Nothing (a) because it’s not where we came from in the first place, and b) our souls are immortal — for heaven or hell.

    [i]The wage of a constant surrender to Nothingness is ultimately Nothingness itself.[/i]

    The wage of constant surrender to “Nothingness’ (sin?) is eternal existence in hell, not “ultimately” Nothingness. The damned do not cease to exist, they exist all too keenly from their own perspective.

    Peace be with you, Pax vobiscum, don’t shoot the messenger.