Years ago, Kate Paulk and I fell into watching a Greek Orthodox monk on youtube, because he did the most fascinating lectures on theology, on psychology (I believe he had been a psychologist in secular life, before professing) and on living a rewarding/fulfilled life.
I don’t remember the details anymore, though I did buy his book, which is — waves hand vaguely — somewhere in the library of Babylon downstairs.
But one thing stuck with me through the years, partly because it was so different from what I was raised believing: The doors of hell are locked from the inside.
I remember his image of G-d as a spurned lover who yet doesn’t give up, and keeps knocking at the door, and the fact that the damned, the truly damned can’t endure the light, and therefore lock themselves in. For eternity.
It stuck with me because it’s a far cry from the Hieronymous Bosch kind of horror I grew up with. And it’s both a repugnant idea (really, would you want Hitler to have a moment of clarity in all eternity, open the door, and let G-d in? Stalin? Mao? I know the author of the book that went something like “you’ll meet Hitler in heaven” made me recoil so hard I almost went backwards through a wall. Yes, I know, it could be said if they did that their worst punishment would be realizing what they did, and that afterwards they would be different creatures. But the human mind recoils at it) and yet, there is something to it.
Here is where we depart from religion, because I’m neither going to make this blog a religious one, nor am I Greek Orthodox.
But there is something to the idea that the worst hell is one in which the person locks themselves in, from the inside. One in which they can’t admit what they’ve done, and therefore must remain locked in the hell forever, because to admit they were wrong and did wrong things would be to cease being. Their instinct of self-preservation keeps them mired in evil and unhappiness, rather than being able to open the door and set themselves free.
We’ve seen this with communism when it fell. For a while communists (the open ones in Europe and the closed ones here) walked around as Umberto Ecco put it “like defrocked priests.”
And then suddenly, out of nowhere and with the same fervor with which they pushed communism, there was Politically Correct language, and environmentalism, and eventually the crazy social justice of dividing people in oppressors and oppressed according to external characteristics that sure, influence our lives, but are a factor among many, now that legally you can’t discriminate against color or place of origin.
Of course now, all that, that half baked stew of poisonous ideas that rape the language and meaning, mistake government ownership of land, and industry crippling regulations for stewardship, and have managed to turn men against women and women against men, is circling back around to communism.
It’s not a very coherent longing, and mostly it infects kids who have never learned true history, because their aging leftist teachers and professors had decided that it was capitalism which created all the ills in the world.
Some of these kids honestly think that “true communism” has never been tried (true, to the extent humans are not a communal species) and this time we’ll do it right (impossible. Still the wrong species.)
The older leftists, who long for socialism/communism and a pony “just like France has”… er, I mean single payer healthcare, do it partly because this justifies all their previous years of activism. If they don’t admit they were EVER wrong, then they can continue thinking well of themselves. And if they sell us on socialized everything, they can have everything for free in their old age. (Most of them not only failed to have children, they failed to establish meaningful relationships that would help them.)
Sure, at some level they have to know history — they lived through it — and the cognitive dissonance must be amazing, but they just refuse to let themselves think of it, and that’s that. It’s the same way westerners remained communists after the Stalin purges.
And that’s not taking in account how many converted after, because, you know, they wanted the tiger to eat them last. Something, also they can never admit to themselves, because that would mean breaking in two and admitting the miserable little piss-cowards they are.
The old USSR and its agit prop was very successful in penetrating the intellectual classes. I understand so were Nazis before WWII.
That’s because, you know, intellectuals KNOW themselves to be brighter than the rest of the public (and are quite unable to believe a lot of manual professions require a form of “intelligence” [and dexterity] they lack) and are rarely compensated accordingly. So at their heart they’re sure the world is an unfair place that denies them the prominence they should have.
This makes them easy prey to theories that have no contact with the real world, but which form a complete whole internally. Like Communism. Or National socialism.
So the intellectual classes having been conquered, leftism became equivalent to “smart.” In fact, this was so imprinted in the culture, that the third generation Marxists, chosen not for their intelligence or competence, but for their politics, and so daft that they can’t pour piss out of a boot with the instructions printed on the heel (one wonders how much of the stupidity is learned. All that was required of them, ever, was mouthing the right platitudes. Nothing that passed for rational thought) start screeching “stupid and uneducated” at anyone they disagree with, no matter how strange and unlikely that accusation is.
But the fact that equivalency is established means that for any of our bien pensants to admit they were wrong about Marxist societies would be the same as giving up their intellectual pretensions and admit they’re not particularly bright or innovative, and in fact, not better than those people they’ve been taught to despise.
So, they don’t. They won’t. They can’t.
And since Marxism is a sour religion, of envy and malice; of bringing down the other in an effort to elevate themselves, not admitting they are wrong requires them to hate all of the past, the country they live in, all of western civilization, all of the bourgeois virtues, all order, all happy people, all productive people and ultimately themselves.
They believe the Earth is irretrievably damaged, they believe the end is coming soon, they believe most members of their species need to die, they believe their own species — and therefore themselves — are a blight on the universe. They believe humans are guilty for everything wrong ever, and that it would be better if none of us had ever existed.
Their misery and hatred pours out of themselves and destroys everything they touch and every field they have taken over. There is no escape from the poisonous ideology that animates them, without changing so much they might as well be dead. They can’t comprehend why the rest of the human race insists on being happy and productive, and so they hate them a bit more.
And everything is horrible, all the time. Even their virtue signaling is a faint (if continuous) signal that barely drowns out the inner voice that tells them something is very wrong and there are cracks in their philosophy you could drive a mac truck through. They mind-kill themselves rather than think wrong thoughts. They hate everyone and themselves most of all. There is no escape.
It’s a small price to pay for not admitting they’re humans, like all others, and as capable of error, isn’t it?
The doors of hell are locked from the inside.