Immanentize the Eschaton?

Catholic term for the sin of most heretic groups who attempt to either create heaven or hell in this world instead of waiting for it in the next.

From Chaos Matrix

People seem to expect perfection from their leaders – they want Heaven on Earth, but complain that they are living in Hell on earth when their leaders are not elected. They fret that everything is not perfect, they explode when things are not 100% the way that they want them to be. They are trying to live in a “Heaven” on earth. Sadly, this does not work, and leads them to more frustration, fear and loathing of what ever they see standing in their way. It’s a downward spiral into depression, rage and death.

Winston Churchill noted that, “Those whose minds are attracted or compelled to rigid and symmetrical systems of government should remember that … human beings and human societies are not structures that are built or machines that are forged. They are plants that grow and must be treated as such.”

As an old (and gleefully incomprehensible) conservative slogan puts it: Don’t Immanentize the Eschaton! That is, heaven ain’t coming to earth, and the standard by which governments and their policies must be judged is not some fantastical Kingdom of Heaven on earth..

From The Daily Barometer Online

Living under unrealistic expectations will always lead to unhappiness. This is why Buddhists teach that Life is Suffering. When you expect suffering and hardship, those moments of peace and happiness are all the more sweet.

However, this concept goes far beyond mere happiness for individuals. When leaders start to try to create their vision of Heaven or Hell on earth, bad things can happen

For Voegelin, as least in his role as political scientist, the great dividing line is between certainty and uncertainty. The good thing is uncertainty. Why? Because people who are certain about humanity’s ends often seek to divinize society, to reunite heaven and earth, by establishing within this world the true and final purposes of man. For Voegelin, this form of certainty is the great threat to humanity. For the man who is certain in this way will not leave the transfiguration of the world to the grace of God beyond history but will do the work of God himself, right here and now, in history. Cromwell was certain in this way. Lenin and Hitler were, if anything, even more certain. Indeed, leaders and social movements possessed of this type of certainty shaped much of the 20th century, including almost all of its bloodiest and ugliest parts

From Uncertain by David Blankenthorn

Uncertainty should be a part of our lives. When we know that we have ultimate truth (if such a thing can exist) we have the mindset that anyone that disagrees with us is wrong. If they are wrong, and cannot be convinced other wise, then they are flawed. If they are flawed, then they need to be helped. If they cannot be helped, then they are the enemy!

I propose a simpler philosophy:

It is my firm belief that the mistake your mistake is trying to understand. How can one understand the Goddess of confusion? Then again it is our firm belief that it is a mistake to hold firm beliefs. If you believe it. Hail Eris!

-Episkopos Galactus I, Keeper of the sacred Backbacon (23 Sep. 1996).

When we are able to see that all belief structures come from the same essential chaos, our lives will be happier and simpler. When we see that anything that we hold dear is simply a fleeting image and not real, we will be able to deal with life, death, and politics with grace and ease.

This was on the fifth night, and when they slept that night each had a vivid dream of a splendid woman whose eyes were as soft as a feather and as deep as eternity itself…she spoke in a warm and gentle voice: ‘I have come to tell you that you are free. Many ages ago, My consciousness left man, that he might develop himself. I return to find this development approaching completion, but hindered by fear and by misunderstanding. You have built yourselves psychic suits of armor, and clad in them, your vision is restricted…your spirit broiled by the sun. I am chaos. I am the substance from which your artists and scientists build rhythms…I am alive and I tell you that you are free

– No one

4 thoughts on “Immanentize the Eschaton?”

  1. Hehehe. Not really – just a realistic person. I sometimes say:

    "I’m sorry that life sucks. Perhaps I could help you do something about that?" :)

  2. <i>Living under unrealistic expectations will always lead to unhappiness. This is why Buddhists teach that Life is Suffering. When you expect suffering and hardship, those moments of peace and happiness are all the more sweet.</i>

    You know, when I point this out to people, I’m considered a cynical bitch.

    Do I have to be a Buddhist for this to be a valid opinion? *hee*

  3. <em>Some of it is a positively medieval outlook on things however. I do not believe we should be content to suffer. I do not believe that we cannot improve our state.</em>

    I don’t think that I ever said to be content in suffering. Expecting perfection is different from striving for happiness.

    I think that the major difference is in the word expecting vs striving. We can work towards the best possible form of government, we can work towards a happy and fulfilling life – we should not <b>expect</b> those things however.

    We must understand that we do not hold ultimate truth however, as that is a inherently dangerous concept. We must hold a <em>firm belief that it is a mistake to hold firm beliefs</em>. My intent in this article was to make three points. First, that we cannot expect perfection in anything of this world. Secondly, a healthy dose of uncertainty is good for the soul, and thirdly, that I had a hard time making the first two points.

  4. Some of what you say here I agree with.

    Some of it is a positively medieval outlook on things however. I do not believe we should be content to suffer. I do not believe that we cannot improve our state.

    Certainly we cannot achieve perfection, but the glory is in the striving for it.

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