Guest Sunday Post by IP FREELY: A self-described, “Unist apostle spreading Agape Love in the city of Neo Gomorrah”
My original reaction to this verse was to, quite honestly, shrug and presume another instance of Praise the Lord style verse that would appeal to the particular Golden Retriever Christian outlook of obedience that is so often popular on Verse of the Day style websites. I will fully admit that this mode of thinking is judgmental and unhelpful, but I have had a problem with this my entire spiritual life- I can’t simply ‘tune out and feel the noise’, I’m just not designed that way, and, on top of that, I find more often than not propaganda techniques to keep these kind of people in line with the secular aspect of the church, that is to say keeping the pews lined and the collection plate stacked. Again, cynical statement but there is truth to this.
But as I began to reflect on this verse for real, I was suddenly hit with a clear ‘aha’ moment. Earlier this week, I had failed to articulate my thoughts on the 1 Corinthians 13 passage regarding Agape Love. I wanted to further understand the distinction between charity (as the King James Bible translates agape into) and ‘selfless love’, which is maybe a more correct translation. I struggled though, because ultimately i didn’t have much more to say beyond that, the resulting paragraphs reading more like wheels spinning in the snow- there seems a kinetic energy in the words, but they waste energy going nowhere.
But now it strikes me more clearly. You see, in concurrence with reading this, I’ve been devouring Chad Haag’s new book Leftoid Psychology, which attempts to unpack Ted K’s more undiscussed essay The System’s Neatest Trick (I begin to discuss it here , but quite frankly the series I had started it off with will probably not materialize much more content, as I really only had fragments of fragments that I attempted to spin together a more coherent argument of the System as a metaphysical entity. This book simply does a better job at it), and specifically the question of why Ted K believed that Leftist action would never do anything more than cement the intentions of the System further. Perhaps because I’ve been drunk off of the arguments he presented, but something struck me on the concept of Comfort.
We, especially us in the first world USA, take seriously for granted the notion of comfort. Comfort for us usually comes down to moments in which we can be free from the burden of work and rest, without some other external factor weighing in like an abstract boa constrictor. We have, in our globotechno expansion, taken it upon ourselves that comfort more specifically means being free from any work burden, any abstract burden (political et all) and planted in our constructed wombs in order to spend our leisure time on some hobby or more relaxing work. We live in comfort in the most material sense- air conditioning, devices that allow not only minimal effort to create consumable food and drink but also rid us of the pesky tasks of cleaning up the home, hot showers, trash that vanishes with the dump truck, cars and vehicles that support our backs that we’ve blown out sitting at desks for 8 hours a day, video games and other brain switches, and so on. We now can get almost anything we desire with a click of a button- food (postmates), news, pornography, companionship- you name it!
And this is of course supposed to provide us comfort from the abstract terrors of death, disease, starvation, work, and so on. Really, these creature comforts are designed to provide us comfort from the Idea of not being comfortable, which may sound obvious but is an important distinction. Most people recognize that there is something gravely wrong with the System, but the dopamine overindulgence caused by the internet and the tendrils that rule thus (information overload, social credits accumulated through social media, porno that delivers dark material, etc) works to dull us to our own biological/evolutionary/just outright animal instinct to flee or fix these issues. And of course, the System provides the fatalist perspective that the large scale issues of the global system are impossible to fix- they are too large, too abstract, too old. And we are given a choice- consume the pill and shut up, go crazy, or be relegated to some dark corner of the internet where you and your buddies can rant together on a discord server about how evil Modernity is or how awesome whatever fringe political/philosophical ideas you have adopted in order to remain purified from the System or whatever all the while trapped in constant feedback loops of dissatisfaction.
And we must understand, this is another example of the System’s neatest trick. Hopeless? Well then, consume! Fix the problems of discomfort so you can consume harder, better, faster, and stronger!
This breed of comfort is born out of Sin. I’ve come to the conclusion, and maybe I’ll expand on this, but Sin functions not just as the ‘evil’ of man, but also functionally as ‘what is done with Free Will that does nothing for anyone, not even yourself, other than release your dopamine flow.” This is why, for example, Paul makes the distinction through Galatians about Sin being a matter of the flesh rather than the spirit. Galatians 5:17, for example, makes this distinction clear- “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would”. Specifically, the flesh is going, again, to gravitate towards Sin/the Emptiness of living, and he lists examples in just a couple verses after : adultery, fornication, uncleanliness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkeness, revelings, and such like.” (Gal. 5;19-21).
it’s a long list, but we can maybe simplify down sin as, again, ‘empty, self serving comfort.’ that is to say, that which only provides the self with empty dopamine. In a way, Paul is preaching to us from the future, as humans in their brilliant little ways created a whole enterprise of global Sin through the technoglobo aparatus: The Devil Machine, where we press a button, and we are pleased.
The irony of The Devil Machine, as Chad points out in Leftoid Psychology, is that in making the proverbial ‘deal with the devil’ and practicing this kind of technological black magic, we are actually getting more than we bargained for. Chad uses the classic story of Faust (I don’t think it’s the Goethe version, maybe the Marlowe?) to illustrate this kind of deal with the devil. And it’s a Faustian deal indeed we have all put up with- for the mere cost of your Soul, we can always make you feel good. “Feeling terrified, alone, angry, hurt? There’s an app for that!” And this app promises to fulfill your most base pleasure needs- horny? We have hours of porn. Hungry? We have cheap junk food and meats that are barely meats. Depressed? Scroll through social media and get validated by likes and favs. Anxious? Turn on a video game (or even more grim, video of someone else playing a video game) or the tv and tune out your thoughts.
And yet, despite being comfortable in the moment, we are paradoxically less comfortable than ever before. Despite being literally the most comfortable time in human history, we have more cases of mental disorders, depression, and suicidal ideation than ever. We have people who speak of the end of the world with joy. We have people eager not to continue their family heritage. This contradiction is inherent in The System- we are simultaneously more connected and alone than ever before, more comfortable and on edge than ever before, more horny but less sexual partners than ever before. The inherent contradiction is felt like a dull electricity through the brain, but the fog of consumption dulls us further, and we fall forever down the spiral staircase towards Hell- not the pitchforks and fire and brimstone and devil hell, but a conceptual end point in which man kind is removed of it’s humanity in favor for a one species/one brain way of being. It is like the short story “I have no mouth and i must scream” except instead of the computer holding it’s prisoners hostage for it’s own sick pleasure, we have actively decided to go into the hellish torture land of the super computer. Either way, the ending is the same- as a species, we will become useless blobs of sensations, where time is slowed down. The only difference is that instead of being slowly tortured for eternity, we will believe ourselves free.
But there is hope yet. In fact, in Galatians 5: 22- 23 lists out fruits of the spirit: Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.
But it is not enough to simply do these things. I’ve noticed, in my readings, a kind of ontological argument towards ‘being as Christ’, which is not the same as ‘doing things as christ.’ Consider that The System actually likes these elements, as does secular humanism, because they promote what they believe are docile and polite factors by which one can easily be exploited (I understand Nietzsche’s argument that Christianity is a ‘slave mentality/morality’) and, in addition, these same Antichrists can further exploit the natural will to Goodness by taking the fruits and squeezing them for profit. Kindness, for example, was the big buzzword through most of the “Plague”, (Always Be Kind!). However, the System cannot exploit someone who simply is kind.
The System wants you to be a category for exploitation. You are a gay/straight/man/woman/trans/left/right/job description/etc. You are a marketable set of keywords. But, if someone simply is kind, or is loving, or, more simply is Christlike, this becomes more difficult for the System to work with. In fact, The System is uncomfortable by this, because someone who is is antithetical to the destruction of the subjective experience under the System. As an aside, I think anyone that embodies any of the traits I listed above should consider how they may embody a more personal form of their ‘identifiers’ rather than live them out as a set of input and output.
And what of comfort? Should we dismiss comfort? Perhaps Paul was all wrong, maybe God shouldn’t be doling out comfort!
Hold your horses there, pal. Paul actually hits the nail on the head in this verse. God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost work together to bring you real comfort. You put your faith in God that you will be guided towards safer shores during hard times. Jesus Christ says in Matthew “Why are you afraid, o ye of little faith?” before stopping a storm that terrorized Peter and co. After Christ’s death and resurrection, we can be safe with the Holy Ghost.
But don’t get it twisted. The Holy Ghost ain’t the internet. You can’t just click a button or scroll a bit to the end to find comfort. Comfort is work. You can pray, do good good works, and strive forever in Good, and may never get much more than a kernel of comfort in the fleshed idea of the word. it may be unpleasant!
Consider this though. Originally, in the greek bible, comfort in this particular verse was “Parakleseos”. This has an interesting meaning. In ecclesiastical terms, the word translates to ‘the holy spirit’s comfort” OR, more literally, ‘advisor.” clearly what Paul means here is that the Holy Spirit works as a comforter, but as an advisor rather than, say, a mother or father. What is being communicated here is that the Holy Ghost will not give you simple answers or grant you wishes like some Faustian devil of desire. When I was a child, i remember clearly a point that Pastor Alan had made with regards to this notion of ‘god the wizard’ or ‘god the genie’, which is the conception of God or the Holy Ghost as a vending machine that, with the right amount of good works, faith, and/or prayer, will grant us our wishes, regardless of whether it was materialistic (‘god grant me a new, cool ass car’) or even spiritual. God is not a magician- this is why ‘black magic’ is a sin, after all- black magic is a deal with a devil of sorts where the subject sacrifices some manner of their humanity in favor for material gain, which is in totality antithetical to Christ. The vending machine-as-god works as a fantastic metaphor of Man’s techné poisoning towards Sin- we would rather sell our souls for a moment of material bliss in the real world while a lifetime of holy bliss was sacrificed in it’s place.
and, you may ask, “IP Freely, this all sounds good and all, but i am a simple human. What can i do to ensure peace of mind, or peace of soul?”
The answer, coming full circle, goes back to Galatians 5; 22-24, and more fully, or rather more unified, to 1 Corinthians 13’s most salient point- Charity, or Agape Love. While Good Works alone cannot guarantee the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, the afterlife, or within, it can, with the grace of God, provide a true path against the System. The System loves to exploit what are considered ‘christian traits’ that also ‘transcend morally into the secular’, which is just to say “the stuff atheists etc like but won’t admit came from the bible originally”. Yes, the System actually demands Christian living without Christian living; Be gentle, be kind. But to be Agape, which is to be selfless in a manner that confounds the Ego in totality, is a total rebellion against the System. The system will always demand hard wired answers to life’s mysteries rather than metaphysical arguments. people will always place more importance in the scientists who tell you what matter is composed of rather than the philosophers whom are more interested in why matter. Yes, the liberal jerks will thumb their nose at these questions as unnecessary drivel. But to them the kingdom of Sheol, and to their children the land of dung. (this is a joke btw to all the mockers)
Charity, that is to say Agape Love, is always going to confound the System. the system requires a particular amount of cynicism towards mankind as a whole as sinful little beasts that require the strict guidance of a state (human) apparatus or a technocratic/consumerist society that demands the constant production cycle of ‘consume and produce simultaneously”, which of course will always lead to the end of subjective experience in favor for a ‘one world system’ that favors the production cycle rather than the subjective experience. But Selflessness requires one to exist actually outside of the ‘gain something from an investment’ schema that we currently live under. we live so deeply in this mindset that our volunteering service is usually relegated to either internships (which as far as i’m concerned are ‘university mandated slavery to the System) or flaccid money tossing towards organizations that promise change but simply continue profiting off of celebrity donations. True honest to God charity is when one relinquishes their wants in favor of not even the needs of others, but beyond the needs of others into a state of ontological being: simply put, to be righteous and selfless than attempting charity/selfless action. Selfless furthers a transcendent condition because selfless action is without the qualities of capitalism, statism, sectarianism, and so on. Selflessness is beyond ideology.
In fact, as I’ve said in a previous article that I never published here, Selflessness embodies an absurdist nature- how can something that functions as an exchange also be without exchange? Can not even the most altruistic human also seek the purity of the action because the Ego attaches itself to social rewards, be it backpats or wealth? is man not a cynical beast that, so full of sin, will consume their own flesh (Ecclesiastes 4:5)?
Let me say this with the thunder of anger: NAH DUMMY. Because Jesus Christ, both the embodiment of God’s perfection and the fallibility/meekness of flesh (and incredible dichotomy that serves to be the very function of Christ- the man of highest regard, holding the highest sacrifice with the highest reward (life eternal )) is the ultimate example of Agape. By upending his human flesh towards spiritual transcendence, he exemplifies the very limit of Agape Love, and of the Holy ghost’s ability to administer even a fraction of this back towards us in the ways of the fulfillment of our Good works, and to act as the distant flame, not unlike the ending monolog from the book and subsequient film No Country For Old Men, in which the old cop recounts the dream in which he saw his father ride ahead in the pitch black of night, ‘and i knew he was going ahead,..fixing to make a fire in the dark and cold…and i knew whenever I’d get there, he’d be there’.
and so what is the lesson? Charity and agape. From these things, and from christ, may we escape the hell of the System.
-IP Freely of The Unists & ipfreely.substack.com
Let us know your thoughts:
Check out our YouTube channel, or join our public Discord server to engage more directly with conversations such as these.