If there was any doubt about the true face of Atheism, look no further than London, Bristol and Liverpool. Far from being a cultivating force for good, it simply strips away any sense of the value from human life and social well-being and replaces it with ‘naked force’. It is wilful in the Nietzschean sense of the word; it only seeks its own through brute force. ‘Superman’ is simply a lawless thug on the streets of Britain, the cape and tights substituted by the hoodies and jeans of youth culture! Take a look at the evidence.
- London http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dIsQpGZvyY&feature=related
- Bristol http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5XOu2BS0gk&feature=related
- Liverpool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeYTxkitF4c
- Birmingham http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKLddZRvEJk&feature=related
It has been suggested that what we are seeing in the UK is somehow a series of copycat riots. This is not the case; they are coordinated by those who seek to embody Anarchy, just as with the forgetful events in Stokes Croft, Bristol this April. Philosophically, we are seeing Camus’ legacy being born again in a new age of discontent.
Sontag has this to say about such a society.
“And of all possible crimes which an entire culture can commit, the one most difficult to bear, psychologically, is deicide. We live in a society whose entire way of life testifies to the thoroughness with which the deity has been dispatched, but philosophers, writers, men of conscience everywhere squirm under the burden. For it is a far simpler matter to plot and commit a crime, than it is to live with it afterwards.” ‘Against Interpretation and Other Essays’, Published by Penguin Modern Classics, 2009. p249.
However, what has been killed is not the deity, but the institutional concept of the deity. The Institution of Spirituality continues as if nothing has happened and persists in digging trenches for defensive warfare in a location which the enemy has long overrun. It is not so much ‘no-man’s land’ as ‘no god’s land’. What we see on the streets of the UK is a whole generation that the Institution has not touched. Bearing this in mind, I’m not saying that the Institution needs to get its act together and start reaching out. What the Institution must do is realise that it is dead, that there is no pulse and dead bodies don’t make good flatmates!
This is Camus’ legacy. (The Rebel)
“…transcendence…is therefore a mask that must be torn off, God is dead, but as Stirner predicted, the morality of principles in which the memory of God is still preserved must also be killed. The hatred of formal virtue – degraded witness to divinity and false witness in the service of injustice – has remained one of the principle themes of history today. Nothing is pure; that is the cry which rends the air of our times [e.g. Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol and London]. Impurity, the equivalent of history, is going to become the rule, and the abandoned earth will be delivered to naked force which will decide whether or not man is divine.” Published by Penguin Classics, 2000. p105.
For Camus, the narrative follows a path of Regicide, Deicide, (Genocide) and Suicide, the latter being the only true (just) action of The Rebel. I’ve just been talking to my son. He said that the youth in these cities are angry at being jobless, living a life without potential; life has passed them by and the only way of seizing anything is by violence.
With the riots in Tottenham (London) there were reports of cars queuing outside an Electrical Suppliers shop and looters walking off with 40” plasma screen TVs! The riots, which apparently started in response to the killing of Mark Duggan aged 29, were calling for justice against what some saw as Police brutality. This appears to have given the dear folk of Tottenham a feeble excuse to give way to their own personal greed and violent tendencies. Justice is not being served! Unless of course justice is a 40” plasma screen TV. I’m sure that would be exactly what the Duggan family are looking for right now, as they grieve for their son.
Under Sontag’s godless, atheistic culture, the UK seems to be squirming in its own death throes of conscience, unable to live with the crime of Deicide. Atheism, Humanism’s ugly step-sister, reveals its true warty face. It is nothing more than a greedy, self-willed, violent predisposition to life. It is anti-social, anti-God, anti-human rage – the ‘naked force’ of Camus’ dystopia. Some of the victims of this violent crowd tried to work hard and get ahead. The perpetrators just try to steal from those who’ve worked hard for whatever they’ve got. Envy is a pernicious social undercurrent, which breaks the surface and wrings its sweaty hands, when it sees someone else has something they don’t.
The Church in the UK needs to take a hard look at itself; it should be offering an alternative to the disenfranchising power of Capitalism, not sleeping with it for a few financial favours. What I think sadly will happen is that the Church will entrench itself again, construct an institutional trench-network against ‘evil’ and protect its own position. The Church only knows the institutional way and has forgotten that ekklesia is about community and the well-being of all, not just for members of the club.
What does this mean for the artist? Camus informs us that”…art should give us a final perspective on the content of rebellion.” (p.219) It is namely, art in the service of the Revolution, there to meet revolutionary aims. I must understand this as propaganda for the State. What is shunned is a formalism which signifies bourgeois, Capitalistic tastes, morals and norms. What it is replaced by is not an art which is free, but an art which again is simply in the service of a different Administration.
The Church fares no better. Art in the service of the Church (institution) falls again into the realm of propaganda. We live in a time when those who are anxious about the church not being relevant to contemporary society, seeks to woo the artist back into their ever-loving arms, but again this is just another form of prostitution.
An art which is free, speaks to millions because it is the art of human community. It thrives because it is revealing life as it can be lived. The creator of this kind of art is truly avant-garde; it is the art of future hope and present human potency which stands against the anti-humanism of Capitalism, Communism, Anarchism and Atheism, even dare I say it Institutions of Spirituality.
If that does not speak to this forgotten young generation and shows them the way to engage in radical non-cooperation with evil, then my name is Banksie!
The ugly face, the true face of Atheism has been shown to us in inglorious Technicolor. If you want something more, then let’s talk.