Continuity, in artistic terms, is the connective thread running all through a work that makes one part of it make sense with all the rest of it.
I’ve been thinking about continuity in a historical kind of way in a couple of senses lately. I’ve always been fascinated by the reality that the human race is really one big family. There’s a kind of physical continuity in the connective thread of our strands of DNA running through all of our veins. You may throw away the biblical account of the common parentage of all of humanity going back to one man and one woman, but then you are faced with a much larger continuity. In your world view, every life form on planet earth is part of the family.
I find the continuity of the connectedness of the human race a more believable scenario personally, but one way or the other, there is no getting away from the fact that all of us as homo sapiens are relatives in a very, very extended family.
But an even more fascinating continuity for me is the continuity of a different kind of DNA: the DNA of thought. Ideas are our spiritual genetics. As we’ve been physically shaped by the DNA that came from our very first distant ancestors, so our experiences have been shaped by the ideas that came before us. Our history is moulded from ideas.
Every part of me—whatever that essence is—that I have no control over may have been determined by my DNA. But every part of the essence that is me that comes down to some decision on my part is contingent on my ideas—on my beliefs, on what I’ve accepted as true. But the same is true for humanity at large. Human history has run the course it has partially because of physical forces that were outside human control but more so because of the ideas humans controlled which in turn controlled the humans. Most of our history comes down to what people, in all their various turns, chose to embrace as truths.
Continuity was the word that came to mind while listening to a (for me) “A-ha” moment of an interview (well worth a watch if you have the time). The interviewee was Os Guinness on the subject of his book, The Dust of Death: The Sixties Counterculture and How It Changed America Forever. The click in my brain was related to the continuity of the history of the sixties with current events.
Interestingly, Os Guinness wrote his book shortly after the sixties in the early seventies, foreseeing the effects the ideas of the sixties would have on the future through continuity. As it was happening in the sixties, he saw the intentional takeover (and the willing submission to that takeover) of all our cultural institutions by neo-Marxism or cultural Marxism. This brand of Marxism (like the original) could be defined as a struggle for power disguised as a struggle for justice. It’s this struggle for power that history has revealed as the true face of Marxism. Marxism is inherently authoritarian. And it hasn’t gone away.
I’d noticed that these institutions Os named—academia and the educational system, the press and the media, the arts and entertainment—are almost entirely under the influence of a certain recognizable school of thought, but I’d never before learned that in the sixties, the era of the beginning of this slow takeover, the architects of this “long march” called for it openly. None of this has been accidental.
Because its roots went underground for some decades, I hadn’t understood how the fruit that we see all around us today is the outgrowth of this root. That was the a-ha moment for me: understanding that it’s not a reincarnation of the civil unrest of the sixties that we’re seeing lived out in present day—it’s the offspring of it. There’s been continuity.
It certainly seems to be true truism that those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. But that’s because history never really goes anywhere. It’s still with us. The ideas that were hashed out in an earlier time and fought and apparently conquered by those who rejected them as bad ideas will silently sneak up once again on those who haven’t learned the reasons for the fight and the rejection—those who are ignorant of the consequences that an earlier generation lived through.
It’s hard to imagine anyone suffering through the deprivation and oppression of the Soviet Union under communism being a proponent of the ideas that caused them. That advocacy is left to the ignorant.
More concerning to me is the ignorance of those who embrace the ideas of cultural Marxism without knowing what it is they’re embracing. These are the uninformed who wouldn’t call themselves Marxist, who would even denounce Marxism, while at the same time having their worldviews shaped by the harmful mutations of this spiritual DNA.
I saw a contrast recently in two different reactions to two different kinds of world-shapers that I thought it might be interesting to highlight on the subject of the continuity of our physical genetics and our spiritual genetics.
To some extent, we’re having our world shaped physically by a virus that’s out of our control. Viruses have been around as long as human history has been around. They are part of that physical continuity that makes up human history. Plagues and diseases of all various shapes and sizes have been enemies we battle perpetually.
Personally, I always try as hard as I can not to get viruses. But I still get viruses. If I carry on with just living my life, then my likelihood of contracting this virus during its course will be largely out of my control.
But my mental response to the possibility of contracting this virus is an idea, and my attitudes to this possibility are within my control.
After President Trump was recently released from hospital after testing positive for COVID-19, he counselled the nation not to be afraid of the virus. “Don’t let it dominate. Don’t let it take over your lives,” he said. (https://www.boston.com/news/politics/2020/10/05/trump-video-tells-supporters-dont-be-afraid)
Predictably, his statements sent the media into a fury. With the 200,000 plus Americans who’ve died from this disease, how could the president of the country be so callous?! How dare he?!
Of course, the obvious implication is that the media is conversely sending the message, “Do be afraid! Do let this virus dominate! Do let it take over your lives!” Is that really the messaging they want to stand behind?
On the other hand, from watching pieces of Michelle Obama’s video statement entitled, “Closing Argument,” (her endorsement of Joe Biden for president), I was advised not to be afraid of a different threat. This threat isn’t a physical threat growing out of our physical circumstances outside human control. This threat is a threat that turned physical after it started with a particular belief set.
A great many people around the world have embraced this belief set, not recognizing the neo-Marxist power struggle disguised as a struggle for justice back of it. Who could possibly disagree with a message like, “Black Lives Matter”? And the clever bait-and-switch of the obviously true title for the neo-Marxist organization hiding behind it swayed the masses into its support.
But even the opiated masses could see the burning, looting, and rioting that seemed to accompany this organization’s “protests” everywhere they broke out. And even with their senses dulled by misinformation and propaganda, the masses don’t approve of that kind of thing.
So Michelle Obama hastened to the fray to assure us that the “protests” were 97% peaceful and so nothing to be afraid of.
Although the recovery rate from COVID is over 97%, 200,000 Americans have died of COVID, and so we should be afraid. Be very afraid. Live in fear. Do let fear dominate and take over our lives. Even though the virus is out of our control if we ever expect to resume living life somewhat normally, we shouldn’t face up to the risks and live life courageously. We should shrink trembling away from them and never leave our houses again.
But the mind-virus that is the neo-Marxist authoritarian power struggle (no, we are not seeing a struggle for justice; we are seeing a struggle for power) is nothing to be afraid of, even while entire city blocks are burning to the ground nightly. I don’t know that 200,000 business owners have lost their livelihoods in the rioting, but if Trump, because of the 200,000 lives (mostly unavoidably) lost, is callous in calling for courage in the face of a virus, why is Michelle Obama not accused of the same callousness in belittling the losses of entire neighbourhoods? If a “mostly peaceful” virus with a better than 97% recovery rate can devastate 200,000 lives, shouldn’t we treat 97% “mostly peaceful” “protests” that have also devastated lives with the same degree of seriousness with which the media demand we treat COVID? I say we should treat the second threat with far more seriousness because, unlike COVID, the neo-Marxist mind virus is 100% preventable. If we could ever collectively choose that it should be. Being humanity, the collective choosing will never happen. But individually, we can choose to overcome the ignorance that breeds this virus. We can choose to seek out and embrace truth.
I know I preach this same sermon in every single post I write, but I don’t have any other to preach. Ideas have consequences, and truth matters. That’s it, that’s all, folks. That’s my closing argument.