Religious Retreat, Disintegration, and Patchwork. A Short Personal Essay.

St. Sebastian

Yesterday afternoon I made a cryptic tweet regarding my own divisibility. The experience as the threading along the periphery of your own ontology is played at, picked slowly. The feeling itself is pretty discreet, but it’s been the light guiding my decision making and goals more so than anything else. I’m more than perceptive to inwardness, consistent introspection, and deliberation; but sometimes that tug triggers a new thought process, or forces me to reconsider a past perspective. It’s the Tick. My recent ventures within the realm of religiosity has been almost entirely guided by this Tick, and although I can’t be confident that it guides everyone (or that anyone else would experience it in a similar way), it seems that I’m not alone in this experience. More and more of my peers within the realms of Online and social networks seem to be turning back to some sort of faith outside the realm of some sort of vague Pagan spirituality. My initial exposure to Catholic twitter in about 2016 or so was turbo confusing, I was completely boggled that such a culture existed on the net at the time. Today it’s something I accept, and something I would actually be pretty disheartened to see disappear. Thankfully it seems to be a largely permanent fixture at this point!

Outside of or at least within the peripheral of Online, more young people seem to be gravitating towards a more formal and traditional religious framework. A recently published HuffPost article details the lives of a few women as they navigate the possibility of a vocational livelihood. While my peers inhabiting CathTrad twitter and analogous spaces don’t necessarily strike me as going that far, I’ve met more than my fair share of young people interested in ministry and priesthood in general. Beyond the pull of the more religious light itself, this HuffPost article highlights something especially interesting:

Overall, organized religions in America are still leaching members. But it appears that young people who do seek religion are drawn to a stricter, more old-fashioned form of it. Orthodox Judaism is becoming more popular with young Americans today than other, more liberal Jewish sects. The majority of Jewish Americans who are reform or conservative are over 50, while the majority of Orthodox Jews here are under 40. This isn’t only because Orthodox Jewish families have more children. Orthodox Judaism’s retention and conversion rates are much higher than they were two decades ago. The memberships of “liberal” Protestant sects like Lutheranism are rapidly aging while more doctrinaire Christian denominations—Baptists, Orthodox Christians—have younger adherents. A fascinating study showed that millennials—even Protestants and atheists—are attracted to churches with old-fashioned gilded altars and “classic” worship styles over modern ones. Young Americans are often more likely than their elders to believe in core elements of traditional religious belief like heaven and hell, miracles, and angels, and young religious people are more likely than older ones to assert that their faith is the “one true path to eternal life.”

Pollsters have also observed that young people in America seem more open than their parents or grandparents were to authoritarianism, as if we possess a hidden desire to be ruled—that it would be a relief. In 2016, nearly one-quarter of young Americans told Harvard researchers that democracy was “bad” for the country—in 1995, only around 10 percent of young people said that—and they are consistently more likely than their elders to say technocrats or a strong leader should run America, even if that means doing away with elections. My friend Josh, a convert to Catholicism, told me he was drawn to the church specifically because it “doesn’t hold a vote to determine the truth.”

It doesn’t seem like anywhere close to a majority of young Americans are at the level where CathTrad Papal rule would ring as an appealing concept, but the fact that more traditional and authoritative veins of religious institutions seem to win out raises some very cool questions. That last paragraph is super interesting, and the moment I read it my neoreaction alarm bells were deafening. Seems super Moldbuggian and super Dark Enlightenment. An attempt to exit The Cathedral by way of entrance into literal cathedrals. Coincidentally enough, a new Nick Land article published JUST TODAY threads into these topics super well. While some Millennials are choosing a more pious path through life, just as many (if not more) have acquiesced to atheism, agnosticism, or a more grey spiritual existence (you’ll have to humor me and take my own anecdotal experiences as evidence here). Nick claims that natural science itself serves as the ultimate replacement of religion, and highlights the importance of myth to science as the successor.

Land stresses the supremacy of a cosmos over that of a universe. Dark matter and ever increasing entropy guarantees a universe that necessarily forgets itself. Fragmented Galaxies persists absolutely separated – unable to observe or measure each other. Astrophysics watches this play out in real time.

Science is thus eventually bound to be fundamentally localized. The “locality” at issue here is not merely the weak particularism of an option taken against the global, or universal. Rather, it is the very horizon of any possible universalistic ambition that finds itself rigorously constricted, and dismantled. Localism, thus understood, is not a choice, but a destiny, and even a fatality already imposed. At its greatest scales, reality is shattered. Unity exists only to be broken.

If we replace our previous dogmas with that of science as the supreme religious force, it thus seems SPLINTERING is its greatest sacrament. We enter into the lab, our new cathedral, in worship of fracture. Nick’s rejection of globalism is notorious (I’m thankful in that I think this new blog post is super important in terms of clearing up a lot of his more controversial tendencies), and the case for Patchwork within the realms of the internal as well as the physical (already observed in the cosmos, coming soon to an Earth near you) in this very Accelerationist, Scientific eschatology. While some Millennials and Gen Z-ers may turn to the pews, they’re themselves subordinate to the Accelerationist alter of Entropy by ways of their distinct categorizations. Turning themselves away from the global and the universal, they come to the aid of fracture as well as Christ.

I understand the pull of religion
when a loss wont stop itchin’

I’ve felt tension between my own religious tendencies and my unconditional accelerationist position. I’ve long thought my Christianity is an expression of some sort of humanist tendency I’ve yet to let go of, something oft criticized by those in the acc sphere. But if these tendencies can be useful agents in fracture, in patchwork itself, then so be it. Maybe there’s some use there. Maybe we are all subject to the Tick, operating ideologically, scientifically, and religiously. Perhaps in different distributions.

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