Saturday, August 09, 2014

ON NATURAL SOCIETY



Natural society is the association of human beings on the basis of kinship, i.e., natural affection for one’s blood.  Such societies organically emerge as families produce offspring, multiply, and form alliances.  The kernel of natural society is the nuclear family, the first human society, and the index of social health is the health of its families. 

The good of the family is the conservation of its existence over time.  This occurs by the transmission of a particular way of life (a heritage) down through the generations.  The purpose of the father is to bless members of his household whose actions tend toward this conservation.  He also must curse those whose acts tend to its dissolution.  The chief blessing (or privilege) is to remain in relationship to the father as head of the family.  The chief curse is to be alienated from his society.  Additional blessings and curses enhance the various states of acceptance or alienation.
In patriarchal societies (i.e., natural societies lacking higher forms of organization above the clan unit), the father holds the power of life and death over the members of his household.  This power is symbolized in an instrument having a dual function:  the ploughshare-sword (cf. Isa. 2:4 & Joel 3:10). 

The ploughshare, the cutting edge of the plough, pierces and divides soil in order to plant seed for husbandry. 

The sword is the archetypal symbol of justice.  It is the symbol of distributive justice in that the fruits of the family’s agricultural labors are divided and distributed among its members.   The sword is also the symbol of retributive justice.  In this function, the sword is used to protect and enforce the physical and moral boundaries preservative of household life. 
The ploughshare-sword is an instrument of tremendous creative and destructive potential.  It is the effective extension of the father’s word, his expressed will, and is an analog of the Divine Word (cf. Eph. 6:17 & Heb. 4:12). 

City-states and nations are organized communities of families bound to particular lands or territories.  In these societies, the archetypal ruler is the king.  Under deity and in his realm, the king’s role is to act as the agent of divine blessing and wrath (cf. Rom. 13:4).  By the scepter, the king executes the power of justice by rewarding good, i.e., acts tending to the conservation of the state.  By the sword, the king punishes evil, i.e., acts that tend to the state’s dissolution.
Internal cohesion of states and nations is fostered through intermarriage, through the bond of marital alliance.  Regular alliances are eventually formalized by covenant and governed by laws, the terms of the covenants.  Covenants are enacted by promises of loyalty (oaths) and solemnized by rituals appealing to the community’s supreme god (hopefully, *the* God) as witness.  A particular society’s network of covenants is that society’s constitutional structure.  And deity is invoked as the ultimate guarantor and enforcer of the social constitution.

Religion is the respect members of society pay to the covenantal bonds binding themselves to their god and their fellows.
Priesthoods are formed to regularize and perpetually remind the people of their religious duty and to summon the deity to enact or renew covenant. 

Prophets are individuals who arise on extraordinary occasions when the official priesthood has broken down and not fulfilling its basic functions.  In the name of deity, prophets call for covenant renewal and restoration. 

Sometimes, anti-religions masquerade as religions.  External religious forms may be kept (or mimicked), but their conservational functions have been disabled or sublimated.  Schemes of salvation have been offered by these anti-religions, but such “salvation” ultimately involves liberation from covenant duty and the abandonment of natural society.
True religion honors the Creator by conserving and sanctifying natural society.  False religion dissolves it by weakening kinship loyalty in favor of artificial arrangements of convenience and by replacing sacred covenant with disposable contract.  These pseudo-bonds serve the ambitious who desire the benefit of rule but who wish to avoid the burdens and liabilities entailed in fatherhood, kingship, and priesthood.  To be a father, a king, or priest is to be responsible to exemplify and promote the virtues of filial obedience, fraternal loyalty, and paternal love.

Today, moderns believe their societies have progressed beyond the need to be rooted in ties of kinship.  They believe natural societies are a thing of the past, of humanity’s primitive childhood.  They believe their modern technologies afford them the ability to transcend the limits of nature itself.  They redefine the family apart from its biological and procreative basis.  They even attempt to alter what it is to be male or female.

Temporarily, the modern project appeared to be successful.  Increasing rates of mental illness, suicide, crime, illegitimacy, and non-fertility give the lie to this, however.  In the long term, apart from the bonds of natural affection social cohesion cannot be maintained.    To abolish fathers, kings, and priests is to abolish filial obedience, fraternal loyalty, and paternal love at every level of society.  “A house divided against itself will not stand,” and a people without a heritage is no people.  They will perish from the face of the earth.