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Excellent analysis as always. The part in which you describe the Woke religion as subverting the concepts of vice and virtue is especially chilling; I’ve lost friends to this cult, as I’m sure many other readers have, the final straw to our degenerating relationship occurring whenever I started trying to get my life together – again, an experience other readers no doubt can empathize with.

But while this leftist notion of virtuous self-destruction does indeed act as a kind of inbuilt population control, it seems worth mentioning that it is also testament to how utterly disposable the managerial class view their conscripts as. Not only will they force their adherents into psychological, intellectual, and emotion serfdom, they are willing to morally and spiritually lobotomize them to such a degree that these folks are unlikely to ever recover. And I get that woke morons are insufferable, but that must be a hell I’m not sure too many of us on the sane side of the debate can really imagine.

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I'm reminded of the turn of the 20th century, the explosions of creativity in reaction to repressive moral virtues, the excitement of social change then that the woke must feel now, however misguided their actions, which resulted in a world war where a generation slaughtered each other at the behest of the ruling class and its ruse of patriotism and the fiction of an enemy.

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It's really not, though. It's a derogatory term of abuse directed at everyone who adopts cultural Marxist views, the overwhelming majority of whom have never even heard of the Frankfurt School. It's not meant to conceal anything.

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Jul 9, 2022Liked by John Carter

The purpose of the Leftist Permanent Revolution is...the Leftist Permanent Revolution.

To devote your life to the cause, to "enact change", "make the world a better place", "bend the arc of History", to be a holy and righteous soldier in the cause of Progress and Equality (which has now been rebranded and franchised as Diversity Equity Inclusion). And of course to score some juicy sinecure for proselytizing and payback, financial and otherwise.

Young people with their hearts full of zeal and certitude don't worry about abstractions like the Future, Virtue, or even logic and sense, they worry about those other juicier abstractions that get you more followers and fungible virtue points: battling various evil Isms, centering the marginalized, eradicating the Old, midwifing the New.

The Leftist Permanent Revolution is the post-60s Crusades, a one-stop shop to get your social, psychological, spiritual and career needs all met, and for those simpler younger folk who believe the label on the package, it provides the same basic needs as all prior belief systems: allowing you to get ahead while at the same time making you feel holy special & righteous.

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This phenomenon is the natural outcome of “modern philosophy” in the person of Decartes and it seems to exist in direct relation to “progressivism.” In a Theory of Mind class I took at Oxford, my class thesis was to analyze Decartes using the algorithmic methods of computer science. It revealed “I think, therefore I am” as a type of endless division, ultimately forcing “the calculator” to display “E”. It is the same with woke “progressivism”, which also has parallels to Jonestown, and indeed, these folks have been induced to drink the Koolaid.

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GK Chesterton talked about that in the introduction to Orthodoxy, the way a certain solipsistic mania can be perfectly logically consistent, yet clearly insane. I'm butchering the quote with my paraphrase of it, but something to the effect that the man who thinks he is god and the world around him a product of his own imagining does not need arguments so much as he needs fresh air, the hammer of a higher reality to break through the walls of his self-imposed spiritual prison and open his mind to daylight from the outside. That will be the story of the metaverse, if Zuckerberg ever gets that project fully off the ground: a universe in which Mark Zuckerberg is god: a literal hell on earth. Thank God that reality has a way of intruding on these fantasies, though unfortunately sometimes that intrusion doesn't occur until the delusion destroys a lot of people's minds.

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Similar thoughts have been written about paranoia in general. It may not be that the paranoid delusional system is incoherent or without foundation. The problem is what it leaves out, the information that could falsify delusions and force a change in perspective. Perception itself is distorted, preventing corrective input.

Two aspects of Woke come to mind here, the preemptive rejection of other viewpoints, and the “secondary gain” or incentivized motives and functions of maintaining Woke dogma. These benefits may be personal, interpersonal, or economic.

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Are you trying to participate in a discussion, or just spamming the same copypasta everywhere all over the thread?

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Great writing and analysis, like everything else on your substack. I have found myself revisiting Christianity lately. I had been agnostic about the existence of God and come to view the historical claims about Jesus as doubtful, but . . . wokeism seems so perfectly demonic; it looks like the deliberate creation of an evil genius who made it in order to maximize suffering and destroy life for no reason other than the sheer sociopathic joy of doing so, and wokeism seems so perfectly calibrated to hijack the human mind like a virus and degrade people spiritually until they take delight in their own destruction . . . that I have begun to seriously wonder if there is not a literal devil after all. And if there's a devil, then maybe there is a God?

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My take: God is very real, as is spiritual evil. None of that necessarily implies that Jesus of Nazareth was a real historical person. That said, the relentless assault on Christianity gets my back up, from a purely cultural perspective.

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founding

In full agreement. I am inclined towards an adapted form of quasi-Platonism, with streaks of Jung myself. The creation is fundamentally good, evil is the inferior aspect of our psyche and we should make do with the available, historically derived, forms of belief that are relevant and that have proven effective. I am comfortable with the most rigorous Biblical scholarship (which derives from Renaissance humanist hermeneutics) but not with the allergy to traditional faith that has become unhinged and frequently malicious.

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That's generally my attitude towards biblical criticism, too. I'm not inclined to take any text at face value, particularly when that text demands I do so. But it's possible to engage in such a project from a more respectful and, frankly, higher set of motives, than is typically displayed by the stereotypical Reddit atheist. If the goal is to arrive at a more profound understanding of history and the divine, biblical criticism and religious skepticism can be a very good thing. If it's to justify sticking things in your butt, not so much.

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founding

Exactly. We (post-Enlightenment) generations no longer face the pressures of established religions of the traditional type and we have the benefits of archaeology, anthropology and physiology to make sense of obscurities that baffled or offended people in the past. Scoring points (the Reddit atheist approach) wears off with adolescence. When it doesn't you have a problem.

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Jul 10, 2022·edited Jul 10, 2022Liked by John Carter

I have started to think of myself as a "Jordan Peterson Christian." Whatever may be historically true in the Bible, the story of Jesus generally, and so many of the specific stories told about him and by him, convey some real spiritual truths about human nature and the moral universe.

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Exactly.

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And that line, "the unanswerable Zen koan 'What is a woman?'" is hilarious and cuts straight to the heart of Wokeism's absurdity.

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Jul 18, 2022Liked by John Carter

One of my favorite lines as well.

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The Josephus passage is a pious fraud, inserted by monks centuries after his life. The same is almost certainly true of the Tacitus quote.

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I did dig. Nothing in the NT reads like credible history. None of the supposedly historical sources pass muster. Believe as you want, it makes no difference to me, but I require something more than satirical literature and forged literary inserts to qualify as evidence.

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To paraphrase Bertrand Russell: only those who have enough to eat can afford to be woke. Russell used this with regard to philosophy in general, in that philosophising is a luxury of the well fed upper classes, whereas the poor are too concerned with obtaining their next meal to worry about the finer points of philosophical debate. Wokery is most definitely a luxury of the Global West.

I’m a materialist at heart, in the Marxist sense that material (literally the tangible stuff you eat, sit on, work with) is the substrate (Unterbau) without which nothing else would exist - even virtually. The high voodoo of derivatives, futures and all that other finance mumbo jumbo is only possible because someone, somewhere (generally in the Global South) has produced an actual tangible product which someone in the Global West has bought. Everything else is superstructure on top of this substrate.

Similarly, wokery can only exist as a cultural superstructure on top of those very same “populist” working class ways of life that it so rails against. Basically, the woke are cultural parasites living off the very structures they want to destroy.

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Jul 9, 2022Liked by John Carter

"Useful to the managerial class" Indeed. Anyone adopting this religion would be mercilessly crushed by the weight of reality in a free society. This would, of course, be good for them in the long run as living in hyper-reality is unsustainable (to the chagrin of Mark Zuckerberg I'm sure). I would like to think the delta between the woke and everyone else will continue to widen as every behavior that underlies human performance optimization can't be endorsed within wokeism for the reasons you outline. Then again, normies tend to get terrible fitness, nutrition, and cognitive enhancement advice from the incompetent among the credentialed class that are afraid to offend anyone by providing information inconsistent with wokeism. There is a tendency within many professions to not call a spade a spade out of courtesy. Unfortunately, I don't think this is a luxury that can be afforded any longer, especially in the cognitive enhancement/behavioral health space. I'm skeptical that such professionals can provide a valuable service if they're woke, and additionally I'm not sure they can help woke people without addressing their religious beliefs. Doing so is all downside given the state of licensing boards that are vulnerable to capture. Truly one of the great problems of our age...

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founding

Living in hyper-reality has been possible because consumption is severed from productivity thanks to cheap credit. Woke developed and is at its fiercest in countries with chronic trade deficits and unsustainable debt, in other words, countries that deprioritised production and that maintained excess consumption by wracking up liabilities that they do not expect to pay. The vanguard constituency for woke is formed by those with 'bullshit jobs' (to use an expression coined by David Graeber). They are supported from above by crony capitalists enriched by asset bubbles created by reckless monetary policy.

It remains to be seen what legacy woke will have and how they will adapt to future financial crises, increasing scarcity and economic competition. The credibility of woke may be destroyed, but recuperating the ranks of the woke and integrating them into a viable model of social or economic organisation will be difficult, if not impossible.

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That's an important insight, that Graeber's Bullshit Jobs class (great essay that everyone should read) are the primary constituency. As you say, woke is maintained artificially, via giant injections of fiat debt money. Withdraw the cash, and the project will crash. I can't see the woke having the implacable solidity of faith that enables a mujahideen to fight in the mountains for decades on end.

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founding

I fear that they will wage their jihad nonetheless, either from their sofas or on the streets. Many people double down when proved wrong and there will be millions, perhaps tens of millions, to form a chronically disaffected and malicious cohort for at least a generation to come. Failed projects in social engineering do not necessarily yield willing recruits for better alternatives. They can just as easily do so for worse ones.

People like you or me readily fall into the fallacy of assuming that the exposure of falsity settles things. It rarely does. False knowledge has its utility, especially in bonding people together in shared illusions. The social and territorial zones of dysfunction are set to remain and the usual suspects that preside over these will maintain whatever moral order they can.

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This is one of the reasons it's useful to analyze woke from a cultic perspective. Their commitment to it is impregnable to experience; feelings don't care about facts. Indeed they'll be wedded to it for a long time to come, likely the rest of their lives; it's the long game that needs focusing on.

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founding

True. Regimes have always crafted cults and sects to suit themselves, with flow-on effects through the millennia. We are fated to live, at least for the foreseeable future, under one which gets its moral tone from the Manson Family rather than the Psalmist or the Good Samaritan.

The interesting thing about the cultic aspect for me is not so much the doctrinal/dogmatic stuff, but the ritual: the demonstrations, riots, chanting...all of the kinetic and somatic stuff. Watching the George Floyd riots in 2020 was an eye-opener. I wondered at the time whether frustrated or misdirected sexuality might have played a role in some of the behaviour of the larpers pretending to be revolutionaries, both male and female. The sight of young college women (all presumably contemptuous of toxic masculinity) urging on their male peers to physically confront cops had me wondering what a physiologist or zoologist would make of it. Similarly the scenes of shared hysteria at the colleges where students become emotionally distraught, in some cases to a point just short of ecstacy, while discussing the 'harms' inflicted by abstract ideas. People who seek psychic relief through public exhibitions of aggression or extreme emotion would have fitted in perfectly in a lot of cults from across the ages.

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The ritual aspects seem to play a more central role than the doctrinal aspects. Insofar as there even is a doctrine: while dissent isn't tolerated, as many have noted the 'dogma' is so fluid that it can't really be said to be a dogma.

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This is a big problem in tech, the push for females and minorities to become programmers. It's not just the giants like Google and Microsoft, but even small startups are prioritizing female and minority candidates because the industry is so flush with cash. Quite frankly none of them can compare with an above average white or east asian programmer. So you task them with the equivalent of busy work for programmers, pretty much anything not part of the core program or tools so they can't mess up too bad. Majority of them will switch jobs (for higher pay) every 4-6 months, as to not be completely found out. The problem is, that after a couple years of doing this, they will apply for managerial positions and get them because HR cat ladies are the biggest proponents of Woke.

This is why I wouldn't mind another tech bubble pop, just to get all this ESG bullshit out of tech.

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founding

Those who can't work manage. That's the story in all industries.

The employability of an over abundance of the marginally skilled is sustained by the availability of cash (thanks to the Fed printing money), compounded by employment law (which incentivises diversity hiring so as to reduce the liability of companies to penalties under anti-discrimination law) and preferential contracting by government. Add the perceived benefits of diversity being pushed by consultants and ratings agencies who have no skin in the game, but are desperate to normalise their ideologies/values.

Don't worry, the mother of all bubbles is going to pop, you can rest assured of that. Whether that flushes out the ESG is another matter. You can never underestimate the durability of those who make a living from rackets like that. Here is a link to an interesting article by Malcolm Kyeyune on the imminent troubles of high tech.

https://compactmag.com/article/say-goodbye-to-your-email-job

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Jul 10, 2022·edited Jul 10, 2022Liked by John Carter

Free societies are not available on demand, alas. WW1 saw the end of classical liberal values in practice at the political level. We have been living with directed or dirigiste alternatives ever since.

Human performance optimisation is a great point of departure for thinking where we all need to go, but in reality all things optimal are reserved for the few, not distributed to the many. We are seeing a bifurcation in progress: cognitive enhancement/behavioural science will be maximised by those who can afford it, cheap substitutes for those who want it but can't afford it and woke-compatible lifestyles for the rest. Think 'Elysium' blended with 'Blade Runner' and a supporting cast nourished by high fructose corn syrup and soy.

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HPO isn't so expensive. The main challenge is separating the wheat from the chaff. There is a lot of terrible advice out there, and the content that catches attention and sells well is the kind of stuff that over promises and under-delivers. I'm hoping as we go forward peripheral cues like vaccination status, repudiation of woke ideology etc. will make it easier for people receptive to positive behavior change to find affordable and effective HPO guidance. I'm considering starting a consulting business as a proof of concept offering a money back guarantee. I think it could be a very effective model, but I suppose I'll just have to do it to find out.

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founding

Charlatans abound. Good luck with your ideas, if you decide to go ahead. The explosion in medical knowledge (including behavioural stuff) is extraordinary and there is urgent, overdue, need for a paradigm shift towards preventive medicine to counteract the rise of preventable chronic illnesses.

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i always ask my “woke” friends… “to where are we progressing to?” what does the end result look like? and of course, they never have the answer.

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Jul 10, 2022Liked by John Carter

Just to get a little Nietzschean for a moment, I don't know if will-to-power is so much about any specific long-term plan or end result (maybe vaguely) but it is more about the moment of felt power, the thrill of having, wielding and inflicting power, and successfuly executing some delicious spiteful act like getting your professor cancelled or getting a celeb to grovel and issue a forced apology.

Like when all those teen Maoists got to make their teachers kneel and grovel and confess their crimes while wearing a dunce cap--those kids may have had in their head and on their lips some notion of the glorious proletarian future and some other Red Book slogans, but really you know they were just overwhelmed with joy that the tables had turned and now they held the whip hand.

People love nothing more than getting to inflict pain in the name of Justice and a better world.

But if you read their horrific prose, all written in the style of a hostage letter, I think it's somewhat clear what the Woke want: think of the most rigid society of 100 or so yrs ago, w the White Christian male at the top of the pyramid and everyone else at a lower level, they just want to flip this upside down so the first will be last and the last will be first.

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I think you nailed it. Smith wrote that slavery makes very little economic sense, and only persisted because people quite like having power over others. Funny how wokeism fits that bill as well some 250 years later.

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Very well done, indeed. May your Woke sister realize her madness soon.

It isn't just the schools the Woke use to increase their adherents. It is the entire society, media, business, and more. Woke would be a small academic pothole if not for the money and power of the billionaires that push it for their own personal power.

Are they true believers or just using it as a tool for enslavement? I really wonder about that. Maybe the people behind those like Schwab and Fink and Gates put them in power because they already believed.

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Jul 10, 2022·edited Jul 10, 2022Liked by John Carter

Great piece and full of insight but I think that the examination of woke here and elsewhere needs to go further. Maybe I read too much of this stuff, but woke as a religion is fast becoming a cliche. It does not explain enough. We need to determine why at this stage of history a phenomenon that generates aberrant and dysfunctional behaviour becomes not only possible, but necessary for societies like the US.

You rightly point out the implications of woke for fertility. If demography is good for anything, it establishes that fertility is determined across all cultures by the opportunity costs of child-bearing. When these rise, fertility falls. Iran ( a most unwoke country) has pretty serious problems with its fertility rate.

My guess is that the content of woke is simply confected out of junk that has been floating around for generations. It began forming into a coherent phenomenon during the maturation of the post-Cold War economy. It is adapted to meet the needs of a society in which growing numbers cannot realistically expect to earn sufficient income to form or maintain families of the traditional type. The 2008 crisis was the inflection point culturally and politically.

The Clinton/Blair era established social peace in the absence of welfare-capitalism on the basis of cheap consumer credit, capital accumulation through asset bubbles and the promise of upward social mobility through higher education. This has run its course. Western capitalism (North America, Europe and Australasia) no longer enables the masses to enjoy the benefits of secure employment or substantial prosperity. The global mobility of labour makes replacement level fertility irrelevant.

Woke legitimises the family structures and lifestyles of a fragmented society with a swelling number of people who are superfluous. It is all about managing the anomie and dysfunction through the period in which the US and related societies adjust to its changing economy. Feminism managed the reproductive health of female wage-slaves in the 20th c., woke will do the same for the proles and the the sub-proletariat (whose fertility is postponed or somehow frustrated by economic insecurity) in the 21st.

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I suspect you convinced your sister more than she's willing to admit. Church of Woke is losing adherents pretty fast. The priests will revert to ritual mumbling as they find no one is listening. We can help them end their misery.

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"Woke may seem powerful now, but its worship of illness in all its forms is a crippling handicap. Its only possible destiny is to be replaced by a religion that actually works."

There will be much wreckage to clear, unimaginable lost souls to pray for, bur I predict we will be up for it. Our real task will be to prevent it from happening again, and again, and again.

For that, we need a comprehensive change and approach.

I hate to say it, but a harsh one!

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I don’t believe there is any such solution. If Woke is a mind virus that hijacks freedom, liberalism, or even post-Christian ethics, there will always be the possibility that any sufficient comprehensive change and harsh approach may be a cure worse than the disease. In other words, and with respect, foolproof Woke-proofing may be another utopian fantasy.

I think we are more likely in the realm of “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance” territory, and so on.

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The solution isn't just to woke-proof. It's to offer something objectively better and healthier - not for the purpose of counter-canceling Woke, but for its own sake. Woke dies not by being fought, but by becoming cringe, then irrelevant, then forgotten.

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I think there is room for varied solutions. As a fan of New Discourses, I’ve glimpsed the terrifying scope and eminence of the Woke cult technology. The legal, rhetorical and civil battles across nation and globe seem absolutely necessary.

Whether we think of it as defense or offense, I agree that asserting what is better and healthier must be the central strategy.

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Fighting woke is purely defensive in nature. The only possible cultural offense is to articulate a superior worldview and then implement it. A big reason woke has been successful (aside from the boost it gets from elite favor) is that the right doesn't do a good job of inspiring with a unifying vision of its own.

Say what you will about woke, at least it's an ethos.

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founding

Implementation is the key. Arguments are only words. The lived experience, the demonstration effect, is vital.

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Precisely. Praxis > rhetoric.

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Big Lebowski beats Last of the Mohicans (“scope and eminence”) 😃

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Jul 10, 2022·edited Jul 10, 2022Liked by John Carter

A great piece John.

Also, the Woke is just another cog in the machine to further develop the doom we see spiraling faster and faster....until a day shall come, where those left will wonder, "what did I miss?" As they go by their days now Wokexercising .....

Another square on the Bullshit Bingo card.....

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One of the best descriptions of Wokeism I have read, Your analysis was quite thorough. I would differ with you, however on your statement of the collapse of Christianity leaving a spiritual vacuum in the West. I don't believe there is a vacuum, perhaps a temporary void, maybe because many have ceased to believe in a higher being, be it a Christian view or another.

I don't believe that wokeism is spiritual but rather more cult like, there is nothing about it that satisfies one's soul. It may replace an emptiness due to the lack of spirituality in a person but in itself, it is not spiritual. Linking tomorrow as usual @https://nothingnewunderthesun2016.com/

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You're correct that it's very unsatisfying to the soul. I really should have added a fifth point - that a religion should offer a full and nourishing meal, including a comprehensive explanation of our purpose and place in the universe, the nature of reality, and the destiny of the soul after death. The impoverished metaphysics on which woke is founded render it spiritual junk food; but its adherents, never having tasted real food, are ignorant of the difference and therefore continue stuffing their faces trying to satisfy a hunger their cult can never fulfill.

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Wokeness is good business for pharma, too. Not just with covid. I mean, perpetual psych meds and puberty blockers and everything we hand out like candy to keep people enslaved. People I know who embrace that treadmill end up worse and worse, shadows of themselves, even as they claim to be “finding” themselves.

Also, I find JK Rowling a fascinating case study. Already has her billions in the bank and doesn’t seem to care if she’s totally maligned by her once-woke allies for sticking to her stance that promoting trans-inclusion is anti-feminist and dangerous to women. I have to give her props for that.

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Jul 9, 2022Liked by John Carter

Minor point. You have confused the Shakers with the Oneida community. Shakers were celibate. Sexes had separate housing, even separate stairways. Oneida is the free love commune.

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Jul 9, 2022·edited Jul 10, 2022Author

Thanks for the correction. I've added a footnote.

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I was confused as well. The Shakers had issues, but I wasn't aware that moral decadence was one of them.

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That's what happens when I write from memory.

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Have you been banking up essays and releasing them? Or do you release essays as you complete them? Just curious - I write but mostly for religious periodicals and I am amazed at the apparent speed and quality of a few of the writers on substack including you.

The quality of my writing is considered good by some people - but my output is low. I think I need to write more.

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I release as soon as I finish something. Usually takes a few hours from beginning to end, depending on length.

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It is instructive too, the similarities between militant jihadism and wokeism, insofar as they both wish to erase history in favor of their worldview. They also are equally dour. Wokeism might ultimately kill more people.

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If you include the aborted, the mountain of skulls is already in the several tens of millions.

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I generally don't count them, for the simple fact that most Westerners support abortion at least up to 3months, and the attempt to outlaw abortion comes from people whose zealotry about it is not particularly healthy for society either. But yes, abortion on demand up until birth seems more like eugenics.

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Thank you, John. Your insights and clarity are inspiring, however horrific the context. I can only hope with enough of us, with concerted action we can not just survive but thrive in this, our awakening. It's going to be a group effort of trust and faith.

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