Saturday, 14 April 2007

Metaphysics of Social Credit

By: Socred - B.A., SCMP

The term philosophy is derived from the Greek words "philo" - to love - and "soph" - knowledge. Literally, philosophy is the love of knowledge. C.H. Douglas claims that the policy of Social Credit derives from its philosophy. He refers to this philosophy as "Practical Christianity". In order to understand the meaning of this term, we must distinguish it from other philosophies, and other forms of Christianity.

"It must be insisted that Christianity is either something inherent in the very warp and woof of the Universe, or it is just a set of interesting opinions, largely discredited, and thus doubtfully on a par with many other sets of opinions, and having neither more nor less claim to consideration." (C.H. Douglas, "Realistic Position of the Church of England").

In order for Christianity to be seriously considered, it must represent something which is inherent in the very essence of the universe; otherwise, it is merely opinion, and does not differ from any other opinion with regard to the nature of being. Why does Douglas feel that Christianity represents a system which is the very essence of the Universe? What concept, which is unique to Christianity, separates it from other religions and philosophies?

"It is not too much to say that one of the root ideas through which Christianity comes into conflict with the conceptions of the Old Testament and the ideals of the pre-Christian era, is in respect of this dethronement of abstractionism. That is the issue which is posed by the Doctrine of the Incarnation. " (C.H. Douglas, "Social Credit")

The Doctrine of Incarnation denies that God is some abstract being beyond human comprehension. The Doctrine of Incarnation teaches us that God existed in time in the persona of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30), and further "though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father." (John 10:38). A philosophy based upon reality must be rooted in existence. If God existed in time in the form of Jesus Christ, then we have a concrete building block from which to test the validity of Christianity: Jesus's word. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1), and "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father full of grace and truth" (John 1:14) The Doctrine of Incarnation is the belief that God is the Word, and Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh.

Douglas's conception of Christianity is fundamentally Trinitarian. And it is Jesus's Word which is the very "warp and woof" of the Universe. It is also essential to distinguish between what Douglas termed "practical Christianity", and other forms of Christianity. What exactly does Douglas mean by practical? In order to understand this term, it is necessary to understand Douglas' differentiation between two schools of thought - the classical and the modern.

"The classical system is the embodiment of an attractive and artistic ideal or conception of the nature of society, and the conditions under which society lives, moves, and has its being. It is above, outside, possibly in advance of, facts. The modern school, of which inductive natural science, based upon the experimental ascertainment of fact, is the backbone, has not essentially to do with ideals at all. It is realistic; its first postulate is that forces act in a similar manner when placed in a similar relation to each other. It refuses to admit, as a fact, anything which cannot be demonstrated, and as a theory, anything which does not fit the facts. For example, the classical ideal contends that men "ought" to be good, brave and virtuous. The modern, that it does not understand the meaning of goodness, that bravery and virtue are not capable of exact definition, and, that so far as the word "ought" has any meaning, it postulates the existence of a force so far undemonstrated." (C.H. Douglas, "Social Credit")

We see that Douglas believes the classical conception of nature, or the Universe, is "above, outside, possibly in advance of, facts"; whereas, the modern conception is "based upon the experimental ascertainment of fact". It is this modern school of thought which Douglas deems to be best for understanding the universe. So, in order for Christianity to be practical, it must abandon the Aristotelean conception of the universe, and replace it with a conception based on modern inductive science. However; Douglas was careful to differentiate between a Christian conception of the Universe developed with the aid of modern inductive science, and a materialistic conception of the universe.

"The tendency to argue from the particular to the general is a special case of the sequence from materialism to collectivism. If the universe is reduced to molecules, ultimately we can dispense with a catalogue and a dictionary; all things are the same thing, and all words are just sounds - molecules in motion." (C.H. Douglas, Perthshire 1945)

Materialism is the foundation of collectivism, and some believe the very foundation of the universe itself. Ultimately, materialism fails to recognize the unique characteristics of each individual, because it reduces everything to "molecules in motion". Being that we can all be reduced to "molecules in motion", it follows that all human beings must be equal. Equality means to lack quality. With this in mind, there are probably very few human beings who would proclaim to be "equal". But the power of persuasion is pervasive, and we are fed a steady diet of dialectical materialism from the time we enter our public school system. The science classroom has become the pulpit for materialism. What are the long term consequences of this phenomenon?

"It is a curious fact, which may or may not be coincidental, that the type of society which is induced or produced by this type of thinking, bears marks resembling the workings of the thermodynamic principle of entropy - the tendency of energy to deteriorate from a potential to a latent and unavailable state - to "run down." (C.H Douglas, "Brief for the Prosecution")

Many complain that this current generation is apathetic; more concerned with the level attained in some video game than what is actually going on in the world. However; if we feed them a steady diet of dialectical materialism, is it any wonder why they tend to follow this philosophy to its logical conclusion? What is there to strive for if everyone lacks quality? If I'm equal to all other human beings, what difference do I make? If I do not have free will, what is the purpose of liberty, and what is the meaning of responsibility?

In order to answer these questions, we must begin with a set of axioms, or what I consider to be "self-evident" truths. Some may disagree with these axioms, and as Douglas said, we must then "agree to disagree". These truths will form the basis for a philosophy. I believe, and I believe that Douglas believed, that these "self-evident" truths are the basic metaphysical foundations of both the Universe and of Social Credit.

These self evident truths are 1) man has free will, and within the boundaries set by Universal laws, man has the ability to choose, and 2) time flows from past to future.

These truths are not proven by reason, but form the basic axioms upon which reason can be applied.

"Reason," as I understand it, is nearly synonymous with logic, of which mathematics is a special example. It is a pure mechanism, just as a slide rule is a mechanism, and as such, is deterministic. You put into the mechanism practically anything you please, and you get out something which was inherent in what you put in, but nothing further.

If I say that (a+b)2 =a2+2ab+b2, I can apply that very useful piece of information to a number of concrete problems, but they must, on each occasion, concern similar objects. It is no use saying that the square of a apples plus b oranges gives you some information about bananas. It does not.
The whole validity of the Christian Church rests upon the acceptance of certain premises. Those premises are not provable by reason, or they would not be premises. But they are provable or disprovable by experience, and to my mind, quite a surprising number of the Christian premises will stand that test." (C.H. Douglas, "Realistic Position of the Church of England").

Therefore; axioms cannot be proven by reason, but by application of experience. Experience tells us that we have the freedom to choose, and that time exists. Some people erroneously believe that reason itself is the basis upon which a metaphysics can be constructed. This is a complete misapplication of reason, and is abstractionism in its most absolute form. Therefore; this belief, along with any other belief in deterministic philosophy or theology, is the antithesis of Social Credit. Deterministic philosophy ultimately leads to human entropy, and this is exactly what anti-Christian forces desire.

The "mass" is unsaveable, just as a mob is insane (" without health"); the object of Anti-Christ is to keep mankind in ever larger mobs, thus defeating the object of Christ, to permit the emergence of self-governing, self-conscious individuals, exercising free will, and choosing good because it is good. " (C.H. Douglas, "The Realistic Position of the Church of England" )

Douglas said, "freedom is the ability to choose one thing at a time". This implies that freedom, choice and time are all interconnected. But how are they interconnected? Jean Paul Sartre said that "consciousness is freedom, and freedom is a nothingness in the heart of being" (Being and Nothingness). Therefore; freedom and time are connected through human consciousness. Douglas does not explicitly talk about consciousness, but he does allude to it when he speaks about the connection between the physical sciences and theology.

"The Church as such, does not appear to be properly much concerned with physical science, and the incursions of Bishop Barnes would seem to confirm that view. But one subject of mathematical science does come clearly within its province - that of Time. I am sitting by my desk. It ,is five o'clock. I get up. The fact that I was sitting by my desk at five o'clock, is now what we call a memory. But, humanly speaking, I know that my desk will be there in five minutes, that is to say, at five minutes past five, so it is difficult to believe that both the desk, and five minutes past five, are not together in existence now." (C.H. Douglas, "The Realistic Position of the Church of England")

Douglas understands that the past and the future exist together now through memory and foreknowledge. Since consciousness is what relates these concepts, it is important to understand the nature of consciousness, and its involvement with time.

"Immediacy is reality; language is ideality, consciousness is a contradiction. The moment I make a statement about reality, contradiction is present, for what I say is ideality." (Soren Kierkegaard, "Philosophical Fragments")

If consciousness is both freedom and a contradiction, then freedom is a contradiction. This is exactly what we should expect to discover, since reason is deterministic. Contradiction forms the basis of movement. Movement is the antithesis of entropy, and movement, or change, forms the basis of time. It is from consciousness that freedom, movement and time derive. Consciousness brings the future and the past together by bringing together the necessary and the contingent.

What type of policy derives from these axioms? Since human consciousness is unique to each individual, policy must always exalt the freedom of individuals in order to be consistent with Christ's Word: the very essence of the Universe. The ultimate foundation of Social Credit policy is best summed up by Douglas himself when he said,

"Systems were made for men, and not men for systems, and the interest of man which is self-development, is above all systems, whether theological, political or economic." (C.H. Douglas, "Economic Democracy")


swamper said...

The comment about entropy jumped out at me. Is Douglas saying that the universe is not entropic, but its opposite -- negentropic?
I have just recently become aware of Douglas and am intrigued.

Socred said...

I'm not an engineer as Douglas was, so you'll have to explain "negentropic", but I think Douglas was saying that life itself tends to deny the law of entropy. Life is a creative force which has a spirtual side that is not explained by the philosophy of materialism. Douglas' point in regards to materialism is that a society that adheres to this philosphy tends to follow the principle of entropy and "winds down". Only a society which recognizes the creative spirit in each individual does not follow this process.

That is my understanding of his statement.