If I have learned one thing from this pandemic, it is that the primary recourse of most of the archons running the world is to flee nature and what is natural and cleave to the unnatural as the salvation of our souls. The unnatural idols range from the Messiah-like vaccine promised to arrive some time in the future and deliver us all from the scourge to the Ahrimanic desire to track people and isolate them “for their own safety” to the more simple “remedy” of sequestering people in their homes—by force if need be—under the mistaken assumption that nature is somehow unable to get in as if a safe zone in a game of tag, even though New York City recently discovered that most new cases of the virus are infecting those in their homes.
We fear nature, and due to our fear we attempt to dominate her. This has been the trajectory of science at least since the seventeenth century. Nature, formerly spoken of in decidedly feminine terms as Natura, needed to be dominated like any other willful female to the misogynistic and mechanistic thinking of early modern science, a practice that persists in all but semantics today. As Mary Midgley so clearly describes it,
“The literature of early modern science is a mine of highly-coloured passages that describe Nature, by no means as a neutral object, but as a seductive but troublesome female, to be unrelentingly pursued, sought out, fought against, chased into her inmost sanctuaries, prevented from escaping, persistently courted, wooed, harried, vexed, tormented, unveiled, unrobed, and ‘put into question’ (i.e. interrogated under torture), forced to confess ‘all that lay in her most intimate recesses,’ her ‘beautiful bosom’ must be laid bare, she must be held down and finally ‘penetrated,’ ‘pierced’ and ‘vanquished’ (words which constantly recur).”1
I could get into a whole Freudian thing about the method for injecting a vaccine here, but I will resist.
Coinciding with the scientific domination model during this COVID phenomenon has been a perhaps more troubling move toward political or governmental domination. Government authorities assert their power over their unruly charges with all the authority of a first-year elementary school teacher with no classroom management skills and a host of unacknowledged anger issues, while the populace wobbles between obedience and rebellion. As Wilhelm Reich observed, “People fear or admire what they cannot grasp.”2 It’s a recipe for disaster.
Trying to divorce ourselves from the natural world will not work, because we can’t. And no one needs expertise in quantum mechanics to realize this.
It is telling, I think, that the places hardest hit by the COVID phenomenon are places most alienated from nature and most afflicted by varieties of pollution, cities mostly. And the fact that most people are the victims of diets also characterized by the scientific domination of nature—and often the exclusion of nature—and thus even more susceptible to diseases (also known these days as co-morbidities). American diets, for example, are rife with unnatural products which contribute to hypertension, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke, and so forth. As an aside, one of my sons worked as a hospital orderly through college. One day he told me that his job taught him how harmful diets contributing to obesity are: the greatest share of the patients he had to move at the hospital were morbidly obese, their health and quality of life destroyed by the garbage they consumed sold as “food.” Interestingly, yesterday I was listening to an interview with two physicians on NPR about the disproportionate representation of people of color in C-19 deaths—but nobody said anything about diet. Poor diet, we could say, is the engine that drives our medical economy. I have yet to hear Dr. Fauci or Bill Gates talk about nutrition.
Illness and death, I am sad to report, are part of the natural world, as much as we fear them. All generations have been awed by the mysteries of illness and death, the author of the Epic of Gilgamesh no less than the Psalmist or Dylan Thomas. But we have an antiseptic relationship to death—even bodes of the deceased are disappearing from funerals, not to mention the tragedy of so many people dying during this pandemic deprived of Last Rites and holy burial, unaccompanied on their journey to the undiscovered country. What an inhuman and unnatural tragedy.
It was not always thus. Julian of Norwich, for example, actually prayed that she could become ill in order to draw closer to Christ. Her shewings, or revelations, in fact, occurred during an illness when she came very close to death. And her take away, as told by Jesus: “All shall be well.” This way of being is absolutely foreign to our current ethos. We don’t think all shall be well. Not ever. Instead we tell ourselves creation myths about a “new normal.”
St. Francis of Assisi also acknowledged the reality of death as part of life. Toward the end of his relatively short time on this earth, he added a verse to his Canticle of All Creatures in honor of Sister Death:
Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whom no one living can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin. Blessed are those whom death will find in Your most holy will, for the second death shall do them no harm.
Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks and serve Him with great humility.
It may be that part of our forgetting how to live is attributable to our forgetting how to die. Did the Master not say “Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted”?
Sophiology, at its core, celebrates the shining of God through Creation via his Mediatrix, Sophia. The world, as the Lord says in Genesis, is good. Christ, the Lord of the Dance, is that goodness incarnate: “He has the full power of the God-given Life force. He understands the birds and he knows how to distinguish a grain of rye from a grain of wheat.”3
We can get through this, but we can’t hide from it.
A useful interview with an MD who understands both virology and nature.
Michael’s latest books are an edition of The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutzand Transfiguration: Notes toward a Radical Catholic Reimagination of Everything. He can be reached at email@example.com See also The Center for Sophiological Studies' available courses.
1. Mary Midgley, Science as Salvation: A Modern Myth and Its Meaning (London: Routledge, 1992), 77.
2. Wilhelm Reich, The Murder of Christ: The Emotional Plague of Mankind (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1953), 21.
3. Ibid., 33.