Spiritual corruption begins with an unremitting terror that sinks so completely into one’s being that it can transmogrify. That terror gradually becomes the opposite. There it festers and insinuates itself into other areas of one’s existence like a cancer.
When it reemerges it is in such a dissipated spiritual state that it will either take what seems to be desperate measures to survive or heroic measures to achieve some magnificent illusion.
One way to assess the nature of a manifestation of spiritual corruption is to consider its two basic myths.
First, there is a formative or POSITIVE MYTH about what is or what may be. To function as a powerful positive myth it must have three basic aspects:
1. It must be ATTRACTIVE. It must express what is passionately desired.
2. It must be RICH. It must be endowed with heritage, nobility, and essence.
3. It must be WORTHY. It must describe a state that is valuable and worth effort, even though it requires a term of sacrifice. In fact, it is likely to be in the achievement of the goals of this transition to glory that the dynamics are set into motion which brings about the end.
But this mythical destiny is essentially the opposite of what it proposes to be.
Second, there is a NEGATIVE MYTH about an enemy that stands in the way. This enemy is thought of as the real danger, the essential problem, and the basic obstacle. The enemy is traditional, always there throughout conscious history, but now this old enemy is radicalized, magnified, and utilized to rally excessive protective and proactive defensive measures. However, when the enemy in this myth is analyzed it can be seen:
1. The enemy is essentially imaginary, not a viable, actual threat
2. The enemy is actually a personification of one’s own dysfunctionality.
But, ironically, this presumed enemy, now considered mythically, has really been one of the contributors to the authentic destiny that could have been realized for the individual, society or nation that has now vilified it.
Corrupt spirituality is either a deadly cancer or a ticking time bomb. It will kill sooner rather than later, one way or another.
One scenario is for the spiritual corruption to “mature,” its corruption spreading to ever- widening areas of spirituality, increasingly consuming all one’s spiritual energy until the deterioration and decay expire into doom and extinction, sometimes with a final spectacular eruption, but sometimes not.
The other scenario is for outside forces to undertake AN INVASION. (There are countless forms of invasive action – surgical, military, reformative, and other interventions – initiated and carried out by entities acting without the cooperation and sometimes against the will of the afflicted individual.) This intervention will be either to eradicate the expanding threat or to redeem the elemental aspects of the corrupt entity in order to create a new order, society, or national entity.
The dynamics that will most often tend to coalesce the external forces that lead to the invasion and consequent decimation of the old entity, society, or nation are:
1. A reaction to some great aggression that was undertaken to advance the positive myth.
2. A reaction to some great abomination that was motivated by the negative myth.
3. A reaction to both.
German National Socialism from 1925-1945
Their foundational story was that Teutonic-Germanic people were the descendants of the Aryan supermen of Atlantis; the survivors from an Atlantis-like island named Thule immigrated to Tibet; and then migrated back to Germany holding onto certain key encoded truths. These German-Aryans were the race of founders of civilization. The Nazi myth was that the genetic heritage of the Aryans was retained in the Nordic-Aryan race, and the Aryan wisdom and knowledge was available through esoteric and occult means to those with special abilities. The Aryan race would again attain their leadership of the world when their time came and the messianic leader appeared. Their long-expected Leader was not a mere mortal, but the incarnation of the perfection that the Aryan heritage had preserved, and he and a caste of special highly-select pure-blood Aryans would carry forward the reestablishment of the Aryan race. The Nazis’ “positive myth” provided the rationale the Nazis used to inspire their initiates to take over other lands, particularly those to the east.
This foundational myth was about physicality (blood and land), but it was expressed in meta-cultural terms, with the Aryans as heroes. A hero is brave in the service of others. This was corrupted in Nazism. The heroic class of Nazis, as they celebrated their heroes with songs and festivals, was dedicated, not to the service of others, but to the Fuhrer, one of their own, and to the Volk, their own people, and the Vaterland, their homeland. Patriotism very often constricts and contorts heroism in this self-serving, egocentric way. It is politically expedient and often popular, but it is a spiritual corruption.
The anti-heroes of the negative myth the Nazis propounded were the “destroyers” of civilization; they were the dark races and Semites led by the Jews. The Jews had insinuated themselves into the most critical points of society where they held key roles in banking, industry, science and intellectual enterprises. What’s more, they played sinister roles in much else, such as religion, medicine and geo-politics. It was Hitler’s plan from the beginning to eradicate the Jews from the German Fatherland. It was to be his legacy that the Jews were removed from Europe. But, by the latter stages of the Second World War, Hitler dreamed of trying to eradicate the memory that the Jews had ever existed in Europe.
The myth of the adversary was the opposite of the foundational myth of the Nazis. It posited that the Jews were demonic (the reverse of heroes), rather than being holders of key service roles in every level of society, which was a more apt description of their role in nineteenth and twentieth century Germany and middle Europe. The Nazis imagined a great conspiracy afoot, with the Jews in league with satanic forces behind it all. Since the roots of the danger could not be discerned, and the extent of the danger could not be exaggerated, any effort to thwart the enemy was justified, and needed to be carried out at every level: the Jewish genetic pool had to be eradicated; the Jewish intellectual heritage had to be expunged, and so forth. The Nazis’ “negative myth” justified wiping out the Jews. It is equally chilling to consider how ridding society of the Jews was largely acceptable to such a large percentage of the Germans as well as the Nazis.
It is characteristic of corrupted spirituality that the individual (person, society or nation) cannot heal itself, largely because healing involves initiatives that appear to be insidious. To heal would involve the unthinkable removal of both the positive and the negative myths, and therefore the destruction of the reason for being. Yielding would lead to an unimaginable outcome and back into terror. The very opposite kind of courage and leadership than the heroic sort being celebrated would be called for. Left to its own devices, if actions being undertaken are allowed to reach their final conclusion, corrupted spirituality expires in a final Ragnarok sort of Gotterdammerung, or simply becomes too much to sustain and then withers and putrefies.
However, in the face of the Nazi aggression against the nations of Europe, and their being in league with other aggressors, more decisive action was decided upon. An alliance of nations was formed to not only oppose Nazi military moves, but to reverse them and then to obliterate the threat of them re-emerging. The first motive for invading Nazi-held lands was to oppose Nazi aggression. Meanwhile, Nazi atrocities not only (nor primarily) against military targets, but against civilian populations, gnawed at the consciences of the Allied nations. Even though many people in those Allied nations agreed with some of the stereotype stories about Jews, the treatment of Jews through mass murder and the gradual truth about the concentration and death camps, further motivated the invasion. In the end, it was not just the elimination of the ability of the Nazis to wage war that purged Germany of its toxic spiritual corruption, but the exposure of the rottenness of its enabling myths. That effect was greatly speeded up, of course, by conclusive military action.
Finally, it would be unrealistic to think that all the seeds of those myths have been completely and utterly obliterated. Friends in Austria and Germany report that there are neo-Nazi factions alive and growing again with variations of those same empowering myths. Other friends in the Americas and England, as well as elsewhere scattered around the world, tell of nationalistic groups (sometimes actually employing Nazi titles and regalia) who have revised the myths and gain energy from them to undertake action plans.
There are also movements and groups who deny any affinity with the Nazis and the content of their myths, who have other corrupted narratives of an endangered society or nation beset by people bent on disempowering and destroying their entitlements, who are rallying around an inward-looking charismatic leader.
The time comes when vigilance is not enough.
[Note on the picture above: The Dadaist artist John Heartfield was a fearless critic of Hitler and his movement. His montages showed the spiritual corruption inherent in militant nationalism.]
Rev. Dr. Kenneth Dobson posts his weekly reflections on this blog.