Wednesday, November 5, 2014

IV. Fraternity

THE LAST OF THE THREE FOLLIES is Fraternity. The promise given to the Revolutionary society was for all men - and firstly all "Frenchmen" - Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. The nationalistic society is presaged on all three follies. These follies are necessary because hyper-specialization breaks up the places where they had once settled; in the communities and families which were once organic but were broken down to form a larger, unitive body.

IN THIS WAY the heresy of Christianity that nationalism and all of the revolutionary societies and ideologies that followed it is clear; Christianity is first and foremost a fellowship, a fraternity of brethren. The concept that 'there is no x or y in Christ' must be understood in this fashion: for if there were male and female in Christ, no full fraternity would be possible, since no proper fraternity or mannerbund is ever co-ed.

CHRISTIANITY PROPOSES that the high priest or most respected elder stands in for Christ in the midst of the gathering of the brethren. There are brethren upon brethren; the top is the synod of bishops, which in the Western tradition became headed decisively by its only See: Rome. If the high priest is as Christ, then all the people gathered about him are the complete Church, regardless of where they are. This is the old model; the organic unity is around the local leader, who himself has a conciliar relationship with his brother leaders. (They cannot fulfill different roles as completely as the members of the local body can.)

THE CONCERN OF CERTAIN THINKERS was that society, like the council of bishops, was not organic enough; it was more mechanical. But to make the 'whole' or the church of churches completely organic requires breaking down the organic unity of the local churches. Though Rome created a sub-church, a higher organic grouping of Cardinals and the upper echelons, it never truly abolished the local organism. This is as far as a church can make concessions with the necessities of worldly authority and remain itself. Whether it has gone too far in this regard is not something I am capable of addressing rightly.

NOW THAT ORGANIC society is not organic, though all of its members are now units in reference to that high leadership, the national government. Whence fraternity? The Dunbar number tells us that in our biology, and as perhaps a function of our temporal and rational limitation, it is fixed at the local level. Fraternity outside of this scale is a fiction.

THE CHRISTIAN ORGANISM does not actually abolish sex, race or caste. It merely sets them aside in the context of its worship, where all human differences are as rubbish before the awesome chasm between man and God. For if Christianity had abolished them, what need would there be to remind the brethren that in Christ they were of no account?

ATTEMPTING TO RECONSTRUCT this true mannerbund and its paradoxical and psychosomatic character has beguiled the moral thinkers for ages. To really reconstruct it requires the creation of a religion, since aspects of our fellowship and our education are both religious by nature. But to have rejected it decisively to create it anew is, as Paul notes, grounds for being a transgressor. This transgressing is not of some particular legal decree but rather is the concept of transgressing justice itself; a concept revolutionaries began with affixing themselves to with ardor.

AND IF REVOLUTION AFFIXED ITSELF to justice but found that it in order to fulfill its justice, it must become unjust, it could only hope that its crimes would be forgotten by some further generation delivered from the unjust system it believed it overthrew only to re-create. Even this process of renunciation is a Christian theme, and they cannot rightly do it.

THE ORGANIC UNITY of mankind may be impossible on any level except the local; and if so, hierarchy is necessitated for any real fraternity to stretch across all of men. Fraternity is expressed in a paradox itself; that of the attraction of opposites and the attraction of the similar. Since man is complex, he may contain what Aristotle calls a contrary; something which differs on one point but shares an underlying similarity. All fraternity is built on these contraries.

MAN AND WOMAN are such a contrary: both by nature man, but both opposite in sex. Organic unities are possible because of contrary personalities and skills among members. One leads, one submits; one speaks, one listens, one fights, one makes peace. But an underlying unity allows these contraries to resolve smoothly, like the blood vessels moving air from the lungs to the cells and the blood back to the lungs to receive more air. Without the common system they could have no relationship.

EVEN IN GOD, as we understand him, we see contraries; the unoriginate and the two who come from Him; the one who spirates and the one who proceeds; the one who is incarnate and the two who are not; the two who may be blasphemed against and the one whom cannot be. But all remain God; they among themselves are the life of God; the Church is the relationship between the members of the Trinity from before the ages, empty of man until Pentecost. As the hymn says, "the formerly barren Church."

THIS IS THE PERFECTION of Fraternity; being of one mind while being distinct. To remove distinction is to destroy fellowship. What follows from this is that to deny racial and ethnic categories, as well as to deny the real nature of them (groups of humans are not equal, either) is to completely prevent fellowship among them through their leadership.

FENCES MAKE GOOD NEIGHBORS the saying goes, and there are as many types of boundaries as there are relationships. May love govern them all.

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