Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Hyper normalisation

Been reading Dominic Sandbrook, and thinking about Adam Curtis.
And what has dawned on me is simple.  The contrast between
these two historians is epic.  They both make strange connections,
how the mood created something, or vice versa.
Curtis paints a grim trajectory, one where evil has origins in this and that,
and is coming to now overwhelm everything.  
Reminds me of a Jesus quote - that this is nothing new:

"And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet". (Matthew 24:6)
(Unlikely that Curtis is a christian). 

Curtis's picture is one way of looking over the past, a particular perspective which is horrific. 
If you look for those things, you will have plenty.  Suffering and death exists, it is not 'wrong',
it is the condition on the earth, of life and existence. 
(Revelation says man is 'the beast' meaning he has knowledge and can create more suffering than ordinary nature)

The trouble with His view and others like it, is that it revels in these misdeeds
and errors, in 'misery porn'  which carries the bitter tinge of nihilism; there is an element
of cynicism which is something I recognize, because I have wallowed there too.  It excuses our own failures.

On the contrary, Sandbook looks at history culturally, like Kenneth Clarke,
and finds much that is positive to admire. 
It is a trope of the left (Moore, Chomsky, Geldof) to look back only at war and strife and the suffering of others, rather than the achievements of beauty that also exist, that men too have built.  Curtis only accepts and accentuates whats
gone wrong, not affirming any good.  While Roger Scruton explores what he thinks is morally awry today by examining the good things from the past - cathedrals, institutions, ethics, religion, and sees much that we can learn.   It seems as though Curtis only sees the past as entirely execrable, full of bad turns, all fallacious good intentions gone bad.

Devil's advocation:  

What is supposedly admirable is that his films compose very succinctly, and poetically 
a nightmare that drips from the news everyday, and blasts it back as a collage which overloads the emotions; which thus draws one to think just what I have thought above, as I tuck into this warm glass of Burgundian Pinot.

How wide the Safety net ?

Liberalism says that we don't have to be responsible for ourselves, 
the state will take care of the future.
Liberal economics says the same: we don't have to apply morals, 
the market will take care of the future.

Following this thought on liberal irresponsibility:

Another radical view came to me, amongst local beggars in my area -
that because of government spending, "we" have the option not to feel any direct obligations if "we" so wish.  Because the personal response is abrogated.  

When I hear lefties whinging about Tory cuts, other than the obvious front-brain plea for more welfare for the needy, is also the flipside: that "I" don't want to have to be responsible, 
"I" don't want to see paupery on the streets, "I" would like to see it dealt with by an invisible hand.  

Then I think of how it used to be, and still is, natural for a lot of Cultures to look after their own family members when they get frail and needy, where charity is intrinsically a personal, local issue, dealt with first and foremost on the ground level.  The nation state concept, with all its political machinations is clearly the result of replacing church with state; the impersonal in place of the personal; the sophisticated justification for this being that we aren't living in small tribal communities anymore.  
Maybe we should realise that we are not so atomised, that we are still in small tribes (families, colleagues, friends).

The old Catholic culture here in England provided the solution to this which incorporated the local with a larger narrative.  The keyword being culture rather than 'apparatus'.
Now we have it seems, bad compromise: local government which always defers
responsibility to big government, and big government which leaves the responsibility
to charity, church, 'activists' and local government.  
Middle class Metro elites are on the side of big government,
in that they want paupers swept out of sight, to opt, in the name of 'individuality', to disconnect from obligation (to oblige being too noble), and by reverse extension, also place the obligation for their families on the state, because the state is capable of big collective organisation.  
But despite this being true, it shouldn't extend that they have no obligation other than more taxes, which being abstract, are demonstrably avoidable.  The individualist get-out clause; because by the  very fact of this abstraction, few can always escape and leave responsibility on those left behind (the basic form of neo-liberal economic competition).  
I contend that theoretical "socialism" is really the freedom to be anti-social (example of Orwellian double-speak) and that it ends up doing the reverse of what it projects: it offloads responsibility to those who can least afford it, freeing 'elites'.
This is because socialism, or liberalism, is in fact rooted in, and enshrined by, neo-liberal economics (which lest us not forget, is the very system, according to Chomsky, which replaced Catholicism*). The rest is sheer age-old hypocrisy - "I" can own property and have privilege while nominally believing in modified forms of communism which purports to be about sharing all goods and property in common.
Otherwise known as owning the narrative.
The justification for this hypocrisy is that other people who do not call themselves socialist are getting away with it, so why shouldn't "I" ?

Arthur Penty states in an essay in "A challenge to the myth of progress" that "Men who made the accumulation of wealth their primary aim
in life where looked at askance in the Middle Ages and why trade and commerce where held in lower esteem than agriculture and craftmanship, as they were also in China until relatively recently"


Monday, 7 November 2016

Another election special

Democracy began with the splitting of one into two.
  Absolute monarchy was denounced as tyranny and 
  became a house with two sides.
  But this does not negate the fundamental principle of one, or any other
  number for that matter.  
  Parliamentarianism, or the two party system,
  is the very definition of "polarisation".

  The 'center ground' theory, which is the excuse that the 
  two party system makes for its existence, is that without 
  the two opposing sides, there can be no satisfactory, or
  regulated center.  

  This has been proven, not just this time round, to be a lump 
  of baneful, intellectually complacent tosh.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

The Utopian philosophy of pleasure, often mistakenly called 'Epicurean', is entirely compatible with Christian teaching since it holds that the wise choose the higher pleasures of the spirit instead of the lower and temporary pleasures of the flesh.

Friday, 30 September 2016


The ungodly is a desire to be animal, to be without cosmic significance,
to be shorn of 'the soul', to consider that a ghastly hindrance
a gauche accoutrement, the revolting baggage of an archetypal insufferable
bore, resulting in existential despair not shared with the animal.
Its a style choice in a firmament of bewildering choice,
a preference for the unfettered primitive, without the asphyxiating bonds and oaths
of loyalty that primævalism entails.
It is the realm of the deracinated, derailed and fundamentally
disloyal and atomized.  It is on the spectrum of global
scoundrel, one who thinks he should answer to nobody, is without
history, free of place or community.  Their intelligence tells them they are
free of agency, but their bounds are the narrative of negation.

The only affirmation is a meek acquiescence to power that 
formally negates, such as hip hop, grime, Islam, punk, or anti-capitalism.
There is something snide in this ludicrous, incongruous embrace. 
It is merely the establishment notion of ownership and incorporation.
It is the shrewd riposte to a slave rebellion.  This isn't speaking
truth to power, only acquiescence of power. 
The desired result is corporate slave-branding, the humdrum marketplace cynicism
of industrial generality.  It is appears to be the denouement of a slave-owning mentality.

Friday, 23 September 2016


How would an irrational being create anything outside of himself?   Irrationality is always bound up with ego and self identification, unlikely to create a cult of an ultimate ancestor figure such as a God, outside of time.  
To propose that an irrational people created this God would be to assume that oneself is thus objectifiably rational and coincidentally, just like the terrific old testament thunder God, judging vast swathes of humankind through all of history as being utterly wrong for worshipping a false idol.   

Atheists and their forerunners, the Deists, far from freeing anyone from idolatry, really believe they themselves embody God, and that there can be no other God possible but themselves.

From time to time we have also seen such demagogues rise and fall, leading people astray into irresponsibility they feel no subsequent accountability for.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Colonial, through and through, but to colonise new parts of one's own brain, rather than
finite projections of the subjective business of cartography and the attendant lugubrious
and sensual conquest of physical space.   Pleasures built on the pain of striving -
To navigate new deltas or rivulets of neural bypass, to light up new networks is the
true enlightenment sought by men through the ages.  Paradoxically this could be the age of yin, of inward turning, as opposed to the choice between extrovert self-obliteration, or
raving decadence evidenced in sharp declines in comportment, etiquette, modulation,
composure, or self restraint in favour of a faux primitive, nouveau-pagan narcissism.

Of the unified personality in the soul of the world is the confluence of running
to the frontier and therewith, the awareness found at the polar edge of total physical
liberation in rebellion against the limits of Confucian mastery.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Putting all your ego's into one blanket

The mindset that sees only fear and unknowns, with no ideas
other than negatives such as 'the agendas of neo-liberals' 
provides no soothing balm in stormy seas.

Banks are dominating the entire economics
of the world like they never have before, with the result small 
farmers and shopkeepers Europe-wide are on the Common 
Agricultural Policy dole or facing 
penury and the only market outside of stocks in London is 
increasingly that of inflating it's property prices to Monaco proportions.  

The latest news is that The EU wants to merge all 
european armed forces into one, to prevent states
from being independent by getting more entangled to
the central controllers, making it a defacto, 
military dictatorship.*

No no no to this awful, fear driven idea that together is
better, because it really is a bewildered, herd driven Hegemony.  
A lot of people find Prison safer because it is controlled,
regulated, monitored, and policed.  This is the ideology of
'Remainers' I'm afraid.   
Prison is better, because the meals are regular while 
freedom or 'choice' only means the dreaded unknown.

It also means you have to think of an alternative to 
what has been a century of bad turns (since the launch of
world war one basically) with the phony exception 
of the 60's and the 80's-90's which was only, after all, a prosperity
predicated on a renewed debt culture which was a game of musical chairs 
ultimately benefiting few, a percentile who
work in finance, government, big corps and their salivating hounds, the lawyers;
and those who already have property.  But you have to know 
history to see this.  Otherwise, Remain... in prison.
Because you don't know what could of been, in fact, what was.

One only has to look at the coloured photographs Albert
Kahn produced of Europe on the eve of the first World War.
Think that no-one had to have a 'passport document', only
a reference letter if you wanted to enter any country by the front door.

We have an opportunity at this centenary of the Somme
to repair all the mess that 19thC unification caused for the 20thC.  
The EU facilitated agreements, a rapprochement 
between what was left of devastated countries after 
WW2.  By staying in the dinosaur that the EU has become 
It paradoxically dishonours any of the good, original intentions. 

People always make the error of believing that because there were
'explosions' of creativity in the 30's or 60's, that this was proof of 
general cultural progress rather than seeing that these breaths of fresh air
were relatively heroic gasps in an otherwise larger fraught culture of decline,
strife on a dark ocean which was used by its agents to prove and justify 
a 'civilisation' of nihilism, which uses loans to indebt 
countries to ecosystem annihilation for toxic production consumption and 
technological war producing impoverished populations who will be ripe 
for more debt and toxic industrialization.  With the only light at the end 
of the tunnel is to become financial centres which only serve to enrich a
few by peddling yet more debt.

The Marxist-hedonist transhumanist, transgender 
agenda in academia is leading to the type of fascism which it pretends to 
resist.  Inventing agendas, silencing critics and 
opponents, seizing the narrative through mass media 
('propaganda') and finding scapegoats to 
blame whoever refutes it is the same way fascism did it in the 1930's.

It is asserting a utopia based on 'overcoming' 
the way fascists misused Nietzsche's concept of 
Ubermensch.   (The superman was one man thinking for himself, 
opposed to 'the rabble'.  Superman wasn't a mass movement).
Any return of the death penalty would be used to serve these ends
and not those of the proponents of the 'traditional morality'.

*The creation of a European army is a long way off, but it is a strategic necessity to implement important steps to pave the way towards it now -

Roderich Kiesewetter, Bundestag member  Financial Times

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Brexit Planet Dust

What has surfaced and come to fore is the old, 1930's idea 
of the "menace of the masses" (Wells, Blooomsbury).
Disregard of the 'mob' and distrust of democracy.
The liberals and city sub-elites have revealed their secret: that they hate
the 'unwashed', and in the name of progress 
look forward, in ocean-liner fashion, to a future
dripping with thrusting art-deco lines, the way of Mussolini.
These middling men pretend that they
are on everyones side, but they're on their own.

Its a way for politicians to defer responsibilities to a 'central
thing' which on its top level is closed to the gurning populations of Europe.
Same reason they need to bring in refugees, so that 
they 'have to make decisions' under duress,
decisions they don't have to be accountable for, because they've
got the bottomless excuse of 'the poor'.  This also
provides a great excuse for the non-termination of austerity
or any other measure for that matter.  The same excuses war
provides.   They also have it from previous form, that people shall
accept austerity/rationing given the 'right reasons' (WW2 Britain)
and that protestations are merely proof of their subservience (Machiavelli).

The chaos afforded by terrorism is merely more grist for
their mill.  In other words, it is against their interests for
terror to ever cease.  It was not shocking to hear that the regulations
being discussed at the moment the British referendum results
came in is if domestic robots would have the rights of persons in the future.

                (Modern Heretic, John Dunn)

Monday, 4 July 2016

Unto Whited Sepulchres

Again, one hears the accusation that this democratic outcome is ungodly for race relations and is, in itself, an encourager of violence and persecutions.   
Did the EU also invent racial harmony  ?   Like the infamous English ball-match hooligans, those already with a racialist bent are using this, as they do said ball games, to vent their unresolved frustrations on 'the others'.  Here in Hackney we have 're-whitewash gentrification', where black persons feel, rightly so, that they are being bleached out by a banker-funded clique of sacharrine whiteys who just don't jive with the existing ska-dancehall culture.  Some of these yuppies had Stay placards in their windows, but all the leftists honks who laid the mat out for them in the first place had RemaIN vulgarising their (mostly Victorian) fenestration (a mix of bien pesant politik and fears their property purchases would become devalued or bad investments - there was not a single Leave poster anywhere).  The yuppies drive the shop rents up so everything finally becomes clinically clean, cold & corporate friendly, like Canary wharf and most of the west end.  No quirks, no eccentrics, no brick-a-brack, no rastas, no unsteriles.
The terrible thing about not allowing poor persons is that there is no stability, no congeal, no ferment.  Everything is green, raw and cold.  If you don't keep dumb, fresh, clean, tidy & sharp, you will be eventually bought out, robbed by taxes, or evicted.   Unless, that is, you hold on thru 'til the next nosedive to ghetto junk status.
Not as hard as it seems.. Hard come, easy go. 
Culture is a long process, like a fine time-tuned eco-system.  But the clean up is known as 'Civilisation' .   The last stage before evisceration, extinction and collapse.   Also known as 'the bleach'.
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness." - Matthew 23:27

Friday, 10 June 2016

Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet review

by David Crane

On 31 October 1517, as every child once knew, an obscure German monk nailed his 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg’s castle church and so began the Reformation. It would seem that there is no firm evidence that this ever actually happened as myth would have it, but whether Martin Luther nailed his theses to the door or glued them or merely posted them to Germany’s leading churchmen, the Christian world would never be the same again.
Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet is an exploration of a man’s interior life and development and not, as Lyndal Roper insists, either a general history of the Reformation or even of the Lutheran revolution in Wittenberg. She is only too aware of the reductive dangers of shrinking great historical events and theological arguments to the emotional and psychological struggles of an individual. And yet if any man, as her compelling and above all deeply honest biography shows, can shoulder this kind of emphasis — any man, moreover, whose theology seems so direct an emanation of character — it is the charismatic, bruising, paradoxical and appalling Augustinian monk turned renegade, Martin Luther.
Luther — Luder — was born in Eisleben in northern Germany in 1483, and grew up under the shadow of the Counts of Mansfeld’s castles in the small mining town of the same name. In later life he would always insist on his impeccable peasant origins, but his father was a mining inspector and prominent smelting master and it was in a smoky, slagheap-filled town on the edge of the civilised world that the young Martin grew up.
The wider context of the adult Luther’s rebellion — the growing anti-clericalism of the late 14th century, the extravagance and exactions of the Renaissance papacy, absenteeism, the shameful ignorance of so many clergy, the scandal of indulgences, the simmering hostility between Rome and Germany — is familiar enough territory, but for Roper it is impossible to understand Luther without understanding this Mansfeld world from which he came. There is a natural tendency in Reformation studies to concentrate on the independent imperial cities of the south, but the ugly, precarious and divided world that helped shape Luther’s passionate, authoritarian, unforgiving, coarsely physical nature was closer to a 15th-century German Deadwood than it was to the humanist culture and civic traditions of Nuremberg.
Even though Luther remained loyal to his childhood home, there can have been little about it that gave him a very elevated sense of man’s goodness, and nothing that can have inoculated him against the less lovely aspects of St Augustine’s theology when he defied his father to become an Augustinian monk. It might seem odd in retrospect that a man who spent so much of his time railing against monasticism should have joined so austere an order, and yet for whatever reason — and Roper is right to give no pat answer — there was a streak of guilt and self-loathing in Luther that found some perverse balm in the ascetic disciplines and baleful theology of the Observant Augustinians.

In Augustine’s teaching of the utter depravity of man and a strict reading of Paul we have all the ingredients needed for Protestantism; but it is hard not to feel that the Reformation took the direction it did because of Luther’s personality. It was perfectly possible in the early 16th century to square a moderate Augustinian theology with Catholic orthodoxy, but moderation was never part of Luther’s character, and thesis by thesis, crisis by crisis, prayer by prayer, revelation by revelation — it was in the privy tower, on the cloaca, he famously claimed, that the idea of justification by faith alone ‘struck him like a thunderbolt’ — the reformer and the theologian in him came into alignment to produce the Catholic church’s most implacable enemy.
It was this combination of doctrine and character that gave Luther’s assault on the papacy its momentum and destructive power. There was nothing in his attacks on relics or indulgences that was not common enough currency across Europe at the time; but if man could be saved by faith alone and all good works were intrinsically sinful, then the whole penitential edifice of the medieval church — the sale of indulgences, the intercession to Mary and the saints, the cult of relics, the authority of the Pope, the distinct existence of a priestly caste to mediate between man and God — were all so much rubble.
Given Luther’s temperament, the story was never likely to end there, and perhaps the saddest thing about this book is just how much space it necessarily devotes to his battles with other reformers. There was at least a grim logic to his break with Rome; but could anyone but Luther have found sufficient ground for disagreement with allies, friends and disciples as various as Erasmus, Karlstadt, Bucer and Zwingli to have endangered the very existence of the Reformation in the way he did?
While there were genuine theological differences with his fellow reformers, particularly over the doctrine of the real presence, the harsher truth seems to be that like Alexander Pope’s Atticus he could ‘bear, like the Turk, no brother near the throne’. He talked of conscience when what he meant was his conscience. He preached the transparent truth of scripture and again what he meant was Luther’s interpretation of scripture. Intellectual independence, however sincere, however marginal, was disloyalty; disagreement was betrayal.
And his polemical skills, his un-rivalled gifts for fighting dirty, his genius — aided and abetted by the ghastly Lucas Cranach — for exploiting the possibilities of the printing press meant that these battles would be fought with an acrimony and violence that would poison denominational debate for another 400 years. Nor was that Luther’s only grim legacy. ‘The Jews,’ he could write, ‘kiss, eat, drink and worship’ the Devil’s excrement. ‘He stuffs and squirts them so full that it overflows and swims out of every place, pure Devil’s filth, yes it tastes so good to their hearts, and they guzzle it like sows.’
This was, as Roper insists, no mere relic of Catholic anti-Semitism, but integral to Protestant identity and a Protestant sense of election — and in that lies the problem of writing about Luther. She leaves no room to doubt his towering stature in Reformation history, but only hagiography could leave it at that. In her introduction she says that she is not out to produce a consistent Luther; and she is as good as her word. His life and character were a mass of contradictions, and she ducks none of them. Her Luther is at once the theologian who gave Germany its vernacular Bible and the man whose philosophy of political deference would have dark implications for those living under Nazi rule. Her Luther is the child of Mansfeld who proclaimed the priesthood of all believers, and yet seemed incapable of embracing the social and civic implications of Protestantism.
He was also the charismatic preacher who proclaimed the liberating power of the gospel and turned on the peasants who took him at his word; the hollow-eyed, celibate ascetic in search of martyrdom who died, fat and married, in his bed; a kind of inverted antinomian, whose conviction of man’s utter sinfulness gave him so curiously relaxed an attitude to human sexuality; the godfather of modern secularism who struggled with the Devil, the university teacher for whom reason was a ‘whore’, the Saxon provincial who changed the world…
Not, as Lyndal Roper mildly notes, an easy hero.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Europe, a Prophecy

In choosing the 'leave' box, I am acting out of principle.  Because I have very little
understanding or will to read the endless files to gain the knowledge which would 
fructify into understanding.
The futures unknown baby.  Besides being a theme in this ridiculous ballot
(strange for a government to promise this democratic thing, then to have serious
remorse about the possible outcome).  As usual their confidence was 
in democracy being a bread and circus affair.

Voting out, and away, because its been a constant theme of mine:
rejecting lofty claims of enlightenment culture.  Because the middle ages 
weren't as barbaric as made out, torture gained new ground with the birth of the 'early modern' age, 
the Tudors, who also invented espionage.  From that proceeding to revolutions and ending in technological war, the icing on the cake being Hiroshima.

The argument for plurality being 'choose corporate' - 
Its logic follows that one must choose the big and 
standardized, the proven.  Everything must look the same anywhere.  
Sterilise the petri dish.  Its safer, especially when you're old
and can't abide anything.  This is a carrion call
of the death instinct,  thanatos.   
William Blake saw the enlightenment for what it was:
a dulling of perception in favour of the metric reduction of measuring
things and proclaiming promethean God like wisdom.  
He foresaw what was happening in America and
France quite early on as not turning out good.  
The french revolution leading immediately to Napoleon and the
attempt to subjugate all Europe (and Russia) to another Roman styled Empire.
America, the giant federation which would lead to the catastrophe of 
the American civil war, the largest conflict of the 19th Century, in the land
of the free.  

This EU is merely the latest incarnation of the pagan Reich concept.
The now old neo-classical idea that Economics, law and democracy,
after Athens and the Roman Republic, rather than the medieval, 'backward' superstitions
of pre-reformation Gothic christianity, will triumph over all irreconcilable differences and
give us a golden age of arcadian bliss.

If only we could live like people in a Poussin painting.  
We'd first have to rid ourselves of cars, planes, and death as well. 

Blake lllustration:
(Blake loved this image, the frontispiece to 'Europe, a Prophecy', and made several copies.
The old man is Urizen, in Blake’s mythology the embodiment of reason and law and a repressive, 
satanic force trying to bring uniformity to mankind. 
(In 'America a Prophecy', Urizen is the evil god who rules during the Enlightenment.) 
Here he is seen kneeling in a flaming discus surrounded by dark cloud, hand held 
over a compass, apparently measuring the black void.)

Monday, 4 April 2016

Messianic Jubilaeum

Religion is used for ruin and hate and war.  
But it isn't a two-step, black & white argument.
It is not a simple division of religion on one side, and secular humanism/atheism
on the other.
In the middle is non-puritanical religion.  If you look at messianic, apocalyptic sects
they are usually puritan whether they be protestant or Islamic.

The atheist position is simply one of non-religion, a belief 
in human goodness (but also a morally ambiguous position) 
but without willing to paying any dues for it, or
respecting the historic culture whence those values truly originated. 
Thereby taking a position merely of observer, of not taking sides,
unwilling to stand for or against anything, and hence
open to the rule by a Cromwellian Commonwealth or a
Wahhabist Caliphate simply because they refuse to defend
anything, because believing nothing means standing for 
the position of nothing.  This has been the position of Jews
since the Babylonian yoke.
Luther, Cromwell, and Osama Bin Laden's Islamic puritans have 
 in common the justification of the immanent fulfillment of messianic 
apocalyptic prophecy.  They believe they are
undoing the sin of man by annihilating what they deem 
abominations, which involve division rather than 
any unity, for they unite only in opposing something.  
They can only stand against, they can never stand for anything.
They give no choice, unite with them or be at war with them.
So compulsion(tyranny), or war can only ensue.
Nothing is adapted, accepted, incorporated, or added,
the only thing that can happen is that culture, variety, people,
and customs are taken away.  The Catholic culture, for all its 
faults, was often not guilty of this.  Rather than simply carrying out a 
genocide policy as the protestants did in North America and Australia,
enduring examples of synthesis can be seen everywhere Catholicism 
went (Mexico, England, South America) 

It built on existing traditions and grew its own tradition as a result.
Islam did this up to a point.  This is because initially it absorbed and synthesized 
the Judaic Patriarchs and Christian desert-father knowledge, wisdom and traditions and 
Greek science, geometry and philosophy.  
But once it had gained a large cultural ascendancy in its vast expansions 
after the prophets death, it soon began to stultify and turn to theories of doctrinal purity
which eroded its initial revitalizing potency.  The minority Shiite represent
the remnant of the earlier, more tolerant, tradition, while 
the majority, puritan, Sunnis have today seized the narrative.  
Of course Catholicism and Shia have also been guilty of 
episodes of doctrinal and dogmatic purity resulting in intolerance,
divisions, bloodshed, hatred and show 'trials'.  But these instances
are also a result of reaction to the division in their faith, they have the same effect
from the same cause, but are not ultimately bound by any orthodoxy to
propagate these divisions and contradictions.  False doctrines fail and
they are noted for their intolerance - of organic cultures, of women,
of hysterical bans on imagery, saints, statuary and ultimately Nature, or
mother earth.  Shrines and relics, as much as they are derided as
wishful thinking, superstitions or idolatry, fill the need for ritual expression and
calendrical marking of the liturgical year, that is, they follow nature and
the seasons.

The puritans were the the self-proclaimed antithesis of the current orthodoxy.  
Christian puritans frame themselves as Christ against
a corrupt priesthood.  However, the Judaism that Christ 
upended against were far more like Puritans themselves than
the Vatican Papacy.  The route post-captivity Judaism
had taken was a law-obsessed priesthood, centered on 
temple culture rather than pastoral, nature-based.
Neo-pagans are really neo-puritans,
who have a romanticised notion of the purity of nature more 
than any actual respect for it. 
Christ fits into this as the incarnate human-God, following 
other saviours such as Mithras, Demeter (and countless others) 
because he accepts and reveres the ground of nature- this is my blood
and body - why he is the Way through it.  He never assumes 
like an Olympian God that he is free from it, commanding 
from above, and separate from earth, nature or us.  He promotes the idea
that we are sons of both this world (earth) and the Almighty (the 'father').
Much of this was adjusted by theologians, which led to the reformation led by Augustinian monk turned rogue theologian, Martin Luther, and continued by other beneficiaries of monastic educations, notably Zwingli & Calvin, and continued by 'philosophers' such as John Locke.

But the reformation was only possible because
of the printing press, not because people were freed from tradition
by some grass-roots, collective enlightenment.   This 'enlightenment' came from
the technology of Gutenberg, which was hardly collective and certainly not
a noble or spiritual human development.  The technology of Gutenberg is 
now being superseded in our time by the internet (non-print), showing that,
far from miraculous, Gutenberg's black-letter movable type was a chimera, different, but not unlike the half-animal faun-like idols of the pagans that Moses railed against.   
This idolatry of script/font/typeface/calligraphy can be seen  by the continued sacredotal insistence today of Arabic Abjad script (العَرَبِيَّة), and the  Hebrew alpeh-bet(אָלֶף־בֵּית עִבְרִי).  The representative of this biblioatry in the west, the inheritor of the German black-letter ("gothic") typeface
and the secular, modernist puritan hegemony,  of the Swiss "Helvetica" typeface.