The resistence of Christianity

I am just finishing Ibsen’s “The Emperor and the Galilean” and I was thinking of how Julian, in some respects, is an archetype of other future foes of Christianity. Yet, how can it be that Christianity has resisted for so long it’s prophecised decline and destruction? Nietzsche felt that God was dead in the hearts and minds of his contemporaries. Others have probably felt that it was to be supplanted by science and the idea of progress, or a worldly utopia…but none of these events have emerged. Christianity has not been destroyed, but like matter, it has always been transformed. “Christianity” is just an interpretation with no objective value, except for those trying to advance a certain fundamentalist movement or other. What “Christianity” is today may not reflect what it once was or even what it could have been, and in that sense, if it was according to the whims of the fundamentalist, “Christianity” could’ve been said to have died, not once, but many times over. But “Christianity” is a mirror in which we look at ourselves. The definition of what it is reflects more on who we are as people and what we need it to be.
So the malleability of it’s meaning is one reason for “it’s” staying power, but there are other factors as well. It is a religion of gloom and doom. There are many prophecies out and about the future of the globe, most of which are gloom. From 2012, to Global Warming to Entropy, each of these foretell gloom and disorder, both of which are distastefull to a normal human. But Christianity makes cathastrophe as it’s foundation. One could argue that religion as a phenomenon depends on the treath of suffering and destruction for it’s existence.
But against Christianity, science was held as an alternative. Sure, it is science that also prophecises gloom and doom, but unlike religion, it does not posit a Father in the sky to whom we may implore for our well-being. It is said that this is paganism, but if anything paganism, like Christianity, was treathened by scientific methods, as we see parodied in Aristophanes. But science represents Reason and Reason as the search for beauty, for order. Christianity appeals and survives because so much in life is ugly, so much in disorder, so much that is unreasonable from the eye of the beholder. Science explains a bit of our world: The HOW something happens or have happened, but not the WHY it has happened. Christianity can afford to lose a fight about how the world came to be because it still can posit it’s God as the architect of the rules and order that lies behind the explanation of how something came to be. As for why, science is silent. Religion can be silent about certain disasters, like the suffering of the innocent, but it at least offers it in some remote future, accessible only after death. Thereby, it does not bother with an explanation to place at the judgment of our eyes, either in this present or future, but makes a promise for a future we will not see in any time it would matter. It reconciles a person with suffering by sleight of hand.
That simple manuver makes it impervious to most criticism that can be made about science. Science requires a patience and discipline that is not entirely normal or ordinary. It requires that once denies instant gratification provided by a discovered fact…it has to be retested, reviewed, criticised, and it’s never a fact as much as a not-yet-disproved-assumption. It does offer certain facts, such as Universal Laws as Newton saw them, but these do not have anything to do with man. The movements of heavenly bodies has been traced across the heavens since the dawn of time, and by many religions, but the play of their orbits do not really explain the WHY we have suffering and death, but only HOW we can suffer and die. It denies man that beauty, that meaning of his own condition.
Many have called on man to rise up to the challenge of giving their own life meaning instead of waiting for something from without to place that meaning on our life. However the majority of mankind will not be at the liberty to become what they are, to fulfill their destinity, but will be born in a life that squanders their potential. Nature’s business is to secure that some rise up to this ideal from a batch of millions. Christianity on the other hand makes of the “some” into wolves, and the millions into “lambs”.

Julian’s foe was not really Christianity but Nature itself because Nature fails to ever live up to the visions and ideals of such men. Christianity wins every time because Nature succeds in proving the notions of Christianity to be correct. It continues to work the selfishness, wolfness of humans against humans, the implacability of death, suffering and disease, and succeds in remaining beyond the explanatory powers of science while being fully explained (yet never explained explicitly, but only in a promise) by Christianity. All that suffering and death: We deserve it. And again it pulls out a magic trick and promises a time when it will not hurt, a place out of the reach of Nature and Necessity. Not only will all be made clear for you, but your soul shall know only raptuous joy.
Before Christianity this was not the case. Judaism sought an acceptance of God’s unscrutable Will in this life. But such narrative was challenged by Nature. When Nature was kind, God’s Will was seen manifested. But when thwarted by Nature, pious men were left to scramble as to how could Justice, Beauty, Order, be stopped. God, like Science, would be called to the stand and answer in His defense for Nature. The answer is the creation of a Place, Heaven, where our notions of Justice, Beauty and Order, are not opposed by Nature.
It was never close after that. When intellectuals sought to capitalize on the death of God, they were succesful only for a time. Like Julian, their apparition re-ignited the enfeeble religion, resurrection the God that had just died. Their problem, again, was Nature. The abyss between conception and execution is formidable. A promise on behalf of God is sustainable because the Other is absent and outside of our direct engagement. We need death, which Nature can provide in abundance, to meet the Lord. But a promise by theorist required an explanation about why the Utopia had not yet arrived. In this they were doomed, because Nature does not provide Utopias. It is not it’s principle. It works through scarcity and competition, guaranteeing the dispossessed, the hungry, the dead. Worse, the theorist could only provide for this life, so that if he failed at even that, he left the believer psychologically worse, because he made the sufferer’s plight as without restitution and therefore also without meaning. Christianity did not offer utopia here on earth but in the life beyond, thus nothing Nature could do over here could affect the narrative that had been given. Hold steady to your faith and wait it out.

Omar,

It sounds good, but as a heathen quite content with not knowing, any fairytale will do exactly what you posit to Christianity. The same fairytale works for Islam as well. Essentially, you propose the perseverence of religion to a make-believe life not of this world. That is the quintessential message of the Abrahamic religions. “We are in this world, but not of this world.” It’s a nice warm fuzzy, but there isn’t a shred of any kind of evidence to support such a claim. It finally comes down to “Wouldn’t it be great if…”

I don’t doubt that you’re content, but that your contentment reflects a rare occasion and that most are not able to find contentment in such reality, even if it might be reality.
I am not proposing. I am just describing the causes that sustain fairy tales in general over other alternatives that have emerged over the centuries.

Oh please, let’s not start the discussion of what is reality! [-o< :smiley: I’m an old man. I might not live long enough. :laughing: But point taken. Ideas and concepts not testable except through anecdotal “testimony” persevere because they are not reachable through other methods of inquiry. Tangible repeatable testing -vs- faith… That is always the crunch.

I’ve never figured out what is so frightening about not knowing as a ground condition of being human, but I agree that few are capable of finding either comfort or satisfaction in such a state. An untouchable “knowing” is a powerful motive for most people.

and it is this belief that helps stay the atheist’s tongue when dealing with the absurde claims of the religious… “the poor soul can’t do without.”

Fact of the matter is… They can easily do without… just like you and me!

We humans have no more need for religion than we do heroin… Which is to say not at all… until you start using it regularly… at which point you’re hooked and feel as though you can’t do without!

Omar…if you wrote a book on subject matters like this; I would buy it, read it, and keep it on my shelf next to my other favorite thought provoking books.

shrug
I just love reading how your brain thinks, and you more or less nailed another point down that I view more or less the same.
Good stuff.

Are you certain, Omar, that suffering, death and lack are really nature, and not instead a lack of nurture?

"…the animal organism is a highly complex system consisting of an almost infinite series of parts connected both with one another and, as a total complex, with the surrounding world, with which it is in a state of equilibrium. ", writes I.Pavlov.

Re-legion (as you know it’s etymologically “the restoration of union”, a word for our purposes completely synonymous with the Sanskrit term “yoga”) does not, at least originally, have man’s well-being or Utopia as its proper task; we are instead confronted with an attempt to enhance and bolster the original union - the same “state of equilibrium” that Pavlov’s strictly objective observation underlined for us above. Where the attempt is genuine, there this reunion is invariably sought for its own sake, without any ulterior motive, and only later is it perhaps observed by someone from the sidelines that it leads to blessedness and improvements in lifestyle, culture, etc. - all of which the people that are genuinely concerned with re-legion rarely pay much heed.

-WL

Hello WL:

— Are you certain, Omar, that suffering, death and lack are really nature, and not instead a lack of nurture?
O- Depends on what you understand as “nature”. Suffering and death are a product of nature. The prey suffers and dies for the maintenance of the hunter. Lack is a principle of competition. The competitors are many yet the prize is one. For the losers of this game, the perception is one of a lack.

— "…the animal organism is a highly complex system consisting of an almost infinite series of parts connected both with one another and, as a total complex, with the surrounding world, with which it is in a state of equilibrium. ", writes I.Pavlov.
O- Pavlov aside, do you really think that the human organism is in a state of equilibrium? I don’t agree.

— Re-legion (as you know it’s etymologically “the restoration of union”, a word for our purposes completely synonymous with the Sanskrit term “yoga”) does not, at least originally, have man’s well-being or Utopia as its proper task; we are instead confronted with an attempt to enhance and bolster the original union - the same “state of equilibrium” that Pavlov’s strictly objective observation underlined for us above.
O- Pavlov’s pure objectivity is questionable. You equalize “restoration of union” with “enhancement of union”. You cannot enhance what you have yet to restore. If “religion” is about a return to a state of equilibrium, then how can equilibrium be man’s natural state? What if man is instead born disjointed from the rest of nature? What if our very, and nature-given, ability to conceive, to fantasize and imagine creates a state of disequilibrium? It is then that we could see the phenomenon of religion, among others, trying to restore a balance, and determine the undetermined, and cease the need for interpretation of one’s condition.
The origin of religion, in my humble opinion, cannot be understood outside of what it asks. This “equilibrium” is bound to interpretation, but I believe that it is equal to the term “fitness”, that is the goal. Religion, Yoga, Noble Truths, God, gods etc., are just means to reach that goal. The lack of fitness is introduced in the mind of man by his natural physical vulnerability. His imagination then fantasizes in which way he can cover that lack, or how he can be “liberated” from such lack.

— all of which the people that are genuinely concerned with re-legion rarely pay much heed.
O- Perhaps because they have concluded that they are not of this world, that they do not belong here, that life is an error, that their true home is among gods or perhaps that they do not even count and that this individuality is an obstacle on their way to becoming one with everything. I hardly consider such state one of equilibrium but of disequilibrium, with the state of equilibrium being equal to death without rebirth or individuation. The disenchantment with nature creates a new narrative about what is beyond the senses…hardly objective, as Pavlov is also hardly objective. The narration, practice, reestablishes in the mind a new reconciliation, a restoration of peace with nature, a new enchantment because we have restored meaning to existence, a meaning that however was lacking before and which is lacking in nature alone. Man creates the unbalance and the means to recreate balance. When I conclude that life is misery, or suffering, not because of my biography itself but because of the essensse of life, then how much can I be interested in improvements of lifestyle and culture? All is transient, all shall pass and there is no progress, there is no final “fitness”, no final equilibrium. My options then are either to suffer or imagine a new narrative that expands on my current situation: Yes, I am trapped in my body, in the transient, but I was once a part of the All and I can return, through X process or practice. This life then becomes a preparation of renunciation of contention in favor of liberation in what is for all purposes death.

Hello tentative:

— I’ve never figured out what is so frightening about not knowing as a ground condition of being human, but I agree that few are capable of finding either comfort or satisfaction in such a state. An untouchable “knowing” is a powerful motive for most people.
O- Well, I think that we are naturally disposed to seek patterns. That is all that “knowing” is about. Human thought requires certain beliefs to stand beyond question. So it is not so much about fear but that we are dependent on beliefs that are taken for granted without question. Think of the “Self”. You could argue, like Hume did, about how it is an improbable fantasy, but, not because of fear, but because of how we think, language, we still accept it’s existence unquestionable, even if with an asterik beside it.

Hello MMP:

— We humans have no more need for religion than we do heroin… Which is to say not at all… until you start using it regularly… at which point you’re hooked and feel as though you can’t do without!
O- Maybe it is not so much “heroin” that we need but certainly we have a taste for beer, marijuana and other drugs that serve, like opiates, in soothing human pain and suffering. What Marx was talking about is that it is not the use of heroin that hooks us but the nature of the world, the way things really are that press us in the way of drugs. He believed, though I don’t agree, that if we changed the human condition, just like a patient brought back to health, you would not need the opiate anymore because you would not have a pain to soften, to hide, under the effects of drugs.
But the drug of religion works differently. I don’t think that we need beer or other drugs, but we certainly like them. The human mind is rigged to seek what it needs by the pursuit of what it likes. What we “need” is up to interpretation as well.

Omar,

I’ll offer a slightly different perspective with a different conclusion. The essence of life isn’t misery and suffering, it is the clinging to life that is the problem. Caught up in the duality of enculturation, we learn to BE AS instead of accepting just BEING You aren’t trapped in your body even as it is a transient state. This life isn’t a renunciation of contention, that is only a skewed projection of “self”. You rightly observe that we come from the flow, mature, and return to the flow. There is nothing else. Nature isn’t misery or suffering, it is our attempt to defeat nature with the all important self that is misery and suffering. Once you release the illusion of self, then just being becomes possible, and there is liberation and freedom in which life becomes a celebration of now, not yesterday or tomorrow.

All beliefs can and should be questioned. Beliefs are part of duality, and they should be seen as conditional pragmatic methodologies that allow us to get through the day. But by themselves, they aren’t important. Beliefs take us the wrong direction. They create why that instead of just THAT.

Hello tentative:

— I’ll offer a slightly different perspective with a different conclusion. The essence of life isn’t misery and suffering, it is the clinging to life that is the problem.
O- …While clinging to “Heaven” is less problematic, which is my point. Clinging by itself is not a problem, but it is a problem in light of the character of life as it is. It is because life is misery and suffering that clinging to life becomes a problem.

— You rightly observe that we come from the flow, mature, and return to the flow. There is nothing else.
O- This is what I called a "narrative, or as Lyotard would say a “meta-narrative”, which aims to give a reason to the misery of individuality.

— Nature isn’t misery or suffering, it is our attempt to defeat nature with the all important self that is misery and suffering.
O- Nature isn’t in-itself misery and suffering, of course not; it requires a “self” to inherit these subjective conclusions that are then projected upon it. But that said, my position is that “self” is what we are born with. We are not vegetables or granite, but highly developed mammals. The default stance, or the one we are most likely born with, is the selfish stance, the stance that protects itself, , projects itself into the past present and future, fends for itself and desires for itself, X,Y or Z which are then capable of being left unfulfilled and thus bringing misery and suffering to said self. Once that Self concludes that Life is inevitably “this”, misery and suffering, regardless of his/her striving, once he/she parts ways with life and it’s obstacles, onc he or she concludes that his/her will shall always be disenchanted, he or she is left to figure out the root of this or to kill themselves. The meta-narrative, or religion that proceeds establishes that Life is what it is, misery/suffering but that the Self, which means his or her own conscious life, is the problem, and further, and beyond reason, that they are part of a larger “Flow”, where there is no consciousness of themselves. Here they rest because “they” are no more. Only the All exists. Here there is no want, because there is no self. Another place where we find this phenomenon then is in the cementary.
Is it true? Doesn’t matter. The narration is a psychological suicide and the rationalization not that different. Conscious life becomes equated to misery and suffering. To stop perceiving misery and suffering we then annihilate conscious life and become one with the All.

— Once you release the illusion of self, then just being becomes possible, and there is liberation and freedom in which life becomes a celebration of now, not yesterday or tomorrow.
O- The quality of the now, for the conscious judge, determines whether it is celebration or lamentation which follows.

— All beliefs can and should be questioned. Beliefs are part of duality, and they should be seen as conditional pragmatic methodologies that allow us to get through the day. But by themselves, they aren’t important. Beliefs take us the wrong direction. They create why that instead of just THAT.
O- In Ortega y Gasset’s view there is a difference between what we “think” and what we “believe”. Something that we can THINK can be doubted, by the way of the BELIEF in which we find ourselves. If you can or should question your so-called beliefs, it is because these are no longer actual beliefs, but have become thoughts which you have , not beliefs in which you find yourself. The entire process of questioning these so-called “belief” presupposes a set of actual beliefs, as Ortega imagines them, that serve as a standard of critique.
As to what they create, I would agree that the “why” is an emergent perception associated with the Self, a Self, that for one thing, feels it’s own indeterminancy. When we stop asking and answering “WHY” and instead state “THAT”, then we have become vegetable, rocks perhaps and ceased to be a conscious human. “We” die. Concepts like “freedom” or “feeling”, “now”, as opposed to other tenses, the concept of “time” itself, “celebration” become meaningless…unintelligible. Like life, the now requires a Self to celebrate and enjoy, but in lack of this, then the “now”, just like Life ceases to be in itself any concept that depends on a judge we have annihilated.
“Just Being” is perhaps possible, but beyond my or you knowledge, because that would introduce the very thing we have annihilated. So what is it? What is THAT? “Who” can only know, but we cannot endure the “Who”.

Dear Omar,

The equilibrium, at least the one to which I.Pavlov here referred, is truly an unquestionable biological fact. As soon as it is even slightly disturbed, and the appratus is not able to correct for the disturbance, the organism is utterly destroyed by chaotic forces both inner and outer. Pavlov was acquainted with this experimentally - his work in behaviour modification, the induction of neuroses by means of e.g. exposing the test subjects to extreme pain & suffering, was exemplary, purely objective and quite unique in that regard (in the tradition of the “West”). That is the meaning of my “disagreeable” claim to objectivity. I do not at all want to propose that we place all faith in Pavlov alone on this matter or in others. But for the sake of today’s conversation, we can instead use this notion, if it’s now understood by us, as a “hard” basis, just as I have done, and then later superimpose upon it the extra idea that re-legion involves something intimately related to this exact “equilibrium”.

Your reply to me consisted of a para-logical dismantling, on the basis of things like grammar or dictionary word-definitions, of the message I wrote. Here you have admirably succeeded in rendering what I said meaningless, and therefore rejecting my words. But what is your true relationship with the content of what I wrote? The “extra idea”, which was the only useful original insight in my message remains quite unaddressed. Compare how an unexpected association of disparate things constitutes a human thought, whilst the all-surrounding word-diarrhea is on the other hand the number-one cause of death worldwide for the developing faculty of Reason.

Are you certain, Omar, that suffering, death and lack are really nature (“a given”), and not instead a lack of nurture? I wanted to present to you an “unusual” claim, namely that the practical nurturing of this “equilibrium” causes miraculous-seeming transfigurations of Nature, both human and otherwise. It is such that it negates the entire notion of Nature as separate from Man; and henceforth there is no more lack, no need for competition, no suffering and no death. This is the recurrent Golden Age, characterized by its radical OTHER problems and concerns that are then allowed to come to the fore, become commonplace and be thoroughly explored by the risen superhumanity - before it is again plunged into darkness.

-WL

Hello WL:

— The equilibrium, at least the one to which I.Pavlov here referred, is truly an unquestionable biological fact. As soon as it is even slightly disturbed, and the appratus is not able to correct for the disturbance, the organism is utterly destroyed by chaotic forces both inner and outer.
O- Other apparatus, such as my computer, do not suffer from depression. There is a subjective, psychological factor which achieves equilibrium through interpretation and nothing else. But because any given event is open to interpretation and no interpretation is ever final, the mental appartus, unlike the chemical reaction that brings it about, is never in exact equilibrium. Modern medicine can enhance or reduce the possibility certain thoughts, but it cannot create self-esteem or temperaments. That is the equilibrium, which I think, religion tries to return to.

— Pavlov was acquianted with this experimentally - his work in behaviour modification, the induction of neuroses by means of e.g. exposing the test subjects to extreme pain & suffering, was exemplary, purely objective and quite unique in that regard (in the tradition of the “West”).
O- In Ibsen’s play, Julian the Apostate generates a case study of behaviourism. He exposes his christian subjects to “extreme pain and suffering”, believing, as Pavlov after him, exposure to these levers could modify their, up-to-then, unwanted behaviour. However his experiments only solidifies the behaviour and exacerbates their condition. The root cause for the failure of behaviourism is found in the Galilean’s rebuke to Satan that ‘Man does not live on bread alone’.

— I do not at all want to propose that we place all faith in Pavlov alone on this matter or in others. But for the sake of today’s conversation, we can instead use this notion, if it’s now understood by us, as a “hard” basis, just as I have done, and then later superimpose upon it the extra idea that re-legion involves something intimately related to this exact “equilibrium”.
O- Fair enough, but just consider what I have said not as rejecting Pavlov, but that I have considered Pavlov and that what I have here written carries within this rejection. To try to now add Pavlov would make my post different from my argument.
I can only admit that in our subject there are physical determinants of behaviour, the avoidance of pain, the pursuit of pleasure, but add that what that “pain” is can include things that do not harm, but please the body, and “pleasures” that do not please, but harm the body.

— Your reply to me consisted of a para-logical dismantling, on the basis of things like grammar or dictionary word-definitions, of the message I wrote. Here you have admirably succeeded in rendering what I said meaningless, and therefore rejecting my words.
O- Prior to whatever you wrote there was a meaning which I intended. Your response simply included which were outside of my meaning and which I expanded upon to elevate the nature of our discourse to one where my meaning was better understood. My intend was always to clarify my meaning and never to reject your words.

— But what is your true relationship with the content of what I wrote? The “extra idea”, which was the only useful original insight in my message remains quite unaddressed.
O- I am no prophet WL. I am standing on the sidelines. But, from what I observed, limited as it may be, given the lack of the “religious” experience, many of these attempts are about “fitness”, which I explained earlier. Perhaps you have the insight to tell us which attempts are “genuine” and which are not and why, but I certainly do not. But from the height of my perch, detached and devoid of it’s actual experience, I still insist on categorizing and describing how each attempt reaches for similar goals, so that the contents differ but the form remains constant. And why should that surprise those who read what I have written when our subject is subject to similar inputs and produces similar outputs? Seeking is itself selfish. All of this is likely except when our subject is a madman. Then perhaps it is the case that he seeks for “It’s” own sake and not his own and he, as a madman, lacks an ulterior motive and is unconcerned to improve his life. Such madness is then appraised as an improvement upon life, a blessedness, which however is denied to most of us, including myself. “Madness” need not be a mental disorder.

— Compare how an unexpected association of disparate things constitutes a human thought, whilst the all-surrounding word-diarrhea is on the other hand the number-one cause of death worldwide for the developing faculty of Reason.
O- I agree.

— I wanted to present to you an unusual claim, namely that the practical nurturing of this “equilibrium” causes miraculous-seeming transfigurations of Nature, both human and otherwise.
O- Most men and women are not naturally equilibrated. It is reached by religion, by nurture, but not part of our nature, as our final being seems determined by constituitive as well as regulative processess. In case where the “equilibrium” is natural, self induced or natural madness (certain moods and dispositions), then religion could in fact enhance what is already naturally there. It could amplify and exaggerate what is naturally felt. Through the prophet, the Shaman, the many seek return while the prophet or Shaman seeks or experiences enhancement.

— It is such that it negates the entire notion of Nature as separate from Man; and henceforth there is no more lack, no need for competition, no suffering and no death. This is the recurrent Golden Age, characterized by its radical OTHER problems and concerns that are then allowed to come to the fore, become commonplace and be thoroughly explored by the risen superhumanity - before it is again plunged into darkness.
O- Where you fly, I cannot follow. Give me a historical example where this phenomenon you describe is evident. What religion can you name that has not been interested in competition, in suffering, but most of all preoccupied with death? What do you mean by “Golden Age”? What defines a superhumanity? Your garden is full of stautes aged and weathered, but with faces that are no longer recognizable. Perhaps if you could chisel some of their former features…

Omar,

I think we’re on the same page - kinda sorta, but perhaps seeing what is life differently. The release of self isn’t death. It is the clinging to self, me, I, that is a state of being dead to life. Letting self go is becoming alive - perhaps for the first time since birth. In a meta-narrative, self and duality are the abstractions that prevent us from being, and that is death. Those who release self are those capable of life.

We are saying much the same thing, but our conclusions are different. I don’t need a god or the promise of a “hereafter” in order to find life. I already have that. I always did. I just had to scrape off the illusions of self, religion, and the mulch of pre-conceived ideas that kept me chained to being as.

Well, at the (considerable) risk of sounding as though I do know, I find the ‘self/non-self’ thingie to be the best explanation I’ve found for it. :slight_smile:

Agreed. But a little at a time, Sometimes, you have to sneak up on it or it flies away leaving you with a mouth full of feathers… :smiley:

Hello tentative:

— The release of self isn’t death. It is the clinging to self, me, I, that is a state of being dead to life. Letting self go is becoming alive - perhaps for the first time since birth. In a meta-narrative, self and duality are the abstractions that prevent us from being, and that is death. Those who release self are those capable of life.
O- It goes without saying that the “All” is not meant as “death” by those who seek it or admire it, because death implies a sort of finality that is lacking in the concept of the All. The All sort of “contains” both death and life in a cycle of life rather than the linear chain of life, where death is the end of the line. But I relate the two by way of the self. It is the end of the Self that links these two terms.
The criticism that I make is that self is not demonstrated as being dead to life. As if judgment could not be life. Well, perhaps judgment is part of life, as in human life. Selfhood is generated after all BY LIFE, so that being aware of life and making judgments and feeling bliss or ill towards Life is actually Life Itself. By extension, the annihilitation of the Self is, at once, an act of bad faith and also the emasculation of Life, an escape from what is the All. “We” are alive in conjunction with a Self. Devoid of it, only our body can be said to be. But this is to deny life, the life of mind, which is a natural quality of human life.