My article “Can Mormonism save Western civilization from Submission?” has been published on The Transfigurist, the blog of the Mormon Transhumanist Association.
Some excerpts are pasted below, and I invite you to read the full essay on The Transfigurist.
I am a big fan of Michel Houllebeq, and I enjoyed his last novel “Soumission” (Submission). The novel is set in a near-future (2022) France where an Islamic party led by charismatic politician Mohammed Ben Abbes is about to make a big win in the elections. Ben Abbes will end up second after Marine Le Pen’s National Front, and the socialists and other mainstream parties will rally with him to avoid an otherwise inevitable victory of the National Front. Ben Abbes will become President, and France will become an Islamic nation.
Compared with the Islamic strength and purity, the leftovers of the once great Western culture shown in Submission seem decadent and ineffectual, lacking conviction and strenuous mood, obsessed with unimportant things and unwilling to fight for survival. The word that comes to mind is “weak.” The main achievements of the Western civilization – the separation of religion and state, the freedom of inquiry and speech, and the emancipation of women – are presented as symptoms of the effete, sedate weakness of an aging civilization that is no longer able to resist the youthful force of Islam.
Islam is strong, the West is weak, and 2022 isn’t that far. Should we accept Submission as the inevitable fate of our Western civilization? If not, what trends in the contemporary Western civilization can make it young and strong again?
Perhaps Mormonism can save the Western Civilization from Submission. Mormons are powered by the calm happiness that comes from knowing one’s place in a good world, and a quiet determination to make the world even better, step by step, with good works including science and technology. They are blessed with a firm conviction that they will see their loved departed ones again after a life of good works building Zion – on Earth and beyond.
I wonder whether Mormonism could become much more open and tolerant without losing its strength. I am not sure it could: other Western cultures did become much more open and tolerant, but at the cost of becoming weak.
Another possibility is the emergence of new religions focused on strong cosmic visions without petty, provincial aspects.
Perhaps new strong, powerful religions with awesome cosmologies not encumbered by geographies and zoning norms will become popular and help our Western civilization recover its former strength.
I am not very optimist: Based on the lukewarm reactions to Cosmist ideas so far, I suspect that geography and zoning norms might be essential to establish and keep strong convictions and a powerful sense of duty.
But another possibility is that I, and many others who think along similar ways, have been unable to find the best ways to communicate our message, in which case we must work hard to become better communicators, and develop a new generation of better communicators.
Image: Wikimedia Commons.
Read the full essay on The Transfigurist.