Over at the PJ Tatler last week I unveiled my newest e-book size, giant list post: “30 Books For Defeating Valerie Jarrett’s Cult of Political Criminals.”
I organized the list into eight different sections by either theme or author, the second to last being a subject I’ve been preoccupied with perhaps more than all the others the past few years: “5 on cults, idol worship, and the origins of religion.” Here are numbers 21 through 25. I intend to eventually do a much longer, more in depth list devoted specifically to this subject. What other books do you think I should include? I’m now taking suggestions… Also related from earlier this month for those looking for more: “Is God a Noun or a Verb? 6 Great Books Introducing Jewish Mysticism”
21. and 22. Idolatry and Representation: The Philosophy of Franz Rosenzweig Reconsidered by Leora Batnitzky and The Star of Redemption by Franz Rosenzweig
From PJ Media columnist David P. Goldman‘s articles and books I’ve developed a fascination with Jewish philosopher Franz Rosenzweig. This book provides accessible insight into a core component of his thought very much of relevance to those wanting to better understand and overcome the powerful personality cults dominating America today. Leora Batnitzky focuses the discussion of Rosenzweig on idolatry, the primitive religious practice Judaism evolved against. For Rosenzweig idolatry is not based in the images or in the “foreign” customs of competing religions. It’s based in an incorrect apprehension of how to worship. Rosenzweig argues that the postmodernist, Nietzchean, truth-is-relative philosopher engages in the same practice as the ancient idolaters, self-worship, from page 47:
Once I finish reading Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed this year it’ll be time to focus on The Star of Redemption. As Goldman’s first essay book demonstrates, Rosenzweig’s ideas provide piercing analysis of our culture today…
23. It’s Not the End of the World, It’s Just the End of You: The Great Extinction of the Nations by Spengler as channeled by David P. Goldman
In this collection of essays derived from his Asia Times column and later expanded into the book How Civilizations Die (And Why Islam Is Dying Too), Goldman demonstrates how to apply Rosenzweig’s understanding of modern day neo-pagan culture to analyzing the West’s many pathologies. For example? Why do so many find such pleasure through indulging in gory, brutal, torture fantasies? “The pagan sees nature as arbitrary and cruel, and the monsters that breed in the pagan imagination personify this cruelty,” Goldman writing on horror movies on page 176:
Those who cannot feel God’s presence will settle for feeling anything, even pain and terror are better than the numb indifference that comes from perceiving one’s own life as no more meaningful than an animal’s or anything else in nature.
An excerpt from one of the White House’s favorite TV shows today…
“In psychopathic types, basic hostility toward the father still remains, but a hostility now dissimulated and directed outward onto society at large.” – page 141
24. They Shall Take Up Serpents: Psychology of the Southern Snake-Handling Cult by Weston La Barre
Weston La Barre was a cultural anthropologist who studied primitive and tribal religions. In this book from 1962 he compares research on the charismatic snake-handling cult leaders and draws comparisons to African snake shamans and the origins of Greek, Jewish, and Christian religions. It provides a fascinating case study into how a cult arises and functions, both in its modern setting and in the ancient world. What kind of person chooses to create a cult based around their personality? What shortcomings in their own life inspire them to create a surrogate emotional family?
La Barre’s magnum opus from 1970 would dig 600 pages deeper…
“Diffusion of a cult is identical with the diffusion of a culture.”
25. Ghost Dance: The Origins of Religion by Weston La Barre
This is the most interesting, useful book I’ve yet come across for explaining the transitioning from polytheism and Pagan nature worship to monotheism and Judeo-Christian transcendence worship. I found it through reading Robert Anton Wilson’s experiment Schrodinger’s Cat Trilogy where it’s mentioned as a scholarly source in an esoteric subject I’ve avoided for a decade: Shamanism
I’ve wandered amidst New Age religions and “dabbled” in occult practice for over 10 years now but I always looked the other way on learning more about what it meant to be a “shaman.” It always just seemed too hippiesh and lame — primitive is the correct word.
And La Barre shows indeed that is what it is — but it’s also the root of religion. The charismatic man takes control of nature and proves that he can master it better than others. Moses was a snake shaman. The Biblical narrative of Moses vs the Egyptian Pharaoh is a series of shamanic contests. The people would follow whichever god won. And so it remains today.
“To insist we already have the solutions is often to remain possessed of the problems.” – Weston La Barre, page 21:
Click here to start at the beginning of the list. Or jump to another section that interests you:
- 3 on disinformation by former Romanian spymaster Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa
- 3 on terrorism by former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy
- the final 2 by the late Barry Rubin, scholar of the Middle East’s history, culture, and politics
- 3 on Islam and the Jihad today
- 5 on racism and how to overcome it
- 3 on Marxism, its roots, its spread in the 20th century, and how it made a foothold in America which would one day bring it to presidential power
- 5 on American history and its revisionists
- Concluding with an introduction to one of the next subjects of my writing and research, which ties together the themes of all 30 books with Jarrett and Michelle Obama’s favorite TV show…