Bless You Scamdemic: Considering the Spiritual Alchemy that Transmutes Pain into Wisdom

Bless you Scamdemic — considering the spiritual alchemy that transmutes pain into wisdom

Calvin Mulligan, Futurescapes21C (c) October 23, 2022 All rights reserved

Transmute: to change something completely, especially into different and better. (Cambridge Dictionary)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4) 

The suffering-learning paradox

My boss and I were on a work-related field trip north of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan circa spring 1984 when he abruptly steered our half ton truck to the side of the road. Dr. “J”, a 55 or so year old native of Sask and specialist in livestock predation had spotted something and it wasn’t a predator. He got out of the truck and retrieved what turned out to be a 24 or so inch length of two by four lying on the edge of the ditch.

I was a relatively recent Manitoba import to Saskatchewan in the process of learning how deeply the Great Depression, the “dirty thirties”, had impacted our neighbours to the West. It wasn’t limited to infecting Dr. J  with a “waste not, want not” conservation ethic. I realized the Depression’s hardships had silently shaped the politics of my adopted province and the psyche of a generation.

An earlier illustration of the instructive and potentially life-changing influence of suffering is that of Alexandre Solzhenitsyn, the Soviet dissident and author of The Gulag Archipelago (written between 1958 and 1968). In Solzhenitsyn’s case, imprisonment in the gulag was transformational. He wrote: 

“Bless you prison, bless you for being in my life. He explained, For there, lying upon the rotting prison straw, I came to realize that the object of life is not prosperity as we are made to believe, but the maturity of the human soul. 

Solzhenitsyn wasn’t alone in concluding pain could be a pathway to maturity. His experience echoes the opening quote from the book of James in scripture. And Greek playwright, director and composer, Aeschylus (525-456 BC) also saw suffering as a prerequisite to learning and acquisition of wisdom. 

“He who learns must suffer, and even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.” 

Solzhenitsyn gained his freedom — from prison and subsequently the bonds of his earthly life. It’s the citizens of the West who are now captive. Ironically, some individuals have even fled to Russia seeking to escape the West’s immersion in corporate fascism. And while Solzhenitsyn’s personal journey was on an upward trajectory, our society has been moving in the opposite direction. Some observers like political philosopher, Allan Bloom, issued warnings of a coming crisis back in the 80’s. (See: Closing of the American Mind: How higher education has failed democracy and impoverished the souls of today’s students, 1987). Did anyone listen?

Reaping what we have sown 

An intergenerational cause-effect explanation for cyclic societal decline was provided several hundred years ago by Arab scholar, Ibn Khaldoun, (1332–1406). It’s both good and bad news.On the one hand he asserts: Hard times make strong men. Strong men make good times. Less appealing and more descriptive of our current state is his corollary, Good times make weak men. Weak men make hard times. It’s an uncomfortable thought for Westerns who have a near sacred commitment to pursuing material prosperity. Yet, here’s Khaldoun suggesting that it’s not sustainable, inevitably giving way to moral decrepitness and decline. It seems we are reaping what we planted a generation or two earlier. 

Didn’t our Boomer generation, like the generation before, decree that our children should never have to experience the imagined hardships that ours did? (Yes, I had to endure wearing some used clothes and outdoor toilets in early youth, but beyond that I’m hard-pressed to think of what they were.) Didn’t we conclude children were too fragile to be allowed to fail a grade or lose a race and that competition was harmful? Did we really expect that a generation of over-protective helicopter parenting and indulgent coddling would have no negative side effects? Even before the Covid coup, a public school teacher expressed her concern to me that grade school kids generally lacked resiliency, something that presumably neither parents nor educators were adequately cultivating. 

Rising rates of depression and suicide among our youth suggest many are infected with a debilitating fragility. It doesn’t end with graduation from high school. Consider the infantilism of “snowflake” university students who seek security in designated “safe” spaces stocked with crayons and colouring books. Escapism appears to be a theme. Does the embrace of gender fluidity or “furries“, for example, provide relief from fears and insecurities? 

My tentative conclusion then is that our societal decline to the current state is in part the consequence of our own beliefs and doing. Our aversion to pain and hardship as adults led us to over-protect our offspring, denying them critical learning experiences. This has delayed the maturity of a generation. If Solzhenitsyn and Aesthylus are right, there are no short-cuts to wisdom or spiritual maturity for any of us. And the repository of divine wisdom isn’t hackable. Some learning, like the waste-not want-not conservation ethic of the Great Depression, despite the discomfort, must be etched on individual and collective memories. This is the hardship-to-wisdom alchemy our society has yet to embrace. But now that we’re here, what can we do? 

Turning painfully learned lessons into wisdom (and action)

I have three modest general suggestions for those who give credence to the hardship-to-wisdom alchemy of the Great Scamdemic. The first is to accept that suffering is an integral part of human existence. Dr. Jordan Peterson has been bringing this fact of life home to us for some time. 

This in turn, means we must be prepared to honestly ask ourselves what the purpose of our pain and suffering is…and face the answers. This includes the possibility that we are misguided or heading down the wrong path. Simply framing life lessons objectively in itself may require a shift in mental posture from angry resistance to reflection. The members of Vaccine Choice Canada did just this and identified 40 lessons members had learned. Paraphrased, the first five appearing on the list are:

Governments are untrustworthy; they lie. The truth (e.g. “Safe and effective”) is typically the opposite of what they are telling us.

– A healthy society is based on a strong spiritual foundation

– The mainstream media should never be trusted

A society of fearful people is vulnerable to corruption and manipulation.

Too many people lack the initiative to think for themselves and investigate the facts for themselves.

Other VCC members cited: the corruption of political leaders, the prevalence of evil and its lies, the betrayal of our country by its citizens, the apostasy of the church, the importance of vigilance, the centrality of our birthright of free choice, the infantilization of society and the personal growth that’s resulted despite he hardships of the last two years. 

I encourage every individual and freedom group to engage in such an exercise. Once we are clear as to the lessons and their implications, we can consider which warrant strategic responses and what those responses might be. This could mean developing counters to pervasive propaganda, the spiritual deficit, corrupt politics, controlled media, deceived and disengaged youth, Big Pharma-colonized public health system and so forth.

Some actions will be defensive and others offensive in nature. The focus of the latter will be on creating alternatives to existing in institutional structures, business models, services and communities. Establishing home school education groups capable of graduating a generation of well-trained and equipped truth warriors, for example, would fall into this category. (And it would buttress our society against a repeat of the recent mass deception.) There’s a great deal more to be said about strategic actions in this and other categories. Suffice to say, there’s never been a more appropriate time to grow strong men and women. 

The chemists of old sought an alchemy that would turn lead into gold. Ours is a nobler and more achievable cause. We will commit to the proven alchemy of turning adversity into spiritual maturity, wisdom and judicious action. Many, (myself included) have suffered and lost a great deal over the last two years in particular. So for some it may be difficult to muster the conviction of Solzhenitsyn. But with God’s grace, we might all one day say: Bless you, Scandemic; through you I’ve gained remarkable insights into myself and my world that otherwise would have eluded me. 


Alexander Solzhennitsyn and the meaning of life:

Seven Stages to Spiritual Alchemy:

Aeschylus, Find a Grave:

Wrong side of history:

Closing of the American mind: How higher education has failed democracy and impoverished the souls of today’s students

Deviance and the furry community;

Life is suffering – Dr. Jordan Peterson:

8 thoughts on “Bless You Scamdemic: Considering the Spiritual Alchemy that Transmutes Pain into Wisdom

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