By Rich Bledsoe
If we take as a starting point the Tribal / Monarchical / Empire model, we can then add to it the Late Empire Phase. The particular ‘marker sin’ of Empire is false intermarriage, which signifies pluralism and syncretism. Empires by definition are “cosmopolitan” dominated by cities, high culture, many cultures, and many languages. There is more immediate contact with at least the high points of many civilizations and people groupings than any other form. But, with the corruption of Empire, any recognizable center drops out and agreed upon Truth is lost, and it is replaced by very vague and empty universalisms, and a lot of mush.In the Late Empire phase, the marker sin is the homoerotic.
This moves beyond the thousand women of Solomon to another level of descent, and is tied to ego and identity weakness. This should follow. If Perichorosis is the Trinitarian model for identity (the Father finds Himself in the Son, the Son in the Father, the Spirit in the Father and the Son, and
whatever other combinations follow), so the husband finds himself in the wife, the wife in the husband, the father and mother in the sons and daughters, and vice versa) to begin to stretch oneself so thin as to be “in” a thousand women is to lose oneself, and not in a good way. One no longer has a self, because one is so spread out to a thousand others and one has zero depth with any of them.
One is lost. One would think this would also lend itself to patheism, in obvious ways. Late Empire eras are eras of gender confusion, and not knowing who one is. It is the era of the search for oneself, and mostly people cannot “find” themselves. It fits that we are the “therapeutic era”. It finds its height of expression in the homosexual community. The homoerotic urge is the search for ones own weakened and perhaps almost non-existent self in an idealized other. It is the quest of incubus and succubus. The “other” is not really “other” but an extension of, or a “substantializing” of the self. Here is the irony and paradox that I am building up to.
The most “cosmopolitan” eras, are at one and the same time, the most ethno-centric. If the height of civilization is a high empire era, by a very strange turn of events, these places are in the most danger of becoming the narrowest of all eras and places. Hence, it seems to be that the most cosmopolitan places in the United States, such as San Francisco, and Manhattan (which must be distinguished from all the other boroughs) are also the very places the very least likely to be able to have any openness to anything other than themselves. They begin to be as narrow as any tribe in New Guinea. Hence, ethno-centricism finds its most natural home in the most cosmopolitan of all areas. It eventually becomes impossible see anything other than ones self in everything.
It is clear that while a place like Harvard certainly is a place with a lot of knowledge and real insight, it is also a place blighted, more blighted with ethno-centricism than most small towns. It is an odd combination of high culture and blighted narrowness. The “Sociology of Knowledge” is at work everywhere, but the most perversly in the most advanced cities and universities.
The “otherness” of the texts, and “otherness” in general, is muted and only seen through an acceptable filter. Now I know we all have this problem. It is not unique to the high world of Late Empire at places of concentration. But it is both the most invisible and also the most visibly at work in those places.
I am not accusing any particular modern scholar of the homoerotic. I am saying that the world of higher learning, is especially dominated by this ethos.