Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Eighth Victory of Hercules Over the Mares of Diomedes


     Hercules is sent against another tyrant, Diomedes, who owns man-eating horses in barbarous Thrace, as king of the warlike Bistonians, descended from Mars. Since the myth teaches us that these horses to be fetched are mares, we can identify them as the female psychological side of the male, that is to say, the region of the subconscious psyche, where the Anima dwells, unawakened, and therefore unable to unify with the male psyche and heal its division. Diomedes is the apex of this condition, and represents the false Ego, which is oh-so-certain that it can control the subconscious forces of the mind, riding them to tyranny, and feeding their inordinate passion on the flesh of the innocent. 
     This condition represents a wide awake nightmare, and the visual embodiment of such can be pictured here. Moderns are fond today of reinstating The Matriarchy. This represents a re-descent into the group, collective trajectory of mankind. It is of no more use to return to Matriarchy, and perhaps a great deal less, than it would be to reinstitute earlier phases of what is called "the Patriarchy": the Patriarchy was actually a step up in the struggle of man, and created the preconditions for the Age of Courtly Love, for it is only in eternal and infinite Love that man and woman can find qualitative equality. It was Love that summoned Abraham out of the tribes of Chaldea, that built the limes and roads of ancient Roma which lead to the sacred seven hills, and that raised the towers of the Gothic arches over Europe. Christ Himself said He came to earth not to bring peace, but a sword. To quote an old Internet acquaintance, when the man puts on his hat, and comes around, there is conflict. It is a difficult truth to face, but wars, plagues, devastation, and human suffering (the four horseman of the Apocalypse), are servants to the Living Word of God, who is brighter than the Sun and has a sword coming out of His mouth. This is not the Jesus that the Episcopal Church in America (our unofficial national liberal denomination along with Zionism) likes to paint from the pulpit every Sunday. 
     Because mankind is "behind the level of the Times" (unequal to the Cosmic Law's progression), there are periodic upheavals and convulsions on the earth. This is why Jesus comforted His followers: "Fear not, for greater am I that are in you, than He that is in the world". The prince of this world is Satan, and he is a deputy of Cosmic Law, fulfilling a very specific role in the economy of the fallen and fractured universe, ruling man with fear, hunger, and libido dominandi. It is he that will drag man, willy-nilly, collectively toward a final confrontation with the truth about human nature. Do not mistake this Zeitgeist for the Holy Spirit. 
     Unintegrated man cannot reassimilate to God and overcome the fractured condition of the Fall because he has lost his sleeping queen. He cannot respond in freedom towards God - he is alienated, not just from God, but from the truth, from his true self, and from Reality. He is a thrall to Satan. Every single one of his one-sided reactions flow out of this fundamental aversion to coming to grips with Love. This is expressed poetically in Francis Thompson's The Hound of Heaven. :

‘Come then, ye other children, Nature’s—share
With me’ (said I) ‘your delicate fellowship;
  Let me greet you lip to lip,
  Let me twine with you caresses,
    Wantoning       65
  With our Lady-Mother’s vagrant tresses,
  With her in her wind-walled palace,
  Underneath her azured daïs,
  Quaffing, as your taintless way is,       70
    From a chalice
Lucent-weeping out of the dayspring.’
    So it was done:
I in their delicate fellowship was one—
Drew the bolt of Nature’s secrecies.       75
  I knew all the swift importings
  On the wilful face of skies;
  I knew how the clouds arise
  Spumèd of the wild sea-snortings;
    All that’s born or dies       80
  Rose and drooped with; made them shapers
Of mine own moods, or wailful or divine;
  With them joyed and was bereaven.
  I was heavy with the even,
  When she lit her glimmering tapers       85
  Round the day’s dead sanctities.
  I laughed in the morning’s eyes.
I triumphed and I saddened with all weather,
  Heaven and I wept together,
And its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine;       90
Against the red throb of its sunset-heart
    I laid my own to beat,
    And share commingling heat;
But not by that, by that, was eased my human smart.
In vain my tears were wet on Heaven’s grey cheek.       95
For ah! we know not what each other says,
  These things and I; in sound I speak—
Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.
Nature, poor stepdame, cannot slake my drouth;
  Let her, if she would owe me,      100
Drop yon blue bosom-veil of sky, and show me
  The breasts o’ her tenderness:
Never did any milk of hers once bless
    My thirsting mouth.

     If you were told that every single one of "the world's problems" has its ugly root in the darkest recesses of your own soul, would you give it serious energy and investigation? Or would you flee into deeper projections of your shadow? Some have even decided to join the shadow, and meld themselves as much as possible into that projection, to deepen the illusion past repair in this life, saving the extraordinary grace of God. "

"You are as spiritual as you desire to be, that is all." They were somewhat annoyed at the abruptness of his words, and turned away. At once he spoke to them in a loving tone. "My dear children, I said your spirituality was what you wish it to be so that you would understand that your spirituality is entirely in proportion to your good will. Then enter into yourselves: don't ask other about your progress. Examine your good will, and from that alone you will discover the measure of your spirituality."  (John Ruysbroeck, speaking to pilgrims, in European Mystics, by Rudolf Steiner, p44.)

     It doesn't matter what happens to the world, if you lose your own soul. This Anima is asleep deep within, the pearl of great price, an analogy for the Kingdom of Heaven, which is within you. It is Hercules, the deputy of the true self from the human aspect and the true self from the aspect of his immortal descent, who must tame the Mares of Diomedes. He and only he can can bring them to heel. This is part of the process of purification proceeding illumination and theosis. The personal unconscious has to be overcome before the subconscious can be reintegrated, and Hercules embodies a more or less purified consciousness who can face the subconscious. 
     Do not be deceived. The Mares of Diomedes do not feed on other horses. They feed on human flesh, and Hercules will turn them against the Satanic ego that is so hubristic as to think that they can wield them as a weapon against others. This motif, for those who are too modern for Greek myths, can be found in the Game of Thrones as well. One way or the other, as we will see below, the un-purified personal consciousness will be unable to tame, or even keep locked up, the forces of the subconscious. Carl Jung remarked that men over 40 are either religious, or they are neurotic. Confucius gave the age of 40 as important, holding out hope for anyone that was straying, until they reached at least that age. A man ought to have a few things figured out by then. There is an old African proverb as well : "After the age of forty, a man is responsible for his own face". But for those who do make the choice of some higher path, and attain personal results, and embark on the labors, there is great reward and consolation for their struggle and sacrifice. They are able to begin the real work. We shouldn't think it is just a matter of "getting saved", or "getting our act together philosophically". There is a point beyond the point. 
     The Mares submit to Hercules (naturally), but he (for the time being) leaves them in the hands of his companion Abderis. One cannot try to tame the subconscious, or face it, or even behold it, with anything less than the highest sum of all that is true, beautiful, and best in one's self (the Soul), and so this leads to the death of his companion. The lesson here is that nothing can be held back, that full commitment is necessary, in order to journey into the shadow realm. Hercules turns back to face Diomedes, and his companion dies. One could also say that the old personality has to "die" in order for the Soul to complete the Labor. 
     Hercules is always getting sidetracked, albeit in an understandable and sympathetic way. There is an inevitable human sanguinity about him, whether using a river to wash out the stables, or going berserk and killing everyone he can get his hands on. We have seen this several times in the myths. People get hurt when this happens. Inevitably. Perhaps the best lesson one could draw from this is to not get sidetracked. Have you considered that wavering on the goal, although perhaps not fatal to yourself in the long run, may very well prove fatal to important parts of yourself, and incur karmic debt? Or to other, important people in your life story? Hercules will have to found a town in honor of his friend, which is another sidetrack, of a more forgivable kind. Although he is always "in the right" and "doing something good", it is not always, in every exactitude, the unum necessarium. Be careful about pursuing sideline goals, and postponing your spiritual journey. 
     It is as if the entire story of Creation, all of written and unwritten human history, stretching back the flickering fire light of caves or even the time of proto-genesis, is a progressive tightening of focus around the ever-more-definable question of What does it mean to be Human? In the fullest sense of that word, Man must encompass all of Creation: its lowest depths as surely as its highest heights. But the moral movement is upward, Without the upward moral and spiritual movement, all is chaos, an analogy for what will be more defined in Hades, which takes its meaning precisely from that upward moral movement. Without an upward movement, there is no "Down" either. 
     Modern man has at his beck and call all the primordial tradition of the past, scattered about like the body of Osiris, in the form of vast potential knowledge and development in many sciences which were not available to the ancient world in total form. What use are we making of those resources? And yet, Cologero has noted that ancient man (enviable in many ways compared to the modern version) was nonetheless degenerate, that they were circumscribed by Fate just as we are. Everywhere and at all times, "History is a crime" (Nicholas Berdyaev). Those times of ignorance have past. The guardians and tutors have withdrawn, and the winter of the world has come, for there is a spiritual evolutionary test being administered, to see who can stand (in popular parlance, we might call this the "Matrix"). Since "now is the day of salvation", this time period was the best time for you to appear. 

Acts 17:30-31 30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

     There are "cracks in the great wall", as one author puts it. For those who can read the signs of the Times, the Reign of Quantity symbolizes both the "best of times" and the "worst of times". Man will have to make progress, individually most of all, but he will be forced to it by the heavenly and the infernal powers, all the same, in an outer sense. That is why Darwin, Marx, and Freud were given domination over the Modern Era. The motto of Freud was flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo: 'If I cannot bend the will of Heaven, I shall move Hell. This is why we inhabit, simultaneously, the most important of times (the present is always the scene of the struggle), and the least enviable of times (karmic debts have mounted). The Scriptures promise that God would not destroy the world with water again; the day of judgement will be a day of Fire (2 Peter). This Fire will either be experienced as Love, or as terrible Fire, depending upon the spiritual condition. 

9The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some understand slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar, the elements will be dissolved in the fire, and the earth andits works will not be found. 11Since everything will be dissolved in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to conduct yourselves in holiness and godliness… 

     We have behind us birth and baptism (Water) and in front of us Fire (the energetic state of Love that is destiny, and also the consequences for falling short). The entire metaphysics of Jacob Boehme explain the workings of the four elements in man and in Creation, which are combining to create and purify the spirit of Man, and they can be related to these ideas and patterns of God allowing (in the fallen state), Nature to urge and constrain itself to find a way out "further in". This perfect and theotic state (N Berdyaev terms man a "theocosm" and not just a "microcosm") will not come without struggle and effort, and we will continue to see this conflict waged in the projected, externalized world, which groans for redemption. This is why Kukai could say, "The Mind and the World Co-Arise". 
     Hercules will have more labors to accomplish. Defeating one enemy, and completing one labor, is not enough. He must work through the entire Zodiac circle, for this is the Cosmic Law. But in the process, He will be refined, until the day when "heaven and earth kiss", when the double oath of God, on earth as it is in heaven, is complete. Every time, every age, starts afresh in a sense - God has set eternity in our hearts. The answer will not be found in one outer battle or triumph, which may just turn out to be a diversion or distraction. Do not foolishly ask "why is this time so much worse than other times?" The good old ways, the paths of the Lord, are found within you, for it is in the lines of the human heart that the meaning, the purpose, and the answer will be found. Along that path will you find the answers to all the other questions. Seek first the Kingdom of God, and His Righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. It is a matter of winning the Greater War and the Inner Struggle. It always was. And it always will be, until it is done. Beware of seeking your true self - you might find God. Beware of seeking God - it may be that you will find your true self. This was vividly illustrated in the story of a Catholic martyr during WWII, when the self and God no longer had need even for the Scriptures or outer forms. 

She said that Jochmann entered Jägerstätter’s cell the night before the execution. He was the priest who said the prisoner refused to sign the document that could have spared his life. He said Jägerstätter had already received the last sacraments in the afternoon. Jochmann offered to bring Jägerstätter devotional reading material but the prisoner declined and he also declined to hear readings from scripture. According to the priest, Jägerstätter explained, “I am completely bound in inner union with the Lord, and any reading would only interrupt my communication with my God.” 

     The labors of Hercules contain the keys to unlocking the fairy tale, and awakening the sleeping beauty, transforming Cinderella, or winning the favor of the Valkyries. This eighth labor is particularly notable for the devouring presence of the unintegrated parts of consciousness (the "mares" of the Anima), because "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned". The overt tyrant or stereotypical, over-compensated "male" will not be able to control these forces, and in fact, not even a plain "good man" can control them either, hence the death of Hercules' companion. Only the presence of the true man on the quest can hope to quell and tame these forces, which later go on to serve usefully as bloodlines for great steeds for Alexander the Great. 
     To quote Cologero
Man is self-sufficient, since in him the anima is the passive element. To give birth to the True Self, the anima must be pacified so that it can receive the imprint of a higher source. That is why Jung says that a physical woman is not absolutely necessary for the individuation process. Rather, she is a privation, so the energy of the anima exists in the man and can be claimed in an act of self-possession. 
     You may also notice that Hercules is not a sage or an intellectual: he is a warrior and an ascetic. We live in an era dominated by the Lunar influence of Intellect, and under its thrall. The age to come will not be one of Philosophy, Religion, or Science, but of Art, the Fourth Age, which is the unity of the preceding three. This is symbolized in John's Gospel, the fourth Gospel, which speaks the entire and full truth of the divinity of the Logos. But of the three kinds of men (natural, religious, and intellectual), it is the religious "knights" who will be most needed and called upon to undertake the artful transformation and balancing of man into the higher form. Natural or pagan man has no "path", and intellectuals today think only with their tongues. The men of "heart" cannot consent to either path, and are forced into transformation. You can find more teaching on this in Mouravieff's Gnosis, which is part of the basis of the Gornahoor web seminars started by Cologero. 
     Knowing things with the mind will help clear cobwebs away, but it isn't the same thing as beginning the journey. And it is interesting that Alice Bailey places the "Eighth" labor of Hercules, by rotation of the Zodiac, in the place of the First Labor. We could relate this to the First Arcanum of the Tarot, the Magician, which is the foundation for practicing the others. This would make sense, given that experientially knowing the Anima places a "knight" in a position of potency and power for accomplishing all of the subsequent Labors. 
     Follow your clues and commence the Quest.     


Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Trivium Prism – Part II

First published here
Part I is also there.

It's a hard sell to convince anyone that the Liberal Arts are “relevant” today. Most people picture endless stacks of provocative, great novels or reams of modernist poetry. And what's the big deal with the Number Seven? And what (in the name of God, take heed) is a Quadrivium? A better updating of the phrase might help: the Liberating Arts would be better, but that carries connotations of Catholic priests with machine guns. Defense against the Dark Arts might almost work, but the phrase is taken. We don't have a good word for it, and since the human brain at its lower, natural level can't think of something it doesn't have a word for, this makes discussing them difficult. The Japanese have a word for killing yourself by working too much, suggesting that they are familiar with the phenomena. They also have a word for the beauty that comes to dignified ladies in old age, and we do not. Presumably, we notice and experience it, but not very self-consciously. Russians have a great many nuanced words for spiritual states or moods which might help us. What shall we call the great tradition of the Liberal Arts? 

The Latins and medievals called them Artes Liberales, and I don't think the connotations were the same. Possibly, The Arts Which Set One Free. In absence of a good English translation, reverting to the Latin might be of some use, if done with understanding. It would distinguish the Tradition of studying the Logos (the revealed pattern of God's nature) from self-stimulating and gratifying exercises in deliberate decadence, which passes for “liberal arts” in the Academy. It would also prevent endless invention of new names, such as what occurred in esoteric studies with Theosophy, Anthroposophy, and Archaeosophy (to name a few – nothing against those movements just because of the name). I think of the Artes Liberales as the Science and Art of the Logos – the Wisdom (Paedeia) of God for the study of man. Paedeia is a term re-proposed by Douglas Wilson, based on Scriptures. 

In order to train in the Tradition of “the arts which make worthy of being free”, we are going to have to re-condense the diffuseness of the term as it has unraveled and dissipated down to modern times, not in order to avoid what is modern (our own ambient milieu) but to become worthy of being set free from it. The DNA of the Artes Liberales has considerable decay in the arts that wear the mantle of the name. Fortunately, you don't have to lay supine in the mud of the modern lower circles of Hades and submit to endless James Joyce seminars in the name of liberal arts. Most, if not all, of the basic hard work has been done. We just have to identify the form and practice it. 

The pattern Grammar-Logic-Rhetoric is basic to the tradition. Even the modern liberal arts mimic this form. First, you learn the grammar of Revolution, with terms like post-colonialism, gender study, oppression, liberation, etc., proceeding onwards to “critical thinking”, or Logic, which consists of long diatribes by consummate word-smiths like Edward Said or the soi disant heirs of Karl Marx, culminating in a Logic of Revolution (they put political Rhetoric prior to social “action” or logical extension) which we currently see operating at light speed, like the mutual discharge of sheet lightning, all over the globe. 

The first correction I would make (and this would do much good by itself), is to place Logic after Grammar. Other than the subject of Geography, there is no discipline so little studied or aptly learned today (in America) as basic Logic. It is probably impossible to get too much of it in today's climate, and there is a reason that the modern Academy neglects it in high school, and then places it last (after formation of the soul in Grammar and Rhetoric), which facilitates turning the subject into an exercise in political will to direct action and extension of pre-programmed memes, twitters, and sound bites. Euclid (or something similarly difficult) along with extensive study of fallacies, should be a major portion of one's education. 

How many times have you heard (or discerned) this line of thought?
    1. All authoritarians are Nazis.
    2. All Nazis are traditionalists.
    3. Therefore, all traditionalists are authoritarian Nazis.
The fallacy count in this one is pretty high, because to make it you have to assume anyone can actually define any of those terms in an accurate and subtle way, using history, primary texts, literature of the period, and philosophical acumen. Which is a big assumption. Leaving this whopping monster aside, the two big ones are Oversimplification and Illicit Minor. But of course, you have to commit the Mother of All Fallacies to even torture your mind enough to begin to think in this mode to begin with: you have to read one book (The Authoritarian Personality) and derive from that one experience (which, after all, is contingent like everything else in the domain of mundane existence) the False, But Clear Idea that all Authority is false Authority. You assume this because even prior to this, Authority is assumed to always commit a mega-fallacy in forcing its own mind to crush fallacies in itself and others. But torturing your mind this way is “destroying the village in order to save it”. Authority (auctoritas) does exist as legitimate, or it could not be “false” and objected to. Saying that it is always a fallacy because it commits fallacies all the time puts one in the position of pseudo-authority, which of course is always arguing and running after fallacies in one's opponents, but never removing the beam from its own eye. Which in this case, means dethroning a false, but clear, authority in favor of a false and unclear one. Such is the modern world in toto, and this is basically all that is taught in the University today. Hence, Logic is denied, and even Grammar changes its terms deceitfully, while Rhetoric becomes a mask for power. The mega-fallacy greases all the following ones1

And this is perhaps a very good time to point out the necessity of the dreaded “Quadrivium”. A naked Grammar-Logic-Rhetoric is a powerful tool in the creation of earthly orders of dignity, power, and wealth. Athens, for instance, abounded in great orators, was proficient in Greek grammar, familiar with Euclid and logical forms, but that didn't prevent a disastrous experiment in war and political chaos from weakening the entire Hellenic world to the point of near exhaustion. The age of tyrants succeeded the “Golden Age” of Periclean Athens2. Maybe they should have cultivated rhetoric less, and studied poetry more often. 

Understanding this sequence (cyklos) intellectually (as Polybius did) does not make undergoing these things that much easier, and certainly (by itself) does little to mitigate them. For this reason, the sequence of Artes Liberales does not stop in the mere contemplation of the negative examples of fallacies. If it did, we could very justly be termed merely Counter-Revolutionary, or even snubbed eternally as Reactionaries (although it is fair to say that any order on the Right by logical necessity is going to be allergic, and logically so, to pervasive modern fallacies of the mind). We might even risk falling into the errors of a kind of absolutely rigid spirit of inquisition, which was always seeking to ferret out hidden Leftism (always involving a favorite pet fallacy of some sort) in the opponent. This would be a poor environment (by itself) to inculcate self-awareness, consciousness, and confidence, and to incubate the new birth. By itself, it would only be a “No”: necessary, but not sufficient, for the achievement of the True, Beautiful, and Good. The normal necessary first step, saying No to the world, it would be lacking in subtlety to deal with the flesh and the devil were we not rescued by the living powers that flow through the Quadrivium. 

The Quadrivium is the spiritual supply center for the positive emotional center, which can successfully oppose or counter-weight, the natural cycles of the human passions. Purity of the emotional center is most effective, initially, against “the lie in the mouth of the beast” (the kingdoms of the world). If the Trivium is the high-octane welder, forger, and shaper of the swift and accurate workings of dialectical reasoning (as the middle term, based in grammar, proceeding by reasoning to high rhetoric), it can assist man to name discrete objects, distinguish them, and sort them, primarily by the process of avoiding fallacies and logical or systemic traps in the way the fallen human mind can tend to move. It is the eternal No, sifting and sorting, saying “this also is not I”. 

Not so with the Quadrivium – as we move into its territory we are in the arena where religion, and not philosophy, is triumphant. The Quadrivium deals with the products of man's higher emotional center; even though it utilizes logic and grammar and rhetoric, it's center of gracity remains in the realm of the aspirational, what the Middle Ages called the “sixth sense” or “estimation”. It is based upon what man esteems in his soul, what he aspires to, what he yearns and longs for. One can instantly see, surveying the 20th century, how damaging a false orientation of this center can be. A long train of usurpations, wars, famines, civil disorder, revolution, and world cataclysms follows in the wake of a false emotional orientation in the higher arenas of the soul forces offered to man, like Promethean fire. When the sailors aboard the Potemkin mutinied, they were courageous, idealistic, and intelligent, and they wanted good things. Their motivations were often good, their goal was praiseworthy. But their standard (being based in Revolutionary or Modernist dogma), was utterly warped. Consequently, Russia entered a hundred year period of intense suffering and horror beyond almost belief. It is extremely important to correctly stabilize and root the medieval power of estimation/aspiration in positive emotional forces from legitimately higher planes. 

So even though Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, and Cosmology have a strong dialectical component that connects with the Trivium, the power and desire and contemplation of these forms flows purely out of the purity of the emotional center. Although one can intellectually “come” to the Quadrivium based upon logic, the penetration of these orders of beauty is only accomplished through the power of estimation. As I've noted in other essays, the Quadrivium is the “content” of the Trivium in a deeper sense, the actual substance within the “form” of definition, dialectic, and manifestation. People don't drive or walk hundreds of miles to see schematic plans of nuclear reactors, impressive though they are. They want to see something beautiful which consoles, elevates, and sustains them, or hear music that transports them to “the higher spheres”, or taste an elegant meal which brings back childhood memories, thus restoring the power of the eternal in their life.

The power of the Quadrivium is so potent that what is a Pathetic fallacy in one context is, raised to a sufficiently high power, undeniably a transcendent truth. If I say that the “sea is angry” that is a pathetic fallacy, but if Homer personifies mother-earth, it grasps a truth: “So she spoke. But them, already, the life-giving earth possessed, there in Lacedaemon, in the dear fatherland.” Even Ruskin, in his famous and powerful attack on aspects of our higher emotions, acknowledges that at a higher level, with sufficient poetry, “it is so”. This should give you some idea of the tremendous power of the subject matter contained and dealt with on the interior of the Quadrivium. As CS Lewis so beautifully put it, “he who is writing a sonnet must both be in love with his Beloved, and also the sonnet”. The form may be arithemetical (based in the “counting” of the Trivium), but emotional tension and aspiration is what generates the beauty of the poem “out of nothing”, not the “outline” of the form. Even the Trivial arts of Rhetoric, Dialectic, and Grammar involve the careful selection of a certain emotional content, tendency, and style, which is operative at a very subtle level in the apparently more precise and logical Trivial arts. For instance, ME Bradford has an extraordinary piece which analyzes Abraham Lincoln's evolution of emotions in his speeches. Regardless of what you think of his conclusions, the light is illuminating – Lincoln was not operating in an emotional void of pure Logic. He, too, depended upon the estimation/aspiration of the emotional center. It would be extremely advantageous for a Templar order to become more adept at understanding the ways in which this center operates, to see if there are ways to avoid being manipulated by it without understanding why (which is at least half the misery of the world). 

Our choice, to put it rhetorically, is between having a Prism of Gnosis and true Knowledge, or accepting the Prison of bondage to the world, the flesh and the devil. The Artes Liberales are truly the Defense Against the Dark Arts, the Arts Which Can Set One Free, the Liberating Art. Admittedly, the white light of pure Knowledge is viewed through the “Prism” of the Artes Liberales, and is thus not a perfect end goal for human evolution. However, it is available to even the most common of men, accessible to even weaker minds who have sufficient aspiration, and is a vast improvement on the modern condition of living at the level of animals in a Sorcerer-State, manipulated by powers that course and pulse through us, which we do not understand or even sense. It offers the possibility of cooperation with the Logos at the level of the psyche and intellect, and thus, keeps open the door to something “More” beyond even Goodness, Truth, and Beauty.

1To get a feel for how this plays out concretely in absurd irony, read a history of the 1905 Russian Revolution, or the mutiny on the battleship Potemkin: the revolutionaries were constantly having to resort to ad hoc committees with total power, and to somehow salvage their new authority, despite the fact that the basis of their revolt was rejection of all authority.
2Some of this can be blamed on “cycles”, but what is a cycle if not the natural alteration in human nature between misplaced allegiances based on passions? Are humans unable to understand, and understanding them, artfully fend off a “natural” progression until more favorable times begin to work in a better condition?

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Wishing North America Better Times

     No country today is as relevant to the West as is Russia. Russia is the miraculously-back-from-the-dead ex-alcoholic who had a terrible car crash that he wasn't expected to survive. John Howard Kunstler is quite right to insist that the current suppression of free thought on college campuses is something paradigmatically new, almost a kind of "Red Maoist Guard".
 The Red Guard-like action on campus may continue, though it’s hard to imagine the “Snowflakes” besting their infantile hijinks of 2016. What they are demonstrating now is that coercive identity politics is just a new form of leisure-time recreation on campus, like Ultimate Frisbee and the beer blasts of old! Have fun wrecking faculty careers and basking in the Facebook feed! A few still-sane people of all political persuasions are sick of their censorious attacks, reckless persecutions, and insults to reality — such as the mandatory “white privilege” trainings and gender identity personal pronoun crusades. I predict that there will be a revolt among the university trustees and boards of directors against college presidents and deans who pander to the Maoist hysteria, as the damage to higher education and intellectual freedom more generally finally manifests in dropping enrollments and the loss of public funding.

A good term for the University Nexus is "The Cathedral". Harvard has been ruling the USA since the Civil War, and the world since 1945. But The Old Liberal Guard is out. The Red Guard is "in", thanks to the Second Civil War, which was fought "peacefully" during the 1960s. The radicals of the 1960s cleaned up, went to college, and then seized power as professors. They will not extend the same courtesy of free association and thought which was given to them - they know how they used it, and they don't want that done to them. So they are "removing all the safeties" on their torpedoes: Conservatives are blackballed at the least, and humiliated and ruined at the worst. And most of them are actually just very conservative old school liberals. If they're willing to do this to their old party affiliates, imagine how they view their actual political enemies. Free Speech? Don't You Believe It!" Fee Spreech. Sprechen Sie Communismus.
     Russia has the advantage of having actually done Communism "up right" : they weren't play acting when they rode through Poland, created the Gulags, cooperated with and then fought the Nazis to the death, and then hung on through a Cold War with the entire free West. At the cost of only a quarter of their population or so, not to mention all the misery and suffering. They are, in this area, every way our superior, having done it whole hog, and then managed to survive and repudiate it. The rise of Putin can be entirely explained in terms of Russia's search for a stable and just ruler who will throw them back to the trajectory of their spiritual destiny. Putin may be a nasty guy (I can't really know this one way or the other) but he makes good decisions for Russia, and that is good for the whole world.
     Why is Russia hated? Well, besides the fact that they are living testifying drop dead eat your hat proof that Communism doesn't work, and will swear on a stack of Slavonic Bibles by the ghost of Alexander Solzhenitsyn (who embarrassed Harvard with his piety, erudition, and dignity), that we are in a heap of trouble if we keep up all this keeping on, they are also European, Western, very White (Oh the horror, the horror!), and Christian to boot. They are into a double hat-trick of penalties in the SJW rule book. And, AND, they have nuclear weapons and apparently aren't going to be lectured to by the Faux Liberaux intellectual giants who have masterminded the eradication of separate restrooms for Ladies and Gents.         
     One can only hope that, out there, somewhere in the troubled streets of our gigantic eyesore Metropoli, which exist as giant cancers all across the Western World, or hidden deep in the hills of the Appalachian mountains or the endless rolling plains of the prairies, are a few heroes, saints, or even martyrs left, who with unspoiled eye and untainted heart, look upon the rest of the North American hominids with love, bravery, prudence, and firmness. It will take all of our cunning, all of our virtue, all of our bravery, and all of our strength to face the appalling harvest of apathy and despair which threatens to overwhelm the increasingly desperate North American continent, to re-organize it, stabilize it, and turn it back from the brink of wrack and ruin. But for that, we need leadership. Men of good will abound, and are perhaps even a slight majority. But that is not enough. No other country on earth is better suited to empathize, understand, and provide an example for us as Russia is today.  That is why "Russia-gate" is such a primal, deep fear among our feckless elites. They are beginning to doubt their own narrative, just on the eve of their total triumph - What if it is all a Lie? What if this way, madness lies?
     Because the sky is dark with chickens coming home to roost. A multi-dimensional vortex of economic, financial, political, cultural, religious, and sociological factors is brewing up a perfect storm for us here Stateside. If we can face it manfully and in all truth, it will be a magnificent opportunity, as it was for Russia, to recapture what is best in Life, to find ourselves again as a polity, as citizens, as Christians, as men of the West. If we run from it, it will swallow us whole anyway.
     Who wants to live forever? Physically, no. Because that would mean an eternal lack of perfection. Spiritually? Hell, yes. There are worse things than dying. After all, gentleman, (and gentle ladies), we live in an ordered and hierarchical world, subject to Cosmic Law, with "more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophies". We are bearers of the Christ, emissaries of the Creator, the mediators of heaven and earth. What could be better than discovering the meaning of that? Who knows, it might be a lot more exciting than one more Net Flix (TM) binge.
     By the powers, I cannot forget the beauty, truth, and goodness in the world, or cease to seek it's meaning. Because he who finds that, "finds more" (Dr. Michael Bauman). To die would be a great adventure, so die before you die. Second star to the right. Let's rebuild America.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Jesus is the Red Right Hand of God

Rubente Dextra

Paradise Lost (Book II, 170-174) : "What if the breath that kindled those grim fires, / Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage, / And plunge us in the flames; or from above / Should intermitted vengeance arm again / His red right hand to plague us?".

     A lot of Christians say that Jesus sits on the right hand of God, and while (as a believing Christian) I affirm this is true, it is also true that Christ IS the red, right hand of God. It was Justin Martyr's conclusion that "the angel of the Lord" was the pre-incarnate Christ. This means that Michael, leader of the hosts of angels, is the risen Lord. Hence, Jesus' words that He could call a host of angels to minister to him, for He is their captain. Christ is the stigmata of God. He is the double-oath that God will fight to save His world. Hence the sword coming out of his mouth to devour his enemies, in the book of Revelation.
     This is difficult to understand, because we tend to picture God anthropomorphically, sitting up there in the sky, remote and distant, like a Deistic watch-maker for all practical intents and purposes, lacquered over with a mask of highly emotional and personal preferences having to do with whatever we like or love. Perhaps He is a great liberal sentimentalist, or a budding Leftist SJW, or a conservative liberal old codger who likes to play golf? 
     This hollowing out of Christianity by Theism has been well documented. Whether it began with William of Ockham (thesis of Richard Weaver), Duns Scotus (thesis of Benedict XVI), or with the Reformation-Puritan strain which eviscerated Christianity of all magic, miracles, sacraments, and European cultus, what happened definitely happened.
     Modern Theism itself shares a lot of similarities with Deism, which had virtually nothing in common except for the name with authentic Christianity. Theism provided a conduit for Deism and Enlightenment to acculturate and grow and ferment within the Christian Church. So much so that now, the Yale Divinity School thinks it's more than While there is nothing inherently wrong with thinking of God in certain ways, this externalizing of God into the distant Sky-Father has tended to sweep away all its competitors, largely because He delivered the goods in the form of modern Science, and was capable of widespread acceptance among the "cultured despisers of religion". Additionally, it served a valuable purpose in locating God totally outside of man, so that man's fallen nature was rationalized and to a degree justified, in that it left all initiative and guilt for this schism in the hands of an unaccountably hidden God, Who was either sitting on His hands, or working so crazily it was hard to get on the same page with Him. The Deists leaned towards sitting on His hands, and the Theists had the huge problem of explaining the existence of radical evil, reversals in Fortune among the Christian peoples of Europe, and also the arbitrary and narrative-dependent nature of constructing a coherent "full counsel of God" out of the chaos of modern industrial civilization. The best work Voltaire ever did was on this very difficulty, in the hilarious and vulgar satire Candide. I am not despising the sophistication of either of these camps: the Gifford Lectures would not exist without a strong tradition of speculative philosophy in both of these camps.
     The problem is not that Theism or Liberalism exist (in a bare naked pragmatic sense): the problem is that people have fetishized these schools of thought as substitutes for the Kingdom of God. So much so that it is difficult to even convince the Liberals that the Left is their enemy, because, frankly, the Liberals are an alternate (American ersatz) religion, just not as up-to-date and consistent as full Monty Leftism. But they are (nonetheless) very different, and actually quite opposed. Despite all the obvious motives to understand this, people trapped within "worldview arguments" have trouble differentiating between blue-on-blue incidents and Broken Arrow scenarios. Part of what makes our Kali Yuga times so difficult is precisely that no one really knows, in the fog of metaphysical war, what the Hell is going on out there. Because this is simply reflecting the state of their inner man.
     Meanwhile, the Kingdom of God moves in the actual cosmos, not necessarily bound by what is "dreamt of in your philosophies". Western rational theology has neglected the immanent and the intuitive and the mystical side of the Divine, and subordinated this to the "enlightened and rational" pieties of the day. These Leftist Mega-Fallacies (like Mega Fauna and Flora) are so big they are hard to see; for example, the Non-Central Fallacy is constantly combined with Idolus Triba (or "rape by the Zeitgeist") gets you Antifa and the Leftist Witch Hunt we are witnessing forming up around us, everywhere, today. 
     All of this is kindergartener stuff, child's play, fighting with mud pies (at best). A colossal waste of human time and energy. And it misses what is most important about what is really going on in the Modern World - Man is running very far behind the Cosmic Time, and we need to catch up.
     Thanks to Cologero Salvo at Gornahoor, we have an interesting quote from Rudolf Steiner: 
 There is in man an inclination, a proclivity, to know what may be called in a general sense, the Divine. The second inclination in him — that is, in the man of today — is to know the Christ. The third inclination in man is to know what is usually called the Spirit or also the Holy Spirit.
     This perfectly encapsulates the challenge of modern Times, which stem from being downstream of the Incarnation.Although representing the middle term, the Incarnation actualizes and energizes (rooting and  fermenting the energies of the Divine within human history, perception, and experience. God reparsed the ancient Narrative through the living tongues of flame on Pentecost, thanks to the Incarnation. 
     We will examine more implications of this in Part II. Suffice it to note that, when one is not in synchronization with God's "deep time", or "cosmological-ecological Time", the power of the Logos operative in Creation begins to appear as The Red Right Hand of God, compelling, coercing, dictating to man with necessities and through privations. Thus, the Left is continually obsessed with rooting this out, because the spiritual experience is one of waste and acedia. And they will only make it worse. In order to have peace, leave the Left Behind. And develop these inner tendencies which Steiner talks about, operative in the deep recesses of man's being, to bring man into sync with God's good and gracious timing.When this happens, Necessity becomes Freedom: the Logos becomes, not the Red Right Hand, but the beating heart of God's numinous Love for Creation. Christianity is utterly antithetical in spiritual actuality from anything which is compromised by Leftism, even the "modern Right". Anything else will leave us as "damned devils" who believe, but tremble.