Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Many of these young financiers dreamed of leaving Ukraine. So did many of the students I met at a university. There were three themes they repeated. First, they wanted an independent Ukraine. Second, they wanted it to become part of the European Union. Third, they wanted to leave Ukraine and live their lives elsewhere. It struck me how little connection there was between their national hopes and their personal hopes. They were running on two different tracks. In the end, it boiled down to this: It takes generations to build a nation, and the early generations toil and suffer for what comes later. That is a bitter pill to swallow when you have the option of going elsewhere and living well for yourself now. The tension in Ukraine, at least among the European-oriented, appears to be between building Ukraine and building their own lives."

Read more: Geopolitical Journey, Part 6: Ukraine | STRATFOR

This disconnect, or lack of integration, or split in modern living & persons is symptomatic of something much more frightening. People want Utopia, but are not willing (themselves) to sacrifice even an iota to make something better for someone else. But this was the entire basis of "civilization", not merely as understood during the Dark Ages or the Christian Era, but even in ancient Rome or Greece. He who died freely for his fellows was the hero, and the State modeled itself after him. Today, we laugh & call such sacrifice stupidity.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

remit novarum studiosus

"Composure, here characterized as well-formed spiritual attitude, glowing inwardly with passion, but outwardly hard as hammered steel, gloriously concealing the measureless, seems necessary to me. When I look at my state, that symbol of infinity and all that is finite, but to me an especially visible symbol for others, which I always carry in my heart, as the saints carry the name of Christ, then it appears completely strong and great and perfectly formed, yet teeming within with a multitude of movements and the colorful play of forces." Baron Evola

The most fearful consequence of the despotic government to which the South is now subjected, is not the plundering of our goods, nor the abridgment of privileges, nor the death of innocent men, but the degrading and debauching of the moral…sensibilities and principles of the helpless victims. The weapon of arbitrary rulers is physical force; the shield of its victims is usually evasion and duplicity. Again: few minds and consciences have that stable independence which remains erect and undebauched amidst the disappointments, anguish, and losses of defeat, and the desertion of numbers, and the obloquy of a lost cause. Hence it has usually been found, in the history of subjugated nations, that they receive at the hands of their conquerors this crowning woe—a depraved, cringing, and cowardly spirit.

The wisest, kindest, most patriotic thing which any man can do for his country, amidst such calamities, is to aid in preserving and reinstating the tottering principles of his countrymen; to teach them, while they give place to inexorable force, to abate nothing of righteous convictions and of self-respect. And in this work he is as really a benefactor of the conquerors as of the conquered. For thus he aids in preserving that precious seed of men, who are men of principle, and not of expediency; who alone (if any can) are able to reconstruct society, after the tumult of faction shall have spent its rage, upon the foundations of truth and justice.

The men at the North who have stood firmly aloof from the errors and crimes of this revolution, and the men at the South who have not been unmanned and debauched by defeat—these are the men whom Providence will call forth from their seclusion, when the fury of fanaticism shall have done its worst, to repair its mischiefs, and save America from chronic anarchy and barbarism; if, indeed, any rescue is designed for us."

RL Dabney

If you’re Jewish, it’s called History.
If you’re Asian, it’s called Culture.
If you’re African, it’s called Pride.
If you’re European, it’s called Racism.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A friend of mine once argued to me that the British Empire began the Modern Age. The French & Indian War, of course, was a crucial turning point. Now along comes this:

Bernard Bourdin, "The Theological-Political Origins of the Modern State: The Controversy between James I of England and Cardinal Bellarmine" (trans. Susan Pickford; Catholic University of America Press, November 2010):


Publisher's description: "Contemporary understanding of the modern state is so bound up with the development of liberal democracy that it may appear anachronistic to identify the origins of the modern state in a theological-political configuration of events. Yet in European history, the sovereignty of the people arose from the divine delegation of royal sovereignty to the temporal and spiritual orders – a theory that the Holy See could not countenance. The controversy that erupted between James I of England and Cardinal Bellarmine following the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 is a striking illustration of this political and ecclesiological dispute over who ultimately holds absolute sovereignty by divine right – the king or the pope? In this work, Bernard Bourdin clearly sets forth the political thought and theology of James I as an early intellectual foundation for the modern state. He offers a comprehensive examination of James's intense dispute with Bellarmine, a controversy that sent shock waves throughout Europe and had a lasting impact on the rise of the modern state."

Bernard Bourdin is Professor of Theology at the University of Metz, France.

Now, while I don't share many people's enthusiasm for upward-linear history (in a sort of "Time brings novelty & progress" sort of way), and in fact think that this idea reeks of Hell, I do concede that it is important to trace lineage, both psychosocial and intellectual. In this case, I do think that Modernity began to enter the picture in a rather new way when France and England concluded their centuries-long struggle for power.

Certainly, the soul ought to voyage, quest, & discover, but it is important to remember that what the New World explorers found was "themselves all over again". Which is what makes America so interesting. And, of course, the Norse had already done it. So novelty is really relative to what is absolute.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

More Summation

I want to address modern probable-ism a little more. Someone (who was otherwise very intelligent) on the Spengler Forum once argued that "we now know that communism was a bad idea, thanks to the experience of Russia". It seems to me that generally and virtually all modern arguments are justifications of ad hoc experimentation in this manner. It seems to me (on the contrary) that anyone with any worldly wisdom (let alone spiritual insight) could have quite easily anticipated what orgies and disaster and despair would ensue from going Red. In fact, there are a great many literary and historical records of those who "could see" predicting just that. We now (as the master Don Colacho remarks in 2287) have three generations of reaction: 1) Warnings (Burkhardt, de Tocqueville, Burke, Vinet, etc.) 2) predictions (Dostoevsky, Melville, Henry Adams, etc.) 3) Proofs (Ledhin, Solzhenitsyn, etc.). What else would he say of this argument?

"The left does not condemn violence until it hears it pounding on its door.

Escolios a un Texto Implícito: Selección, p. 371

Nothing is easier than to blame Russian history for the sins of Marxism.
Socialism continues to be the philosophy of shifting blame onto others.

Escolios a un Texto Implícito: Selección, p. 371"

Yes, the ad hoc experimentors have a foolish argument, and it is quite (even quintessentially) modern. So very up-to-date it doesn't recognize its own supremely Satanic heritage. Another person (the same Forum) once asked rhetorically (Leftists enjoy rhetorical questions) if people (then) should just resign themselves "to a life of toil & suffering as they wind down to the twilight of death and oblivion, resigning themselves to an afterlife alone"?

This is one of those false dichotomies that dying civilizations (in which Kali Yuga has been awakened) wallow in, fogs of chaos & confusion of their own making. The afterlife (here) is conceived as "after", literal, separate, unknowable, as if there was no connection with something intangible (which of course, the Past is also). There is only the immediate, sensate Now, the tangible visceral sights and sounds and smells of the sweat of the moment. In such environments, it is next to impossible for all but the most stalwart to get any sense of where they are at vertically in the Cosmos. Individualism and empiricism (here) have wreaked havoc with spiritual values and sensibilities, which often are not even suspected of any real merit or "value" (a contemptuous word).

Progress, you see, is not just a verb, but a noun with a capital letter, a God with a destiny, an avatar with an agenda. One need only point out, here, that it is not a question of "going back" to ancient Sparta, early America, Victorian gaslight England, puritan France, or any other past time. Only a "literal minded fool" would conceive or construe the argument to be about such, condemning all concern with the past as nostalgia (for the Leftist, this is the only possible mode of apprehending the past). The real question is "what is the nature of the (obvious) link between past, present, future"? This is a metaphysical way of asking, what is our duty? What is the nature of real piety? Or, conversely, why is the Left unable to establish meaningful intercourse with the Past? And what does this tell us about their ability to usher in the Future? They are unable to parse the invisible world, which is the only (and primal) ability to differentiate man from the beasts. And this is insulting to beasts, because even they obey their destinies.

The world (as Ron in Harry Potter says) is "mental". It is not linear or fundamentalist or literal. It is complex, a circular spiral which only moves upward if people collectively liberate their nous from the fetters of sensation. The terrible, simply, false, but clear idea of Progress is that the world automatically progresses on its own, like a machine, and that we can clearly see what it is doing, no matter how idiotic or ignorant or foolish or enchained with passions which we are. First came the war against Culture/Kultur, and now comes a war against civilization itself. It will end in blood.

This has become a common religious belief in the West. One might even say that it is heresy to deny it, or even to hold doubts. There is no mental courage in the idea that whatever is, is right. It is lazy cowardice of the first order. More and more, it is implicated in its own web of lies, lies that "all evil will be overt" or that tyranny comes only in robes of darkest black.

"Leftist attitudes toward justice (i.e., the insatiable moloch of "social justice") essentially result from a deformation of this pre-existing truth, as they enforce their idea of justice in fundamentally unjust ways -- i.e., racial quotas, income redistribution, attacks on private property, class warfare, etc. All forms of modern leftism are essentially dishonest appeals to truth, unjust appeals to justice, unfair appeals to fairness, coerced appeals to generosity, etc. Again, it's the container that is so destructive, since it damages even "good" content, i.e., charitable impulses.

Please note that the omnipotence of the fantasy -- the end -- justifies the means required to attain such a beautiful thing, which always requires the coercion (and implicit violence) of the state"

This must be destroyed. Voldemort will not come as an ethnic white, Inquisitorial, masculine, brooding, dark villain. Rather, in the modern world, he-who-must-not-be-named will come as a "Temple of Tolerance", with shades of pink. Satan will take the throne in the name of Freedom, Justice, Equality for all.

The one thing which could always be said for the most autocratic and brutal hierarchies of the past was that, no matter what their content (for instance, Ivan the Terrible), the Form was preserved inviolate. The container was more important than the perverted message. The image of God had been marred, but the prime icon was unbroken. It was possible to appeal to Justice in hierarchical societies through the sacrifice of the Hero, who came to save the weak and helpless. Boris Godunov, Michael, Joan of Arc, the heroes of Lepanto - these men stood for eternity, but they were also eternal.

In the new, tolerant societies, Justice is put upon the throne, but the form is gone. When inevitable decay ensues, it is impossible to restore the body. Until terrible effusions, undramatic and purely tragic, have epurated the disease from our blood, and the West against abandons materialism to reclaim the Imperium and the Telos. Not only of politics, but of destiny and the invisible worlds, which are numberless and prime.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Journey by the Soul

the ability "to grasp one part of reality brilliantly while being oblivious of the other things that human minds are capable of can be more opposed to the truth than the perceiving of all things equally dimly." - Bolton, traditionalist (france)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Homo Americanus & the Left Hand of Darkness

Homo Americanus is the precis of George Parkin Grant's work Technology & Empire, as well. Relativism plus technocracy = a terrifying Future.

Alex Kurtagic's book Mister is getting mixed reviews:
Dieses hervorragende Buch könnte man als einen Nachfolger von 1984 bezeichnen. George Orwell hat nicht ahnen können, was seit seinem Roman noch an teuflischen Dingen das Leben der Menschen in Europa zusätzlich vergiften und zu einem wahren Alptraum machen würde. Hierzu zählen vor allem die sog. "Multikulturelle Gesellschaft" und die "Politische Korrektheit". "Mister" ist ein gelebter Alptraum, der den Roman"helden" durch Chaos, Gewalt und eine verdeckte Diktatur führt. Bewußt überzeichnet der Verfasser alltägliche Situationen und Erlebnisse, um deutlich zu machen, wo der multikulturelle Zug hinfährt. Jeder erkennt hier Szenen, die er selbst schon erlebt hat - nur nicht in dieser Dichte und Dramatik. Das Buch ist ein Plädoyer für die Freiheit und die Selbstbestimmung der indigenen Europäer.

The golden thread connecting Past with Present Future is "race" in the Spenglerian sense, which includes culture. If one assumes a stable & homogeneous demographic (not in the abstract, but based on what is "now", not what we "want"), then the problems of the future become addressable. As TS Eliot says, it is not those problems we cannot solve (no civilization worth the name can solve all its problems) that will doom us, but perhaps the ones we choose not to see or acknowledge. The issue of Race could top the list here.

America is attempting to be "raceless". Suffice it to say that this is impossible. Exactly like the lie of democracy, something worse than "race" will come in the back door. We are already seeing what Dystopia will look like. Get used to unemployment, high prices for energy and food, and civil disorder. It is the price of "Progress". And it will climb. Even the Serbian Church is being impacted by the global pro-Western revolution. This revolution is not about Diversity, but about the Monolith & its Monotony, interspersed with wars and rumors of War. These people hate real differance.

Until What Was, Must Be. & Then it will not be the proud and the powerful who will thrive, but the little people and the lucky. Those who are still human, which is to say, those who have not been deracinated, and remember what it is like to have family, kind, race, nation, & brotherhood with all men, not under the banner of god-hood, but of creatureliness and its attendant and legitimate patterns, rhythms, and idolatries.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Summing "It All" Up

Aidan Hart's work
I know I've promised various thoughts on various subjects, so I mean to try to do some summing up...

Ancient stories about saints, in which they are purported to have repelled Loch Ness monsters, ordered ravens around, or predicted death sound strange to us, and I admit I have no absolute verification that such happened. The same technology which would render such events recordable also help to destroy the immediacy in relation to Nature & Super-Nature which might have set the magic chain of Being vibrating down Jacob's Ladder. So, does one pray to the saints or not? Does one ice-bathe & fast, or not?

I am not sure it is essentially mattering very much what we "believe" intellectually about all this. The heart accepts and ratifies what the mind finds dubious or hard to understand, perhaps preposterous.

Ancient customs, among which I have wandered this Long Lost Last Dark Night of My Soul's Museum, are often more confusing than the rumors which reach us as mere legends:
Here (for instance!) is how many theological/philosophical debates go ~

Understanding Plato

Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve (1831-1924), quoted by John A. Scott, "Gildersleeve the Teacher," Proceedings of the American Philological Association 56 (1925) xxii—xxviii (at xxiii):
Platonic scholars, with rare exceptions, are roughly to be divided into two classes, those who can understand the thought but not the Greek and those who can read the Greek but cannot understand the thought...
Cf. John Burnet (1863-1928), Humanism in Education, in Essays and Addresses (London: Chatto & Windus, 1929), p. 109:
I would not, however, give two straws for any one's opinion on the criticism or interpretation of Plato's text unless he can write tolerable Greek prose...

It is always dangerous to imitate genius, opines Richard Mitchell. Here, as in theology, we often find the Fathers and the Ancients in exact, diametric disagreement. Then, why bother? One is forced to read them, in order to accurately measure one's self against a perfect standard, for certainly our day can provide none. It is misshapen and disproportionate at best. The "Ideal" of God and His God-men may not exist (or have existed) but the music of their deeds reaches us through the ears of the soul, which hears better than it sees. In aspiration, we can reach for an ideal which should exist, and which can exist absolutely, for "God is the truth of all Illusions".

Agreed that Tradition itself is not intrinsically Perspicacious nor Holy nor One nor True. However, it is the inevitable and endless and necessary portal to any approach to these things we could possibly make. The imagination demonstrates the truth of this proposition to us, for if God does not exist, anything is permitted, and the imagination is oriented to the Good, and rebels against this Chaos. What quivers in the wind or the cold stars, it is increasingly felt, is the whisper of truth.

All truth must die and be reborn. If there is to be Unity, there must be a final Death, both for man and perhaps for the Cosmos. We see through the Mirror darkly. But, as we travail and climb, the mirror sometimes clears and we come to see more. To do more. To become more.

This is the only Christianity worth dying for.
For, as has been already said, every soul of man has in the way of nature beheld true being; this was the condition of her passing into the form of man. But all souls do not easily recall the things of the other world; they may have seen them for a short time only, or they may have been unfortunate in their earthly lot, and, having had their hearts turned to unrighteousness through some corrupting influence, they may have lost the memory of the holy things which once they saw. Few only retain an adequate remembrance of them; and they, when they behold here any image of that other world, are rapt in amazement; but they are ignorant of what this rapture means, because they do not clearly perceive. For there is no light of justice or temperance or any of the higher ideas which are precious to souls in the earthly copies of them: they are seen through a glass dimly; and there are few who, going to the images, behold in them the realities, and these only with difficulty. There was a time when with the rest of the happy band they saw beauty shining in brightness-we philosophers following in the train of Zeus, others in company with other gods; and then we beheld the beatific vision and were initiated into a mystery which may be truly called most blessed, celebrated by us in our state of innocence, before we had any experience of evils to come, when we were admitted to the sight of apparitions innocent and simple and calm and happy, which we beheld shining impure light, pure ourselves and not yet enshrined in that living tomb which we carry about, now that we are imprisoned in the body, like an oyster in his shell.


We are not "imprisoned in the body", but note that Saint Paul probably quoted this tradition, in "seeing through a glass darkly". Time to resurrect the Cambridge Platonists.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

When the Ekklesia Isn't Enough..

On June 19, 1875 the Catholics in the Gabela and Hrasno districts of lower Herzegovina, ignited by overtaxing, rebelled against the Ottoman authorities under the leadership of don Ivan Musić. An orthodox uprising (popularly known as Nevesinje gun or Невесињска пушка) started on July 9 around the village of Nevesinje in eastern Herzegovina. Subsequently, a general uprising of the entire Christian population in Bosnia and Herzegovina ensued. More than 150,000 people took refuge in Croatia. The Ottoman armed response came both from government troops under the recently appointed Bosnian governor and from the local landowners and their own irregular troops. The attempts to suppress the uprising proved unsuccessful.”


Btw, the mention made above about the hostility between Greek Klephts and Eastern Orthodox monks is a reminder that while religion was a fundamental factor in keeping the Greek national spirit alive, the Greek church hierarchy headquartered in Constantinople was nonetheless often dominated by very venal, servile collaborationist elements.

Sometimes, the "Church" needs assistance from outside its bourne.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rushdoony Debate

Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,— Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown, Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.

Rushdoony debate

Capitalism & Racism

“See, capitalism is not fundamentally racist—it can exploit racism for its purposes, but racism isn’t built into it. Capitalism basically wants people to be interchangeable cogs, and differences among them, such as on the basis of race, usually are not functional. I mean, they may be functional for a period, like if you want a super-exploited workforce or something, but those situations are kind of anomalous. Over the long term, you can expect capitalism to be anti-racist - just because it’s anti-human. And race is, in fact, a human characteristic - there’s no reason why it should be a negative characteristic, but it is a human characteristic. So therefore identifications based on race interfere with the basic ideal that people should be available just as consumers and producers, interchangeable cogs who will purchase all the junk that’s produced - that’s their ultimate function, and any other properties they might have are kind of irrelevant, and usually a nuisance.”

-Noam Chomsky

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Who says Philosophers Aren't Famous?

Slavoj is at it again.

Comments to follow...

But I will say this ~

Slavoj is busy pressing for a new universalism (one in which Lacan, Hegel, Marx, & Paul have equal time presenting their side of the four facets of truth).

Others are pointing out that medievalism is going to 'come back' (as if we weren't living in the Dark Ages already).

In the [medieval] model of civil society, most good and important things take place below the universal level of the state: the family, the arts, learning, and science; business enterprise and technological process. These are the work of individuals and groups, and the involvement of the state is remote and disengaged. It is the rule of law that screens out the state's insatiable aggressiveness and corruption and gives freedom to civil society below the level of the state. It so happens that the medieval world was one in which men and women worked out their destinies with little or no involvement of the state most of the time. A retromedieval world is one that has consciously turned back the welfare and regulatory state from impinging drastically upon, or even in totalitarian fashion swallowing up, society in the corrosive belly of the brackish public whale represented by its self-serving bureaucrats.... Retromedievalism means personal sentiment shaped and controlled by formal traditions as well as institutions and structures that recognized the privilege of private feeling and personal love.

Slavoj is the perfect antithesis to all of this. He is the prophet of globalization. The first thing we need to destroy (if Red Toryism or new medievalism has a chance)...never mind, it won't happen. A collapse will have to occur first. People think they want this, but they won't stand for it.

The only other possibility (that I see) is an alliance between Germany & Russia and a re-emergence of a Nordic Septentrion. This Empire might be amenable (culturally) to allowing the formation of organic, grassroots medievalism within the safety of its Autarchic vast spaces. North America is headed for managerial despotism at an astonishing rate. Our rulers will do a lot of things, be generally stifling and obstructive, and end up with a weak State. In the new world which is emerging as America declines, there will be opportunities to institute medieval political structures to save mankind from the fate of a universal world-state despotism.

Then, we will have new problems, but be better equipped to find answers to them.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Language is Racist

How far are they going to go in order to ensure the Modern Dystopia? Will racism continue to be ferreted out in new, unsuspected hidey-holes? It will have to be. Otherwise, it will be discredited. New burnings must occur. That is how it works.

“A powerful movement arose for a return to the older and simpler practice of instructing children in ‘the three Rs’ (reading, writing, and arithmetic) and leaving it at that. Anything else would come under some such heading as ‘learning’ or ‘erudition’, the encouragement of which was admittedly undesirable. The sponsors of the movement argued something like this: It is agreed on all hands that the primary purpose of education is to avert elitism by scotching discrimination. But it also has a subsidiary aim, namely the transmission of knowledge, which has been widely regarded as an end in itself. If we confine education to the three Rs, then on the one hand we achieve its primary purpose, while on the other we lean firmly on an educational principle which has been established as effective by many centuries of practice.

To this argument their opponents had two replies. First, it is not the case that instruction limited to the three Rs discourages elitism. Some children acquire them more easily and apply them more cleverly than others and in doing so become different from those others. Obsession with the three Rs belongs to the old twentieth-century ideal of equality of opportunity. Modern education aims at equality of result. Mastery of the three Rs may end in using language correctly enough to convey coherent meaning, and an ingrained habit of speaking and writing correctly is the deepest and most pernicious of all the hidden roots of class-distinction and racism. But secondly, and more importantly, that whole approach to the problem is out of date. It is based on a way of life that has long been declining and has now practically disappeared.”

Read Owen Barfield Night Operation.

Owen foresaw (as did others) that the machinery of the state would one day be used to produce Manchurian candidates for citizens, and would eventually realize that real thought was subversive.
It's not the "State" that's evil (in ideal form) but the "machinery" part. A real State, and a strong one, isn't necessarily huge. It is, however, powerful. But it isn't mechanistic. Because reality isn't a machine. Reality is a creature.

Sir Ken Robinson wonders why it (education) is failing. American kids are top of the world until the 3rd grade. Kids are creative & not afraid to be "wrong". "If you are not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original." We've standardized this in educations and companies. (This is due to "mechanization" of ALL THINGS, Sir Ken. Since you've moved from Stratford upon Avon to LA, you are obviously thinking this over. Please read Richard Mitchell for the complete frontal assault on "education".)

Rough Transcript ~
"We all have bodies. Why do educate progressively from the waist up, and then focus on the head? Why is dance not as important as mathematics? The whole purpose of education seems to be to produce university professors. They are not the penultimate form of human life. They tend to live in their heads. They are disembodied, in a kind of literal way. They look on their body as a form of transport for their heads. Their body is there to get them to meetings. Education came into being to help get to the top of the industrial system or to get people into the admission process of universities. In the next 30 years, more people (according to UNESCO) will be graduating with degrees than have graduated in recorded history. Degrees will mean nothing. It's a process of academic inflation, which is shifting beneath our feet. IQ is varied & dynamic, as well as interactive. Creativity comes about from the interaction between different disciplines. IQ is also distinct. Some people have to move to think. Human ecology is diverse. We'll have to rethink fundamental principles of what we are looking for.

So why is "education" or "educator" a bad word? The Brits never went in for Lowest Common Denominator education (they kept the grammar schools). Sir Ken ignores, unfortunately, many other factors, but he is on to something. Perhaps he smells the Gnosticism inherent and implicit in the Modern Dystopia. How can we rethink fundamental principles merely by placing hope in kinetically savvy children?

On the contrary (and in addition to his strong opening) modern problems exist (at least in this sense) because children are denied a life of the mind, as well as an identity of the body. The ancient ideal always had held them together. Think of the playing fields of Rugby, and the modern language classes, as well as the chapels, which built the British Empire. Oxford and Cambridge turned out Latin scholars to whom Arabic & Sanscrit & Indian subdialects would be child's play. Any biography of this period (I am thinking of John Buchan's memoirs) will give you a portrait of a time in which education was for the "whole man".

There was not separation of fact/value, and certainly no snobbery towards the past in the name of the "modern". Rather, Humans were taught to subject themselves to rigorous discipline and initiation into archane arts, which then proved remarkably useful (somehow) for modern mastery.

So Language is racist. It is discriminatory and prejudiced. By learning the exactly right word for the precise thing, man was freed from immersion in the sensate and enabled to understand the world he lived in. This created a problem for the revolutionary state, once it had assumed the position of being "in control" (after WWII). How do revolutionaries "conserve" their victory? Easy, they go from chaos to chaos, which they produce, necessitating more revolutions.

Here's Sir Ken Robinson trying again. This is better, actually, fairly good.
"The Enlightenment view of intelligence" however had little to do with a knowledge of the classics. This reminds me a little bit of Corelli Barnett's criticisms against older style education. I do agree that ADHD is a bogus diagnosis, particularly for boys, who are by nature so & should be. And I do agree that standardized testing and mechanized education is really, really bad (which C. Barnett thinks is good, as long as it's focused on technics).

Sir Ken is presenting this a la mode, but this is a "getting back to". There is nothing "modern" about a medieval style education. He is treating industrialist education (which manufactures batches of children with rubber stamps to support & be in its own image). Maybe the case is better made without dragging in older ways & mores, but effectively, that's what he is doing.

Defining "divergent thinking" is a lot like defining "forward thinking"; it occurs to one that one would just be happy to be able to think at all. The same thing for defining creativity "as having original ideas with value". What's a value? Is this different from a fact?

But I heartily agree that our education system destroys childhood. Seattle is now sending one year olds to kindergarten (the rich ones, anyway). And he is trying to something good. Why isn't he talking about the classical education movement? Or taking on the system like Richard Mitchell? Still, he has my support. Just not my imprimatur.

Education in America is a mind-job. Everyone knows it is. But no one does anything about it. Least of all the ones who could & should. You want to learn or think? You're on your own.

Quote of the day, From S. Sailer:
We're not talking about reality, you see, just perceptions of reality and perceptions of perceptions of reality."

Bloody brilliant.

Robin Hood Again!

Robin Hood whistles at the devil. I also enjoy the You Tube video, "Laugh Like a Man" with Errol Flynn...

What is it about Robin Hood? I mean in addition to the fact that he is a semi-mythical/semi-historical Celtic/Anglo-Saxon hero who everybody likes?

Friday, November 5, 2010

"Thinkers Who Didn't Buy IT in the First Place"

Millinerd's latest in full, & well worth it ~

Rather than bashing on the Enlightenment with a worn-out club, David Ritchie, in The Fullness of Knowing, surveys thinkers who didn't buy it in the first place (hat tip to Mars Hill audio). Ritchie's book came from his "growing recognition as a student of the eighteenth century that many of today's criticisms of the Enlightenment are really not all that original." Among his insights are that Edmund Burke anticipated the criticisms of Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, and that Isaac Watts deconstructed John Locke in verse.

Ritchie examines Jonathan Swift, the poets Christopher Smart and William Cowper, and more familiar, recent figures such as Polanyi and Gadamer. Of course, his is no exhaustive treatment, and Ritchie admits as much. Diogenes Allen was up to something similar when he examined Simone Weil, Kierkegaard, and Pascal in Three Outsiders, as, I imagine, were the contributors to Bakhtin and Religion, Alan Jacobs among them. Likewise, it has been suggested that C.H. Plotkine's study of Gerard Manley Hopkins, The Tenth Muse, shows that 19th century philology was far more complex that Foucault suggests in Les Mots et les Choses. We should make it a collective ambition to somehow extend this unenlightenment project further by discovering similar figures, if only to more fully inhabit our post-postmodern times. (Dibs on Jonathan Edwards and Pavel Florensky.)

At any rate, after his survey of the happily unenlightened , Ritchie concludes: "Somewhat to my surprise, nearly all of them emphasize an aesthetic element to knowledge, whether in the form of beauty or good taste, as opposed to the more narrowly rationalistic or empirical boundaries to Enlightenment epistemology."

I'm not so surprised.
Frankly, the reigning narrative is on its way out, as it had had to remain dependent on the suppression of such talk or subjects for generations now. Quodlibeta blog addressed some of this in his debunking of the myth of the "Flat Earthers" of the "Dark Ages", who (factually) never existed. What this spunky debunking of Heckular Sub-Mannism lacks is a vantage point. All it can do is dig in the "refuse heap" and pull out vintage brilliance.

Conservatism is still looking for its "missing link". Edwards is a place to start, at least for Americans. But not a place to end up. Fabius Maximus is dead on:
Despite that, many are hysterical about prospect of inflation or even hyperinflation. This confusion is typical of the confusion brought about by transitions. People run about with fire extinguishers while their house floods.
More speculation on Christianity's role in the collapse of Rome~

Nonetheless, when Roman central authority faltered in the fifth century it did so as never before. Earlier, in the third century, Rome had faced a similar crisis: civil war, foreign invasion, return of brigandage, and steep economic decline. Yet the Empire fought its way back and reasserted central authority. There was no such response in the fifth century. Instead, the crisis was met with a strange mixture of complacency and willful naiveté. We cannot understand this change without considering the ideology that now shaped the Roman worldview, i.e., all humans share the same potential for peaceful and submissive behavior. This was largely true among the pacified populations inside the Roman Empire. Outside, it was largely false. Tragically so.
More and more the Western nations are looking like a national suicide cult. Jonestown on a massive scale. Policies which can't possibly work (immigration, etc.) are being touted as "the answer). Policies that WOULD work (to stave off absolute disaster) aren't even considered (discrimination & "retrenchment"). Imagine if someone took a 60ml syringe, filled it with garbage, and offered to inject you first, assuring you that there "faith in human rights" would prevent anything going wrong with the dose. They'll take it later, after they've injected your children, also. Would you take the bet? This is what liberal civil religion is all about.
"The future will MAGICALLY be better, despite all appearances. Anything else proposed is pure nostalgia". Which, ironically, is their only category for the "past" & is projected on to political opponents.

So it's always impressive to read antique thinkers who prophesied exactly what would transpire, should "the modern Zeitgeist" be embraced in a nuptial hug. Where can we find more of these thinkers today? Are there any left alive? There may be a few...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I Love Scotland

My colleague Lisa Ruddick thinks she knows where: contemporary training in the humanities, she has argued, is soul-destroying because it requires students to dissociate themselves from their own aesthetic and moral responses to what they read. I think she's onto something. I know she's onto something...

Fencing Bear wonders how the humanities lost its soul? Meanwhile, Walter Russell Mead's thesis is touted by OneCosmos as the answer to the problem of "how then, should we live?" ~
The dynamic religion of the Anglo-American sphere has not just been able to coexist with, but thrive upon, the same sort of skepticism that is so corrosive and ultimately fatal to static religion. In other words, the Anglo-American style of religiosity was well-suited not just to usher in science, but to then assimilate it and endow it with a transcendent meaning it cannot otherwise possess...

I normally agree with virtually anything Robert Godwin has to say, but in this case, he's guilty of over-simplifying, at the very least. It's true that eternal change could become permanent eternality, in a sense, and I suppose in some sense it has to be true in that way. However, the Anglo-American "way" is not the only "progressive" model out there, let alone conceivable. If Schuon can't address some of these things, Evola & Guenon certainly could. And I certainly agree that without transcendence, you are "trapped in history & conditioned as a subject in your own narrative" like Hegel.

His reply is here.


I don't disagree with anything you said, except that history demonstrates that it is quite difficult to maintain any dynamic synthesis over time. Even if Guenon were correct about the necessary deterioration brought about by time -- and I reject that thesis entirely -- there is no virtue in simply surrendering to entropy. Nor do I think that we should in any way devalue the historical time into which we are born, which is as providential and valuable as any -- or, it is our duty to render it so.

11/03/2010 07:18:00 AM

Let us here what the Orthodox would say ~
Fr. Romanides has an overarching thesis: the purpose of the Church is to heal man of spiritual illness brought on by the Fall (this spiritual illness is characterized by the quest for happiness) and enable him to know God. His secondary thesis is that dogmatic controversies throughout the history of the Church are caused by those who do not understand the function of the Church as a spiritual hospital. Thus, the real difference with the West is their loss of this understanding which occurred because the Western ecclesiastical institutions were subverted by political forces into mere political institutions. As political institutions they became concerned with man's happiness instead of his glorification; with mere forgiveness of sins rather than purification.
There is no difficulty with this, save one ~ purification is taken to mean an abstention from Created Order & enjoyment of it to such a degree that one is not allowed to maintain the Empire. It is perhaps this, in which one can find the failure of Byzantium ~ not in its theology, but in its lack of civic order and recognition of any kind of natural law. Perhaps they will say that we Westerners have not the sight to see. But I say that we can look at St. Martin of Tours (as Joel Dietz has reminded me) and ask "why did you not serve in the Legion? Is Christ not a friend of centurions, as well?". Byzantium despite all its theological rectitude & purity, was unable to sustain an order of shared, public good. This, not invasion, brought about its collapse.

Meade may be far too much of the opposite tinge, yet surely no True Religion can ignore the Caesarian slant of the Bible. Purification cannot mean "taste not, touch not". Even Schmemman seems to have aimed at changing this part of Orthodoxy to a degree.