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.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Support Your Local Dollar Despot

     It is no longer possible to use words like "capitalism" and "socialism" in a derogatory manner - nobody knows what the most precise definition is, and can't be bothered to clear that up anyway. Instead, the word oligarchy is more promising. Even that adjectival noun doesn't do America justice. What we have is plutocracy. Aristotle defined aristocracy as rule by the better few, while oligarchy would simply be rule by the few: the unjust form of aristocracy. If aristocracy (as embodied most of all in the ancien regime in France) fell because of the revolt among the many in the "Folk" or Volk, our republic today is failing because of the revolt of the "many" elites against the remaining healthy "many". The elites are using "majority-minorities" to bludgeon their populist political opponents, who (barely) can still constitute the "Many". If one weighs the NAACP, SPLC, the ACLU and all of the many arms of the liberal elite associations, its very numbers and sophistication amplifies its power to the point of constituting a rival "Many", and gives them control over Media, Education, Government, Entertainment, and (now) most of the main-line Churches.
     In other words, the Western world has entered a downward spiral of degeneration in which each group launches revolutions in mores and laws against the more conservative elements in the other groups. There is no longer a "commonwealth". The main issue here is not class or social justice, but Justice. Neither is the issue which class or caste should rule. The issue is whether the American people can secure just rule by any group or person. Monarchy having been excluded from the outset, America had left to choose between the natural aristoi or the body of commoners. This dynamic played itself out (for instance) in the struggle of Jackson against the old parties and entrenched leadership.
     However, the disappearance of Christianity as a cultural force has opened up more possibilities. Instead of being ruled by (relatively) sound and sane natural aristocrats or populist leaders at the head of a (relatively) normal movement, we are now confronted with the proletariat, the lumpen-proleteriat, the huddled mobs and masses, and actual dissidents who range from the bizarre and macabre to the suddenly-weirdly-possible (if current population trends continue). These forces exist in any society, but are normally held in check by just and sound rule or statecraft; the fact that they are no longer creeping when out in the open means that they sense their time is nigh.
     The new leaders which have emerged to manage these possibilities are either demagogues or plutocrats. Donald Trump is arguably both, while Hillary was certainly both, but in much cleverer disguise. The human mind desperately wants to think in terms of simplistic binaries (eg., Us vs. the 1%), but as the bottom drops out of what was left of once-great America, a multitude of insane options present themselves. John Howard Kunstler argues that America will eventually accept "corn-pone Nazis" if that means it can keep Suburbia. The Left apparently actually believes we are in danger of fascism coming to power, and they are pioneering fascistic methods on our streets in order to prevent Fascism with a capital F (you have to destroy the village in order to save it). This despite the fact that George Orwell already noted long ago that the word has lost any objective meaning. Corn-pone fascism comes in a leftist dipping sauce and spices if that's your poison.
     Why is it, that year after year, America's debt goes up and up, living arrangements seem more temporary, life feels more hectic, and the whole nation feels like a moonscape settlement in a dystopian science fiction novel? Because America no longer has any morals or even mores left. Carthage, too, once the world's greatest trading empire, possibly possessing ships that were seaworthy to cross the Atlantic, believed that money alone could defeat and rule the rest of the world, and seemed invincible. The British Empire itself went broke trying to keep its coffers ringing with tribute from around the globe. The love of money is the root of all evil. And America loves money. Not just a lot, but almost the exclusion of everything else. Money is the only language degraded intellects can parse.
     In America, the dollar is King - "The business of America is business.". We will not get Russian oligarchs, at least not yet. We will get the "soft" version of a melting-pot mob presided over by gluttonous plutocrats, all squabbling over the enormous carcass of what was once the wealthiest nation on earth. This is because as times worsen, people turn to what they know and understand, something simply, something denominated in binary Ones and Zeros - the Almighty Dollar. If illegal immigration pays for Tyson and the rich and Democratic hereditary legacy-bureaucrats, then illegal immigration we will get. If pollution and drug trafficking generate revenue streams, then we will get mountains of waste dumps, dirty lakes, and plenty of cheap heroin and meth. America has been schooled, almost from infancy, to value the "main chance". Even the Civil Rights Era could not escape this legacy, keeping their "eyes on the prize", which was access to all the power, glitz, and money afforded by inroads made into "white America". North America has become the center of a global banking Empire which wants to wrap tentacles around the entire globe, until the world is flat again, with no walls or borders.
     The poor don't know any better, and generally can be halfway forgiven for not being able to overcome their cupidity and ignorance, but their number is swelling by the day, and in a "Democracy", numbers matter. They are also engaging in inexcusable violence and shameful displays of hatred and stupidity. And "poor" is a relative term - financially, they still enjoy enviable slices of the Imperial Pie, compared to global counterparts. Their greatest poverty is primarily in cultural capital, like mores and traditions, and they give away what little they have to embrace anyone who is willing to lie to them.
     I am not sure what excuse the rich would use for their short-sighted idiocy in allowing this trend to gain ground, or even adding accelerants to the mixture in the form of Third World immigration, but they will live to regret it. The middle class is shrinking from both sides, either selling out as middle managers for the bozos who are masterminding one of Dante's circles in hell, or else falling abjectly into the seething mass below them. The ones that are left are woefully short more on brains than actual virile manpower, and that is not good either. The middle class still thinks America Can Be Made Great Again, if we just return to 1950s nationalism, or something close to it. My sympathies, but not loyalties, are with them. At least they still remember a time in which ordinary Americans had more in common with each other than not. Their instincts are good and right, but they are hopelessly outclassed by the enormitude of the problems confronting this country, which are not primarily of their design, and will not submit to their belated objections in the form of The Donald. The Donald cannot fix America, even if he knew how.
     Everyone in America wants to get rich quick, even the lumpen-proleteriat, who faithfully and religiously purchase lottery tickets each week or sue their local Walmart because the floors were too slick for their flip-flops. Minorities can barely wait to have their own local power structures, replete with Byzantine levels of corruption and greed. The Italians and Irish gave us our first really gigantic big city political machines, and other minority groups will continue this time-hallowed conservative tradition of money and power being marks of God's divine election in the promised land of the kingdom of God. But maybe this was there from the start, implicit in industrial civilization, as pioneered by the Puritans. Certainly the Abolitionist movement can be viewed as a very effective version of a political machine, if judged by the attainment of goals and aims. Even the Allies during WW2 engaged in effective juggernaut propaganda, all in the name of Freedom, Justice, and (above all) the Dollar.
     It's hard to tell where it all started anymore, but start it did. Western Civilization is (today) for the most part concerned with making money.This means that, in the end, money is all we will have left, and that in name only, because money is not the same as economic wealth or resilience, let alone culture or civilization. We will have to buy everything, including loyalty and the air we breath, and we burn worthless derivative bundles in our potbelly stoves to keep warm during the winters. American resourcefulness, hard work, and tech-savvy go a long way, especially when the world is awash in cheap oil. But macro and micro-economics are not enough to prevent the human tragedy we see unfolding. Man doesn't wish to, and indeed cannot even if he did, live in a world in which he is just another brick in the wall.
     Our global elites have tried to create this world, imagined in countless fantasies, of one unified mankind living in the peace and harmony of an economic paradise. But they tried to build it with manipulation, lies, and promises printed on paper. America is being run like a gigantic corporation, which wishes to take over, or at least control, all the other little corporations it created in its own image in the name of Democracy. Instead of a light on a shining hill, we would be the capital city of a New World Order. God may intend something like this to happen, but it will be built by the Spirit, with the wisdom and power of God, and not according to the dictates of a secular humanism run rampant on cheap (and now declining) fossil fuels.
     God's plan involves re-integrating Time (including Past-Present-Future) in one narrative, and dividing (and thus stabilizing) Space into many diversities which are united in the deeper love of the Spirit, the "shields of the earth". Our rulers want to fragment time (by splitting everything into nanoseconds and re-inventing natural law as if the past could be ignored and the future averted), and crushing space into one uniform order. This way lies the cindery plains of hell. The very people who are most self-righteously pushing for the will of a God they no longer believe in, are doing the most to ruin any chance that this generation can ever begin to glimpse something of the beauty and majesty of God. This is the definition of hypocrisy, Phariseeism, and tyrannically unjust social orders.
 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
     This is the legacy of 1789. It is time to go backwards, in order to go forward again. For those who wish to, here is a great place to start, at Gornahoor. Failing that, or even in addition, you might need to start planting a Victory Garden.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Taboo and a Formulation of a Conservative Idealism

     The Left likes to portray itself as the party of ultimate freedom, of unbridled acceptance and tolerance, of final liberation. And certainly, if one's biggest fear is that you will die one day without every last chemical receptor in your brain and body being stimulated in Pavlovian fashion, it is conceivable that they make a modest point. Call it the "Left", or the "Progressives", or "Liberals", or whatever you like. The term itself is relatively unimportant, deriving from the seating of the radical Jacobins within the French National Assembly. A more accurate word might be Revolutionists. This term would allow us to differentiate between those who are accidentally "Left" (in the sense of being stuck within their milieu) and those who are deliberately and violently situated within the internally coherent and radioactive core of Leftism, for whom "nothing has been done unless we destroy everything" (Alfred Jarry). Those who head up this list are perfectly aware, intellectually, what they are doing (noetically, of course, they are even blinder than everyone else). But on the intellectual plane, they are perfectly and lucidly aware that they are playing fast and loose with the facts. They are fully aware that there is more than just cognitive dissonance in their methods. But an auto-tranquilizer of "it's all for the best" reconciles them to the hypocrisy and hatred and hunger for power that activates this pulsating neutron star of Leftism, which wanders through the void of the abyss. Leftism is the lie in the mouth of the Beast.
     A frequent question one comes across is, to what extent is "Rightism" any different from Leftism? Don't Rightists use the ends to justify means, too? Doesn't the Right rely on coercive methods? Is it not so that the Right is just as ideological, merely from a different spot in the spectrum? This small paper is a brief effort to differentiate between the two positions.
     First, "Rightism" is not the goal of a true conservative. His goal is to be "the opposite of a Revolution". That is, he is not reactionary or reactive in that sense (although reactionary or counter-revolutionary as a label can be more or less useful as a label). To the true conservative, it's not so much that the revolutionists are wrong, as that they do not matter and, in fact, represent a complete nullity. They don't exist. That is, everything that would necessitate so-called Revolution is essentially an illusion. Think of it as the political equivalent of Saint Augustine's dictum that evil does not have existence: evil is just privation of the Good. Thus, Revolution represents an extreme form of complexity, or Chaos. It is an "opportunity": stable societies do not require armies of SJWs and political commissars, bureaucrats and managers. For the Left, more revolution means more job security. By contrast, it is only in the Conservative State that Marx's goal of the state "withering away" has any chance of succeeding, as indeed it did to a huge degree in the libertarian USA, circa 1950. Thus, a Conservative doesn't so much stand for what is Right-Wing, as he attempts to transcend the dichotomy or binary thought which necessitated the invention of Left versus Right in the Jacobin political climate of 1789. His true nexus flows from Above.
     We might expand this to say that Conservatism's most important distinction is Above-Below, rather than "Left-Right". The Left moved the debate to Left-Right because they denied that there was a verticality at all. The danger of Conservatism is precisely in its refined ability to make this distinction, since degenerate Conservatism can sometimes (literally) confuse Below-Above. The first point to make is that the Left is already (by default) in the Below-Above position of confusion: by denying the Vertical, it ensures that it will sink to the lowest plane of existence, with zero transcendence. At that point, it's all sentimental claptrap and passionate self-delusion, combined with reductive materialism, in which it's more important to Seem than to Be. Thus, every minority is aggrieved and sacred, by virtue of merely being born. I call this the "Only Voltaire is Immortal" fallacy, a meta-fallacy the Left has invented. That is, the same arguments which were used against the sacred kings and monarchs, can now be applied to the "individuals" and "communities" and "minorities" which constitute the source of sacredness in government. The air is so thick with irony on this one that it begs an explanation!
     This brings us to the concept of the Taboo. Precisely because the Left claims that "the Right" is the party of the irrational and racist Taboo (of dead white European males), one should look under that rock for the truth (since the Left usually if not always projects onto others). In Conservative thought something is Taboo because it is presupposed that such things represent an upper and perhaps lower limit to individual human ability - that is, if one doesn't understand the reason for a rule, one should study it more and not act upon the rule until full comprehension is reached. Often full comprehension resolves the dilemma. This is expressed in Burke's old dictum: "Never, without the strongest necessity, disturb that which is at rest". Another maxim Conservatives employ is "don't tear down the old house, until the new one is finished". Thus, Conservatives tend to reject Leftism simply for prudential and pragmatic reasons alone. For instance, there is the thought of "not killing the goose that laid the golden egg" - homogeneous societies tend to be stable ones. White Europe gave us the triangle of London-Paris-Berlin, which generated modern Science. Do we want to obliterate the formula through sorcerer-apprentice experimentation? Leftists tend to think that these are dull Polonius-like platitudes. What is not understood sufficiently is that there is an actual Idea and Critical Theory which lies behind these Taboos. We tend to reject Leftist for pragmatic reasons, but when we stop to think about, we have to reject it utterly for purely intellectual reasons.
     This is because one cannot be Taboo-free. The Left has constructed an entire panoply of new Taboos. The old Taboos had the air of a comfortable ghost, and perhaps a mystery about them. This was because it was recognized that a certain amount of Law and Order had to exist in order for the good Life to be rendered possible.
1First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered on behalf of all men 2for kings and all those in authority, so that we may lead tranquil and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity. 3This is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior...I Timothy 2:2
From this perspective, Leftism doesn't represent the generation of a new order of Myth, or a mere modality change (in the sense of "everything changes, but stays the same"), but actual Chaos or Entropy - a privation of possibilities, and reduction to a cold energy state. This might seem counter-intuitive - doesn't the Left radiate a lot of Energy? Certainly it does - like a roaring Blaze that will soon burn itself up and out, and to no purpose. It is progressing from the high-energy state of a conservative old Order, to the low energy state of Degeneration, through the radiant convective forces of Revolution.
    Conservatism (then) strives to eventually understand and control its own Taboos. This is stable-energy State. The Taboo moves from it's caricature (in Leftism) towards Mystery, resolving into the higher energy state of what we might call stable equilibrium at a higher level shell of energy. All Conservatives society exhibit this trend. If they do not become trapped and confused and temporarily descend downwards on the Above-Below continuum, they move or oscillate gently along the vertical equilibrium. Thus, the Old South (for instance) had a budding anti-Slave movement, until the South became needlessly rigid and defensive, when under attack by Abolitionism. In an even worse sense, Germany illustrated a large move down the vertical pole.
     This cycle is usually broken by Revolution. In fact, revolutionary forces disturbed steady-state oscillation of both the above examples (in the case of the Old South, it created a new kind of white nationalism out of the local organic counties and states of the South). The creation of new (and arbitrary) Taboos require actual mystification: Is there anyone who can explain why Antifa is destroying the village in order to save it? The Nazis (in this example) essentially placed technology at the service of nationalism, including the Leftist technologies of revolution and agitation. Germany began moving down the vertical pole, becoming a failed conservative state (down is up). Electrified by the radiant energies of Leftism, which to some degree interrupted and confused attempts to hold the equilibrium, the conservative state slid into perhaps the penultimate modern example of political tragedy.
     The Conservative response to all of this is that there are two necessary conditions of good government: first, Verticality has to be acknowledged. Thus, Leftism prima facie disqualifies itself, and deliberately so: their desire to destroy old Taboos is merely a brand new Taboo (old Taboos MUST be destroyed!) masquerading as Reason. This effectively ensures that one cannot pass through the Taboo state into Mystery, progressing into steady-State higher energy shell (which allows accumulation and possible movement to even higher states). One wastes colossal amounts of time and energy thrashing about, dispersing energy, and falling to lower levels. This is what one could expect given the Ideology of 1789.
     One does not try to create Taboos - Taboos represent man's mortality and privation: in a word, they are the marks of the presence of Evil. But they are not Evil themselves, for they perform (and conserve) a function. One overcomes them spiritually. This allows real Progress, in the only possible sense. So the second condition of good government is Purity. That is, one has to maintain enough tension to hold steady-state and avoid a downward slide, mistaking Down for Up, or forgetting one's relative position on the hierarchy. One also has to avoid the temptation of trying to mingle revolutionary methods with conservative goals. The important distinction is Up-Down, not Left and Right - that way lies binary thought, with consequent self-justification. To combat the Left, we have to go beyond Right-Left (itself a new Taboo generated by Revolution).
     Conservatism (then) is unpopular both because it admits that Man is Not God, and also, that he must become One with God. These are both unpopular truths. One presupposes Verticality, the other sets the preconditions for moving up rather than down.
     But there is one more critical and theoretical insight to be posited. Conservatism is on the side of both God and the devil (The Up-Down). This is the final subtle realization, and doesn't the Left scream this at every turn? Whereas Revolution and Leftism almost inherently depend upon the demonization of both Spirituality and Morality (by any means necessary), because they require a morally self-righteous Crusade, Conservative Thought does not attempt to deny that both the Demi-Urge and the Devil have a place within the hierarchical Order, nor that God is its summum bonum. That is, it is not committed to a Gnostic obsession or illusion that man is endlessly plastic, and that Nature as such is evil. Nature is evil when it is denied the benefits of its Taboos, which exist as necessaries to create the possibility of transcendence and individual Good. Thus, the Left's rage against Taboos-as-such is both hypocritical and also an enormous loss of energy which ought to be conserved. This leads to all sorts of practical critiques of the Left, eg., To what extent has the Cost of "Progress" been too high for the "Return on Investment"?, etc., which are perfectly valid in their own sphere, but are not the main issue.
     One can certainly quibble that Equality of Result is simply too big of a goal to be micro-managed by the State, or question whether the costs are inherently too high, etc., etc. But these are lower-plane disagreements, valid within their own sphere only. Conservatism (unlike Leftism) does not deny the place of either the Devil, the Flesh, or the World. In fact, it fully acknowledges them, and insists on putting them "in their place" in the hierarchy: "There is a time for war, and a time for peace...." It is based not on Gnostic desires to obliterate Nature, but rather a belief that the way forward is for those who possess Gnosis (as opposed to ideological pistis or doxa/dogma) ought to rule - the Just should be King.
     That this is an Ideal, rather than a perfect reality, is of course granted ("The perfect is the enemy of the good" - Russian proverb). If it was instantly and totally achievable now, it would not be Ideal, and this would betray the second principle of Purity. Purity must always be maintained, because without it, the tension slackens and a Conservative State can easily go from the Weimar Republic into the hands of a Chancellor who wants to "save" Germany from the Jews. This Purity, however, can only be truly Vertical or Transcendental - that is, it is beyond or sourced beyond, politics. It flows through politics (Liberalism imagines that it should not, for it is a lower order Leftist heresy), but it cannot originate in politics. The only way to maintain purity is to ruthlessly agree with your enemy against you, lest he take you before the judge. That is to say, the South should have freed the slaves first, and then fired on Fort Sumter. One cannot embrace the tactics of Revolution. The patchwork of variegated English and Brittanic ordered liberty in the Old South would have been destroyed by either the success or the failure of the Confederacy: the way to defend the self-governing liberties of the Anglo-Saxon order(s) would have been to grant justice to the slaves, and then secure a variety-in-unity across the South. This is exactly what Europe failed to achieve as well, and the European Union only represents another compromise with Revolution and a slide down the vertical pole, to something worse than nationalism.
     The goal is an Ideal, but not the immediate or immanent grasp of that Ideal. Within that tension of Verticality, Purity, and full Hierarchy (even for Devil and Demi-Urge, so that no Absolute Crusades or Puritanism are allowed), the critical and theoretical perspective of Conservatism is infinitely subtle, much more so than Leftism, as it embraces both the horizontal and the vertical, and allows for a fully textured hierarchical world in which even the existence of that Great Arch-Conservative the Devil finds a place in the ontology of Beings constituting all Reality. This affirms the possibility of Evil which exists, but only as privation as Good. Thus, Revolution by itself can have no positive meaning, except as Entropy State, as denial of the mortal and not-entirely-plastic nature of Man, and also as sheer Hypocrisy and love of violence for the sake of that violence (Nihilism). It can have only relative value, and must be paid for in blood with full awareness of the dynamite inherent in it: the Devil is given his due, but no absolute Idealism is possible from the Leftward axis, because the Vertical doesn't exist, and also because all karmic debt has to be paid in kind, since Evil can only be spiritually transcended and overcome, rather than attacked head on.
     Thus, it is not enough to define what we "want" from the world: we have to be sure first of all that we are in contact with a real world in the first place, and that our wants are proportioned to reality. Then we have to weigh means and ends, etc. And in order to remain open to questioning and probing by the light of Wisdom, we cannot demonically assert dogma/doxa/ideology along the horizontal plane. "Good" cannot be defined as being reactive or non-hatred, non-racism, non-hierarchy, etc. This is true "reactionary" thinking, because it has no view of the Summum Bonum. Liberalism, Progressivism, Leftism, and Revolutionism do not accept or even admit the possibility of there being a transcendental Good.
     To them, this transcendence will always take the guise of being the Moral "Other", and wear the mask of Fascism/Racism. But this is projection, and shows that they fear what they are. True Order is the opposite of Revolution, Hatred, War, etc. For the only defense against what happened to Germany in 1938 is actually to embrace All that we can understand about the nature of reality, rather than opening ourselves to assymetrical compromises with Revolution/Entropy. Over time, this additive picture of Reality can expand to become more subtle, but we are at the early stages of understanding (for instance) Ponerology and how being Left is likely an eternal temptation with many masks. The "Right's" insistence on ritual, repetition is actually a way of keeping a flame burning with a certain tension which allows the radiant buildup and expanse of energy, of opposing the creep of Darkness. As usual, the Darkness doesn't understand at all, and creates new and futile Taboos to destroy perceived Taboos (or at least, Taboos which aren't being "overcome").
     At this point, Conservative Idealism has immensely more explanatory power than Leftism, in that it is capable of accounting for a wider range of fact, both vertical and horizontal, and a richer texture of nuances and subtleties, both from political and religious philosophy. Above all, the account it can give of Leftism is coherent and rich, whereas the opposite is incoherent and paltry. The Left has to scream Fascism at every moment, if they see something on their right hand side, no matter how close. This is preoccupation with the horizontal plane.
     As we have said, this is entirely a waste of time. Without Up-Down, there is no Left-Right (or Center). Up-Down doesn't annihilate the secular, but rather, perfects it. This is the unfinished business of the West, and the sooner we embrace Ordered Liberty (or Conservative Idealism) the sooner individuals can get back to the business of finding what is important in Life, instead of wasting time trying to survive Revolutions. Of course, this will also entail the rejection of much of what passes as "Right wing" today, and this can be the subject of another post.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Reforming the Reformation with Transcendental Calvinism


“As for Christianity in its less popular forms, it presents an aspect of the tragic doctrine of salvation, which to some extent preserves an echo of the ancient truth: the idea–pushed to extremes by Luther and Calvin—that man on earth stands at the crossroads between Salvation and eternal damnation. This point of view, if lived intensely and coherently, could create the conditions for liberation at the moment of death or in post-mortem states.”
Note 2, page 96, The Hermetic Tradition, Julius Evola

     What, if anything, remains of the meaning of Calvinism and Reformation theology, in the modern arena and world, after all these years? Gutted, as it were, by its own practitioners, whether hard-shell Baptists or so called emergent theologians, it has submitted basely to the wisdom, practice, and interpretation of the very world into which it had entered as a sharp and stunning rebuke. I have come across a few faithful Reformed men over the years, who sprang from the old stock, and can honestly say that had they ruled in the dark days of decision, things may have gone differently with the post-Puritanical West. Alas, modern Calvinism appears drawn to the secular world as a moth to the flame, and everywhere it has dominated, it has left behind a spiritual vacuum rapidly filled with atheism or liberalism, if not revolution.I wrote an older article about this, but it's been awhile. 
      Let us explore what may be done with the Reformation, even at this last gasp, the flickering flame of the dying West, before it succumbs to delusions of perfect earthlyutopia embodied in the Progressive Movement (Revolution). The Reformation began, not out of issues (which provided a mere pretext, and were ongoing) but a movement of the northern Germanic peoples. It was Luther's trip to Rome in 1511 which guaranteed that the Teutonic races would vomit up Catholicism and the Baroque.
The city, which he had greeted as holy, was a sink of iniquity; its very priests were openly infidel, and scoffed at the services they performed; the papal courtiers were men of the most shameless lives; he was accustomed to repeat the Italian proverb, “If there is a hell, Rome is built over it.” (T. M. Lindsay, Luther and the German Reformation (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1900), p. 44, cited on 6-16-2017
Convinced (as we are) that Luther had some fundamental misunderstandings about Catholic doctrine, it is still true to say that the Roman Catholic Latin Church had doubled down on its particular and exclusive heritage, neglecting to preserve a strong stream of spiritual influence capable of drawing in the lately converted Northern spheres of influence (the Prussians were heathens as late as the 13th century), not to mention becoming increasingly juridical and “exoteric” in its doctrines and practices, as witnessed by indulgences and the cult of relics. If someone in 1500 had been told that in thirty years, all of Europe would be in flames in a religious civil war, even the most sanguine might have had pause or the most melancholic laughed out loud.
       The story of Europe's nightmare descent is incredibly complex, and we refer the reader to such works as Charles Williams' The Descent of the Dove, for example, in defending the “sins” of the Catholic Church: “Some sins do bear their privilege on earth” (Philip the bastard, in Shakespeare's King John). Or perhaps The Stripping of the Altars, by Eamon Duffy, or anything written concerning the iconoclasm in the Low Countries, or Peter Brown's work on the cult of the saints, in order to gain a rational perspective on indulgences, popular Catholicism, and relics. Whether or not the popes killed the medieval world order, it was certainly in a lot of trouble when Luther came along, and there are no shortage of villains to blame: Francis Bacon, Duns Scotus or William of Ockham, Jean Buridan and Rene Descartes, Rousseau...the list could go on and on. Owen Barfield (and by extension Rudolf Steiner) in fact argue that the Reformation and the modern scientific revolution is a necessary step in the necessary de-sacralizing of the world, which (surprisingly), is destined for re-sacralization at the hands of a conscious spiritual elite (see the works of Boris Mouravieff, in Gnosis).
      This movement to despiritualize the universe and collapse it into a fideistic “Reformation” with an “Islamic” character of civilization was occuring as part of a broad upswelling of humanity's soul in Europe, even outside the Northern European perimeter, and involved general laws of a deep complexity and scope which can be observed (see Oswald Spenger or Toynbee) in other world-civilizations, such as the Magian civilization in Arabia or the ancient Chinese civilization also. To seek to blame one particular man or sect is futile and counter-productive. What we want to do is understand what was at work behind the field of force in history, and discern what to do next.
Although this will be quick and skimming, it is hoped the reader can follow up any rabbit trails deemed important to him or herself. To sum up, Jean Calvin placed all the responsibility and glory upon God alone (thus denying the theomorphic nature and mediatorial aspect of primordial man), while Luther's emphasis on faith tended to obscure the necessity for individual struggle and effort (also on the human side). It was not so much what they taught, as what they did not, and where the tendencies of what they did get right, would lead, at that historical moment. Together, however legitimate in spiritual truth, these two tendencies added up to placing man in a highly negative and disadvantageous position versus the new secular tendencies emerging, which tended to isolate and physicalize man to such a degree that the only kind of God conceivable was a rationalistic watch-maker operating as a first cause, a kind of absentee Deist Omnipotence who left Creation without Love, magic, or any active Providence. If God is restlessly ordering in some kind of abstract and almost dementia-like manner, every fact in the universe, then if everything is important, nothing is, because hierarchy is absent. If hierarchy and mediation (human, divine, or otherwise) is absent, then rationalism quickly fills the vacuum: a world of magic and dark gods is far more likely to be converted than a clockwork world which operates like a machine – men who sacrificed to Odin could believe in Baldur re-born, but men who conceive of the world as empty space and dead matter find no meaning in the Cross. A world with no magic and no centers of conscious in higher tutelary powers (see the epistle of Galatians) is not a world in which the Incarnate Logos can make any sense, except in some kind of diminishing private sense with no public relevance or spiritual power. Look around you to see how that went.
      The medieval world struggled (for instance) with witchcraft, and how to make sense out of it, because it believed in the subtle, non-physical universe. When you look at a flat medieval picture, you are (in a real sense) not looking at a child's drawing, but a spiritual portrait of how they actually experienced (and could not help but experience) the world around them. Those Books of Hours, the Book of Kells, the ancient manuscripts – all testify that medieval man felt at least, and sometimes actually saw, numinous power peering through the world at them. They felt it because they were more perceptive than we are, and had more of their higher emotional centers and even intellectual centers intact, no matter how undeveloped their lower intellectual centers may have been.
Luther himself used to pick up the crumbs of the Eucharist off the floor, because it was Christ's body. Even Jean Calvin touches upon theomorphism in his opening to the Institutes (would that he had remembered it!):
Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other.
     Calvin went on to all-too-easily solve this dilemma in favor of a very voluntaristic image of God Almighty, who did not move the stars and hearts through Omnipotent Love, but through sheer restless and arbitrary power. However, his instinct was correct: man is the microcosm of the universe. The universe itself, is man writ large. And if Christianity is even remotely true, the destiny of both are tied together through the first born of them all: Christ Jesus the Pantocrator.
He who is the image of the invisible God,
Firstborn before all creation,
because in Him all things were created —
things in heaven and things on earth,
things visible and invisible,
whether thrones or dominions,
whether principalities or powers —
they have all been created through Him and for Him
      We are living through the re-creation of the Cosmos, in Christ, and it matters how we think, what we think, and why we think. As Owen Barfield noted in his many writings, it makes a difference what images the poet and the artist or thinker conjures before his mind, and what thoughts we allow to root inside our head, since man is not merely the measure of all things in Christ, but has the power to share in re-making a new world after the image of the Logos, discerned in Love, through the power of the Holy Spirit, in this final Age.
      The Reformation, then, is what we make of it (provided we keep an eye on “the iron clad laws of history”). Will we allow a too-strict concern with rules and traditions of men to determine how we interpret Luther and Calvin, damning us to go down the road of secularization and finally nihilism, or will we (like bees) take the pollen from what they have to offer and make a honey to cure the wounds which idolators have caused in the world? John Milton once said “the Reformation must be Reformed”. How might one go about doing this?
      In the first place, there are a great many wonderful Reformational legacies, too numerous to name in detail: the practicing Protestant who is devout can no doubt name many of these. Just as important are the spiritual-theological threads we find among the Reformational faithful, for example in Hermann Dooyeweerd. He is by no means the only one (we could cite several “mystical” Protestant authors by specific passage, including William Law and Jacob Boehme), but interests us as a specifically theological interpreter of the “possibilities”.
      Dooyeweerd touches upon the very topic which interests us: that our imagination is a gateway to the stirrings of the Holy Spirit, and provide clues about our future spiritual destiny, which is rooted in a primordial Being and will return with what we harvested in the prime material plane of our own histories.
Dooyeweerd’s understanding of perception is one of his most astounding ways of overcoming dualism. He rejects the empirical and phenomenological assumptions of a dualism between an independent observing subject and an independent object. Our experience is not of independent things, but of “individuality structures” that depend on man for their full realization and individuality. And the process of perception is a subject-object relation that occurs within the modal aspects of temporal reality, in a nondual act of perception....Dooyeweerd’s ideas on imagination emphasize the importance of seeing and intuitively imaging God, self and cosmos in a different way. In Dooyeweerd’s words, when our heart is opened to the transcendent reality, we see things as they really are. The transcendent light of eternity then shines through, illuminating even the trivial in our lives. Our theory itself becomes an act of worship, where we ascend from sphere to sphere, until we are left in apophatic wonder. But along the way, we help to redeem the sparks of God within his creation. For if temporal reality fell because of humanity, it is only through redeemed humanity that the world will be redeemed. Our imagination is an act that proceeds from out of our supratemporal selfhood. It is expressed within time, both within the temporal functions of our body or mantle of functions, and in the world outside of our body. We are simultaneously supratemporal and temporal beings. There is therefore a need to relate our supratemporal selfhood to our temporal functions. This relation between inner and outer is given by our intuition, both (pre-theoretical and theoretical). Imagination is an inner, intentional act, in which we form images. Our imagination is more than just fantasy, disconnected to reality. Rather , in imagination, we seek the “figure” within temporal reality. This is an anticipation of what reality may become, but which is presently only a potential reality. In finding the figure within reality, and in realizing it, we form history and fulfill the reality of temporal structures.” Accessed 6-15-2017
      If I am reading Van Friesen on Dooyeweerd correctly, our intuition, specifically our imagination, is a potential higher link to higher emotional centers, which whisper to us of what the world-to-come is, and invite our participation. To use Charles William's language, it speaks to us of how we may be privileged to begin to “co-inhere” in the Co-Inherence web that already exists, established through the Love of the Absolute, expressed in the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity.
So that this is the very project which the Inklings (Lewis, Barfield, Williams, Tolkien) had engaged in: making a sub-creation out of the material world, which would be “baptized” and help to lead modern man back to the unutterable and quiet and homely mysteries of “the deeper Law”. It is the “pearl” of great price, spun inside the oyster shell of our short time here.
      Instead of seeing ourselves at odds with Rome and Constantinople, faithful Protestants should joyfully insist on hanging on to what they have gathered in their “fall” from grace, and re-uniting it with the fullness of the glory of God. This, after all, is exactly the boat we are all in since the fall from grace in Adam & Eve anyway.
      I propose a new term for an old movement in the Faith: Transcendental Calvinism.
      To return to the quote that introduced the essay, we will note that Calvinism, rightly understood, clears the ground for a re-valuation of man's being in light of God's free choice and high calling, which is to summon knights and their ladies from the dead bones and stones of the world, in free grace, surely, but also in all possible help and aid, prevenient or ex opere operato or otherwise, to create and restore a Free Will in man that was once there, in the Beginning. Calvinism, if embraced existentially, rather than aesthetically or ontologically, will burn down the weeds in the garden of the heart, and make things ready for the rain. Calvinism is a kind of short hand, which is true as a short hand, and therefore, quite readily, as an existential stance and response to its own temporary nihilism, which holds the believer in a kind of terrible but blessed tension and readiness, awaiting the legitimate return of the Lord, whether in the physical death and post-mortem state of the believer, or in this life, if spiritual sight should return in time. We believe that this is faithful to the intent, if not the letter, of the best of what Jean Calvin wrote. Thus we can define useful and true Calvinism as a kind of deliberately temporary Christian existentialism, designed to let the user function in a desacralized world for a period of time, provided that they are consciously seeking to phase out a fully literal Calvinism by (this is important) fleshing out what is inherently true in Calvinism at a literal level. 
      Dooyeweerd also advocates (in his theological writings, in which he developed Kuyper's idea of sphere sovereignty) a kind of spiritual “multiplicity in unity”. This is consistent with a perichoretic understanding of what the inner meaning of the Trinity's Love is. Although Dooyeweerd applied this to different “spheres” of law (eg., family, church, local community), we can put our point in his language and terms: God's grace and free sovereignty does not destroy man's sphere, but rather perfects it (Dooyeweerd would not, in fairness, acquiesce entirely to this, as he would regard the analogy as misplaced and medieval, but whether he recognizes it or not, it is the same analogy). Even the Westminster Confession confesses that God as first cause establishes, rather than destroying, the secondary cause of man's free will (this, of course, is the same medieval “Grace perfects Nature” analogy which Dooyeweerd rejects or thinks he rejects in a different context, but Dooyeweerd can be forgiven for believing that post WWII Holland would continue to have the sphere-sovereignty of its Christian bones, rather than succumbing to the Enlightenment's monadism of One Secular World). God's sphere of influence at the higher level is mediated through to us in a web of co-inherences, which (frankly) it is possible only to delineate in general outline or possibility, as they are actually experienced, or known theologically through the repository of the Church's doctrine and speculative “imaginings”. This web begins and ends in Christ Jesus, of whom not all the books in the cosmos (as Saint John put it), could hold all that could (and will) be written.
      God and man are polar beings, of a special sort. God is the “Self Beyond the Self” (contra Eastern mysticism). The sovereignty of a God who moves (as Dante said) the stars with Love does not destroy the free will of man's heart, who is eternally allured and tempted into following the calling to join freely with Love in re-creating the fallen Universe. Since man in his fallen state is immeasurably distant from that Love (in a sense), and yet still united with it, he finds himself existentially riven. This Anfechtung is precisely what Luther described psychologically in his legitimate experience of saving faith, and what Calvin is at pains to defend in the concept of “God alone is Great” (as Islamic as this may sound).
       It goes without saying that we can naturally and rightly embrace Luther and Calvin's great gifts to the Church, while throwing far away from us their tendencies and other opinions, such as the denial of the sacredness of the world, the reality of sacred and high magic, their political views (which tend towards Republicanism or democracy), their individualism and stubbornness, or heresies which crop into their polemics. There is still much to be learned from the magisterial Reformers, for we have fallen a long way down since then. God's high transcendent power and will, acting towards the Church in the gift of saving faith, alongside that of the magical and liturgical reality of the natural world, and a host of other ancient teachings from the Middle Ages besides, are all very real and (therefore) necessary to our time and place. What has been revealed, found to be true, bears good fruit, and is beautiful, is so for a reason.
      What does it matter if certain spiritual practices appear irreconciliable within a modern mindset? If they are True, then that is enough, and a way must be found to bring them together in a fruitful spirituality which can overcome the modern spirit of the Times. No one has to learn everything, except charity, which covers everything. Indeed, nothing less than all the gifts of the holy Church will aid us in the fight (eternal it would seem) against the wiles of the Enemy, who is adept (as Luther would say) at pressing upon every side, particularly that one which is most advantageous to our loss. God is free and all the glory is His, but man must make use of what he can, with the mind of Christ, to stretch out that one hand or take that first step. For some, this will involve a very different path than for others, but the center holds: it always holds, and we will find ourselves together again, if we each slay the enemy in front of us, our false self, which holds us back from a world that is yearning to go with us to our immortal and deathless God for redemption.
      Transcendental Calvinism would be temporary – and being so, it would live forever, for it would be one very important chapter in the re-unification of the suffering Church, and that final point, upon the holy mountain, where all those who are capable of standing in these dark days, would stand together, a motley crew, to be sure, by human reckoning, but in God's wisdom, just the band of brothers to overcome the world. A transcendental Calvinist confesses that, just as God's choice is free, so is His choice of means, be they icons, saints, prayers to the dead, high magic, philosophy, meditation, or whatever skillful means (upaya) leads to good fruit (judge a tree by its fruit, ya'll). The very insistence on God's sovereignty, election, and grace would guarantee a clean conscience and clear the air for the employment of what means lie at hand for the reconquest of Paradise. It is precisely in the recognition that Non Nobis, Domine (not unto us) be the glory, that man would gain a clean and unseared conscience to reclaim all the ancient techniques of re-imagining and re-creating the world, which would be judged solely upon their fruit, rather than upon the Protestant Reformers somewhat skewed and polemical “takes” on practices from the Middle Ages which they could not possibly appreciate or understand at the time that they delivered their doxa (opinions).
      This would help lead to a re-unified Church and to gnosis (knowledge), rather than dogmatics. And Gnosis is the only thing that will save the Church which our grandchildren will inherit, in an impoverished but still very dominant secular world which reduces everything to dead matter, empty space, and the rule of ones and zeros through the power of Money. All around us, the ancient practices and teachings of the Church are asphyixiated in the modern air. Faith (pistis) only makes sense in a sacramental universe, and the universe, precisely because man is sacramental, increasingly resembles a gigantic hologram dominated purely by physical causes and effects. Secular thinking creates a more secular world, in the sense of a legitimate illusion (maya), which must be overcome. And nothing but God and His deathless Love can uphold it against the forces which the modern world has unleashed. But with this, we can begin to re-imagine the World, as God first thought it, and even (perhaps) with a little bit of ourselves in the corner of the painting.