Haunted by the Emperor

Europe is haunted by the shadow of the Emperor. One senses his absence just as vividly as in former times one sensed his presence. Because the emptiness of the wound speaks, that which we miss knows how to make us sense it. ~ Valentin Tomberg, Meditations on the Tarot

At the apex of everything, as myth and limit, the ideal of the Chakravartin, “the King of the World”, the invisible emperor, whose strength is hidden, powerful, and unconditioned. ~ Julius Evola, Pagan Imperialism

The Gelasian Dyarchy

Rene Guenon wrote an essay describing how the traditional ordering of society was based on both Spiritual Authority and Temporal Power. Ananda Coomaraswamy followed that up with a similar essay describing its application in Indian political thinking. Probably less well known is that the notion of the two powers is firmly rooted also in the Western tradition. The following letter from Pope Gelasius I to Emperor Anastasius in 492 summarizes this teaching:

There are two, august Emperor, by which this world is chiefly ruled, namely, the sacred authority (auctoritas sacrata) of the priests and the royal power (regalis potestas). Of these, that of the priests is weightier, since they have to render an account for even the kings of men in the divine judgment. You are also aware, most clement son, that while you are permitted honorably to rule over human kind, yet in divine matters you bend your neck devotedly to the bishops and await from them the means of your salvation. In the reception and proper disposition of the heavenly sacraments you recognize that you should be subordinate rather than superior to the religious order, and that in these things you depend on their judgment rather than wish to bend them to your will.

If the ministers of religion, recognizing the supremacy granted you from heaven in matters affecting the public order, obey your laws, lest otherwise they might obstruct the course of secular affairs by irrelevant considerations, with what readiness should you not yield them obedience to whom is assigned the dispensing of the sacred mysteries of religion? Accordingly, just as there is no slight danger m the case of the priests if they refrain from speaking when the service of the divinity requires, so there is no little risk for those who disdain—which God forbid—when they should obey. And if it is fitting that the hearts of the faithful should submit to all priests in general who properly administer divine affairs, how much the more is obedience due to the bishop of that see which the Most High ordained to be above all others, and which is consequently dutifully honored by the devotion of the whole Church.

The obvious question, then, is why did not the Medieval civilization persist as long other Traditional societies such as ancient Egypt, China, India, or even Rome. Clearly, the personal element entered into it, since the Pope and the Emperor often intruded into each other’s domain. Then nationalism always threatened the spiritual unity and the political power of the Holy Roman Empire. That is why nationalism is anti-tradition.

Although Julius Evola was wildly incorrect in assuming the Emperor had dominion over the priests, his notion that the Emperor could also possess spiritual authority is worthy of consideration. Valentin Tomberg points out that the Pope and the Emperor are “posts”, not necessarily different individuals. Vladimir Solovyov tried to bring the idea of Tsar and High Priest back into Orthodoxy. However, while the role of the spiritual authority was explicitly defined, the limits of temporal power were not. For that, we can look at the reign of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, even though the unity he created did not survive his death.

The Viking Emperor

Frederick II was the descendant of the Normans who had invaded Sicily, although he also had German and Sicilian blood. His intelligence was huge, in stark contrast to the mediocre leaders of our own time. He was trained in scholastic and classical philosophy, but also studied Aristotle and the Arabic philosophers Avicenna and Averroes. Fluent in six languages, he was also a promoter of the arts, particularly poetry.

Frederick served as the model for Dante’s ideas on Monarchy. Thus, for him the State was as much part of the plan for salvation as was the Church. He also seems to have been the inspiration for Evola’s description of the Emperor. Frederick claimed that he was the only true individual in the State, since he is the One, not a part of another (like his subjects).

As King of Sicily, he sought to unify the nation; this required several elements:

  • community of blood
  • community of speech
  • community of festivals
  • community of history
  • unity of law

This created a certain tension since it encouraged a nascent nationalism. The Church was less interested in blood ties, since it was a community of believers. Latin was preferred to the vernacular, and Church feasts to local festivals. This had to be carefully balanced, since it was the Church that guaranteed the Emperor’s position as well as the Holy Roman Empire. This tension persists in our day.

The Rational Order

Frederick’s innovation was to base the State soundly on natural reason, so that it was not a matter of faith or belief. Hence it was purely natural, hence acceptable even to unbelievers. As such, the State was the resultant of three forces:

  • Justitia
  • Necessitas
  • Providentia

To implement these ideas, Frederick created a separate hieratic order of intellectuals, modeled on the chivalric orders. This was not unlike the Prussian State under the Teutonic Order, since the constitution of the Prussian State was likewise based on a rational system. As a matter of fact, the Order of Teutonic Knights in Prussia and the Sicilian hierarchy mutually influenced each other.

Justice

For Frederick, Justice is both the founder of, as well as founded in, the State. Kings and the State became necessary only because of the Fall. For Dante, the Roman Empire was symbolized by the Tree of Knowledge. The Emperor, then, would lead men back to the highest natural wisdom at the entrance to Paradise; then the Church would take up the task bring men back to that primeval state of innocence.

Adam was a law-breaker, hence the State and Justice became the remedy. Frederick implemented a new Book of Laws for Sicily. Its purpose was Justice:

daily to conceive new methods to reward the virtuous and to pulverize the vicious under repeated blows of punishment, when the old human laws under the changes wrought by time and circumstance no longer suffice to eradicate vice and to implant virtue.

Necessity

Basing himself on the teachings of Aristotle and Aristotle’s Arabic commentators, Frederick saw the State and the King arising from natural necessity. Hence, there was no need for any other justification. Earlier leaders may have claimed that the State was instituted by God, or a god, but that could not compel belief. As belief in the god waned, then the state lost its support. However, Frederick claimed that the need for a ruler could be grasped by reason, or else the human race would have destroyed itself. Dante later elaborated on this idea in De Monarchia, claiming:

Thus Monarchy is necessary for the safety, for the advantage of the world.

Of course, Necessitas encompassed more than that alone. It referred to the inevitability of things according to a natural law. Human life itself was subject to the law of Necessity. Rationality, then, results in the implementation of the laws of nature into the positive law of the State.

Providence

Frederick rejected the idea of a capricious God, intervening miraculously into human affairs. Obviously, this is unlike the pagans, for whom the gods and goddesses were always interfering arbitrarily in world events. For Frederick, God’s Providence was itself the Law, or the Logos as we would prefer to state it. That means that the natural order was itself the reflection of the Divine Order, and so Providence was Rational. The Scholastics has a similar definition:

Providence is the Reason of a purposeful order of things.

Moreover, it was the Emperor who was the mediator and interpreter of the Divine Plan.

Marriage Laws

As an example of a specific application of Frederick’s notion of Justice, we will consider the marriage laws that he implemented in Sicily. While not denying its sacramental value, Frederick regarded marriage as a necessity of nature for the preservation of the human race. Hence, the intention of those laws was improving the breed. Specifically, a Sicilian was forbidden to marry a non-Sicilian. This is his justification:

It has often grieved us to see how the righteousness of our kingdom has suffered corruption from foreign manners by the mixture of different peoples. When the men of Sicily ally themselves with the daughters of foreigners, the purity of the race becomes besmirched, while evil and sensual weakness increase, the purity of the people is contaminated by the speech and by the habits of the others, and the seed of the stranger defiles the hearth of our faithful subjects.

The Church was only concerned about the spiritual makeup of the marriage partners. That is, she follows a “moral logic” (in Valentin Tomberg’s terms), while the State follows an “organic logic”. This logic, moreover, is justified by the very nature of things.

NOTE: We discussed the idea of the right of the state to determine its genetic makeup in Social Surgery. Clearly, Frederick was centuries ahead of Bradley in this regard.

Heresy Laws

The Catholic Faith was declared the State Religion. Hence, heresy was not simply a crime against the Church, but was considered to be treason against the State. It was considered both blasphemy against God and an attack on the Emperor. Hence, heresy was a State matter and did not involve Church officials. In this, Frederick modeled these laws on Imperial Rome.

Multiculturalism

The heresy laws did not apply to the Jews, Muslims, and Orthodox Greeks living in Sicily. Nevertheless, they were segregated from the Catholic Sicilians. Moreover, they were subject to their own laws. For example, the Jews were permitted to follow their own religious laws. They were even exempt from the laws against usury, which would have consequences years later. Although Jews and Muslims could not be oppressed, they were never full citizens. The same tolerance was not afforded to heretics or apostates.


The primary reference for this material is Frederick the Second by Ernst Kantorowicz.

Sense and Nonsense

We are men of the middle ages, not only because that is our destiny, the fatality of history, but also because we will it. You, you are still men of modern times, because you refuse to choose. ~ Nicolas Berdyaev

The power of a new Middle Ages is needed. ~ Julius Evola, Pagan Imperialism

Samsara is Nirvana ~ Nagarjuna

The sensible is the symbol of the divine ~ St Bonaventure

The attack against the power of a new Middle Ages is constant, sometimes even coming from unexpected sources. Recently a bizarre argument has been circulating around the Internet. It claims that the starting point for the metaphysics of Thomas Aquinas, to wit, that knowledge begins with the senses, “leads to” the modern world. When pressed about the meaning of “leads to”, the author has no answer. Either there is a logical or empirical necessity coercing the conclusion from the premises, or there is not.

By that logic, for example, Euclidean geometry “leads to” Riemannian geometry. But the latter actually denies one of Euclid’s postulates, so there is no logical relationship. Similarly, if the road “leads to” Rome, it also leads to the pit when you walk off the edge. That then turns out to be the crux of the argument: the fellow does not want to follow the road to Rome. Hence, he presents this elaborate and prolix ruse to justify his own apostasy. Never mind that the Nordic-Roman Medieval Tradition encompasses much more than Thomas Aquinas. Even if he succeeds in pulling out that brick, like some giant Jenga game, the structure remains intact.

Being and Becoming

In the very first paragraph of the first chapter of Revolt against the Modern World, Julius Evola writes:

In order to understand both the spirit of Tradition and its antithesis, modern civilization, it is necessary to begin with the fundamental doctrine of the two natures. According to this doctrine there is a physical order of things and a metaphysical one; there is a mortal nature and an immortal one; there is the superior realm of “being” and the inferior realm of “becoming.” Generally speaking, there is a visible and tangible dimension and, prior to and beyond it, an invisible and intangible dimension that is the support, the source, and true life of the former.

The alleged argument asserts Aquinas, by beginning with the senses, creates somehow a “two story” philosophy. From that, the modern world can dispense with the second story of Being, focusing solely on the lower story of Becoming.

Obviously, that can happen only through the forgetfulness of Being.  The modern mind forgets about being, mistaking the changing world of appearances for Being itself. Opposed to that, Thomism tries to “lead to” the awakening of Being by beginning with sense experience. Once understood, the world of becoming is intuited as a theophany of the world of Being. If not understood, then the worldview of naturalism arises, which is just the denial of the world of Being. Julius Evola, in Pagan Imperialism identifies this ignorance:

Far from exhausting itself in naturalism—as today only the ignorance or the tendentious falsification of some people are able to present it—beyond knowing the ideals of manly overcoming and of absolute liberation, in the pagan conception, the world was a living body, suffused with secret, divine, and demonic forces, with meanings and with symbols, as illustrated by that saying of Olympiodorus: “the sensible expression of the invisible”.

Olympiodorus was the last of the pagan philosophers at Alexandria, but his statement applies likewise to the Christian philosophers who followed him. The modern mind displays “ignorance” of knowledge, but the “tendentious falsification” of the author’s screed is much more sinister.

Johann Fichte understood this when he wrote about the “Divine Idea of the World [that] lies at the bottom of Appearance”  and “Sensuous appearance is the vesture, the embodiment of the Divine Idea.” Goethe calls this the “Open Secret”, because it is open to all, yet seen by none. You need to choose whether or not to see this.

Hierarchy and Docetism

The authors of the Middle Ages could not imagine … the Universal Church without a pope. Because if the world is governed hierarchically, Christianity or the Sanctum Imperium cannot be otherwise. Hierarchy is a pyramid which exists only when it is complete. ~ Valentin Tomberg, Meditations on the Tarot

The opposite of Naturalism is Docetism. The former denies the world of Being, while the latter denies the world of Becoming. Docetism wants to inhabit some abstract spiritual reality, while denying its sensible expression in the physical world. Since the spiritual world is a Cosmic Hierarchy, it has a peak. Hence, to avoid Docetism, the world of Becoming, which is the symbol of the Divine, needs a peak. Hence, the denial of Thomism leads the author of that screed to the denial of the Pope. As we said, he is an apostate seeking, apparently, justification.

The vestiges of liberalism remain even in those who decry it the most. The following claim occurs so often these, it could be mistaken for a straw man. But it goes something like this: “I have done a deep study of the Church Fathers and reached the conclusion that the Orthodox Church is most faithful to them.” What could better exemplify the Protestant spirit? Of John Stuart Mill’s “marketplace of ideas”, in which one evaluates competing worldviews and chooses one “based on the evidence”.

But that is to remain at a lower level of knowledge. Doxa, or opinion, is our knowledge of sense phenomena. Dianoia is rational discursive knowledge; that is, the “weighing of evidence”, disputation, and so on. But the highest level of knowledge is episteme, that is, the direct, unmediated intuition of Being. That is what the Fathers teach.

So when we arrive at that level of knowledge, we “see” the truth of the cosmic order. Our “choice” in that case is to submit to it. Tomberg explains:

The vow of obedience is the practice of silencing personal desires, emotions and imagination in the face of reason and conscience; it is the primacy of the ideal [Being] as opposed to the apparent [Becoming], the nation as opposed to the personal, humanity as opposed to the nation, and God as opposed to humanity. It is the life of cosmic and human hierarchical ordering; it is the meaning and justification of the fact that there are Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones; Dominions, Virtues, Powers; Principalities, Archangels, Angels; Priests, Knights and Commoners. Obedience is order: it is international law; it is the state; it is the Church; it is universal peace. True obedience is the very opposite of tyranny and slavery, since its root is the love which issues from faith and confidence. That which is above serves that which is below and that which is below obeys that which is above. Obedience is the practical conclusion to that which one recognises as the existence of something higher than oneself. Whosoever recognises God, obeys.

Tomberg is describing the virtue of Piety – one of the Roman virtues as well as a gift of the Holy Spirit. Piety means the submission to whatever is higher, relinquishing the merely personal element. This sort of obedience is based not on ignorance, but on knowledge of Being; it is not coerced by an outside force, but is freely embraced.

This is the foundation of a Traditional society. How could such a society function if everyone starts “examining the evidence” and coming to different conclusions? You could not rely on or trust anyone. It is the replacement of the knowledge of the Sacred with arbitrary personal opinion.

Thriving in the End Times

What Is Thinking

All things that we see standing accomplished in the world are properly the outer material result, the practical realization and embodiment, of Thoughts that dwell in the Great Men sent into the world. Thomas Carlyle, On Heroes, Hero Worship, and the Heroic in History.

The sophisticated man since the Enlightenment likes to claim that he “thinks for himself”, without need for any external authority. To say the least, the results of that claim have been quite meagre. Out of the 50,000 thoughts going through your mind each day, how many have been useful, never mind extraordinary or creative?

Ancient Traditional man was less dense, i.e., less sensual, so more detached from the thoughts in his consciousness. He would experience them as commands from the gods.

The “bright” ones today go beyond even the Enlightenment ideal and claim that thoughts arise from matter, as the result of bio-electro-chemical processes. This, despite the fact that there is no conceivable explanation of how that might happen. After all, what is the Maxwell equation or chemical formula for any particular thought? If that view is true, then the solution to the problems of the world could be solved by designing the correct pharmaceuticals to produce happy and intelligent thoughts. Keep me in the loop if that happens.

The Great Men of history have been intermediaries, bringing great thoughts into the world. There is no shame in repeating those same thoughts.

Knowledge and Love

You may have heard it said that all you need is love, and, therefore, knowledge (or gnosis) is unimportant. On the contrary, the two are intimately related. Nicholas Cabasilas, in The Life in Christ, explains why:

In fact, it is knowing that causes love and gives birth to it. It is not possible to attain love of anything that is beautiful without first learning how beautiful it is. Since this knowledge is sometimes very ample and complete and at other times imperfect, it follows that the philter of love has a corresponding effect. Some things that are beautiful and good are perfectly known and perfectly loved as befits so great beauty. Others are not clearly evident to those who love them, and love of them is thus more feeble.

Hence, gnosis is not an obstacle to love, but rather its prerequisite, and the clearer the knowledge, the stronger the love. He goes on to explain that our knowledge of things is twofold:

  1. That which one may acquire from hearsay, and
  2. That which one may learn by personal experience.

In hearsay knowledge, we don’t encounter the thing itself, but rather we see it through words about it. This is, at best, to see it inaccurately, since there is nothing in nature that is an adequate copy of it. This uncertain and dim image cannot excite the degree of love proper to it.

When we encounter the things themselves, we gain experience of them. By this experience the very form itself encounters the soul and incites desire, as though it left an imprint corresponding to the good. This is important in one’s spiritual life. Cabasilas draws this conclusion:

When therefore love of the Savior produces nothing new or extraordinary in us it proves that we have encountered no more than mere words about Him.

In a broader context, there is a lot of talk, ideas, and concepts about God. But that is all hearsay and such knowledge does not lead to love of God. That is because we need to relate concepts of the unknown to what we know by experience, through analogy. But God is unique, so there is nothing else in our experience adequate for that. This cataphatic approach to knowledge of God speaks of an analogy of being, but such analogies are far from precise.

Moreover, thoughts and concepts are always about essences. However, God’s essence is the same as his existence, i.e., the act of being or his energies. So we know God’s essence through hearsay, but we can know his existence through personal experience. This direct knowing of God’s presence is what we mean by gnosis.

The Barriers to Theosis

Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure. ~ 1 John 3

Beholding the glory of the Lord we are being changed into the same likeness ~ 2 Cor 3:18

Nicholas Cabasilas explains that there are three obstacles to theosis. These are:

  1. Nature. The Divine nature is different from human nature.
  2. Sin. A will corrupted by evil separate us from God.
  3. Death. In the mortal body, we can see only the dim reflection in the mirror; in this state our bodies are dominated by sense life.

These obstacles are overcome by the following events respectively:

  1. Incarnation. This unites the human and divine natures in one person.
  2. Crucifixion. The leads to the forgiveness of sins.
  3. Resurrection. This overcomes death and the attraction to sense life.

Cabasilas relates these ideas to the effects of the sacraments, or mysteries, with the aim of salvation. The esoteric path aims beyond this to liberation or jivanmukti. That aim is union while still in the mortal body:

  1. Expose our false sense of I, replaced with the mind of Christ.
  2. Purify our soul so it becomes the perfect reflector of the Holy Spirit.
  3. Move from a life of instinct to a life of intelligence.

Narcissism in Religion

There is the tendency to confuse knowledge by direct personal experience with profound religious emotions. Of course, such passions can be quite motivational to pursue gnosis, in themselves they fall short of knowledge. Knowledge is a gift of the Holy Spirit, but warm emotional experiences are not among those promised gifts.

What may happen is that the person claims an authority in spiritual matters based solely of one deep experience, particularly if it led to a conversion of some sort. If two such persons confront each other, a narcissistic battle usually ensues about whose experience is deeper or who has the most impressive conversion story.

Strength and Fertility

The right wing authoritarians want to bring about homogeneity by exclusion and the left wing authoritarians want to bring about homogeneity by inclusion. But they both want to bring about homogeneity. So on the right, that would be more couched in terms of purity, and on the left it would be more couched in terms of equality. (Where Do SJWs Come From?)

I am always suspicious of such studies that reduce metaphysical and religious issues to the psychological level. The study relates the two wings to rule by fathers and rule by mothers. I’m not surprised that liberals and social justice warriors suffer from anxiety disorders, since their mentality is at odds with the nature of things. Hence its opposite is not the so-called “right wing authoritarian”, which the study conflates with racism and fascism, but rather the cosmic order.

Strong personal boundaries make for psychological and spiritual health. We see that exemplified in the story of Romulus, the spiritual father of the races of Western Europe. His first task was to delineate the boundaries of Rome, to determine who is in and who is out, who is excluded and who is included. To do so required the mastery of two beasts, representing strength and fertility: strength to enforce the frontier of the city, and fertility to populate it. Those right wing groups that claim to be saving “western civilization” should pay heed to this.

Time Preference

The notion of Time Preference is crucial to the science of economics and is an area of research in profane psychology. Hans-Hermann Hoppe, in Democracy: The God that Failed, explains it this way:

In acting, an actor invariably aims to substitute a more satisfactory for a less satisfactory state of affairs and thus demonstrates a preference for more rather than few goods. Moreover, he invariably considers when in the future his goals will be reached, i.e., the time necessary to accomplish them, as well as a good’s duration of serviceability. Thus, he also demonstrates a universal preference for earlier over later goods, and for more over less durable ones. This is the phenomenon of time preference.

Children, for example, have a high time preference since they prefer something now rather than later. Studies have shown that children as young as four who have a lower time preference – e.g., the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment – are more likely to be successful later in life than children with a higher time preference.

Similarly, societies with a lower time preference will be more successful in the long run since they more carefully prepare for the future. Hoppe makes the case that monarchies have a lower time preference than democracies; hence the latter are doomed since they will tend to squander their capital.

Historically, civilizations with a strong spiritual base have thrived for much longer durations. The religious mind, since it takes into account post-mortem states, will have the lowest time preferences of all. They also feel a spiritual kinship with their ancestors and descendants, a feeling that secular societies lack.

The ancient Romans and Greeks, for example, kept a hearth fire burning for their ancestors and they expected future generations to do the same for them. They are a dim image, as though through a glass darkly, of post-mortem states. The Middle Ages developed that notion: the Church Suffering required the prayers of the living and the Church Triumphant would then intercede for the living. The effects of the increasing lack of awareness for this multi-generational connection are obvious.

The Eagle and the Vultures

Eagles and Vultures
Originally published in 1939, Massimo Scaligero never allowed La Razza di Roma (The Race of Rome) to be republished. The following selection from that book describes the spiritual basis for the founding of Rome. The following points highlight the gulf that separates the mentality and spirituality of the ancient Romans from moderns in the West today. Here are the main points from the text:

  • Everything in Rome comes from a sacred, supernal sense of life.
  • The rite then discloses a universalistic value assigning celebrations of nature, mystical and esoteric meanings, queries the celestial forces for the choice of location and evocations to demonic powers, the genius of the people, to the chthonic and uranic gods, for the fortune of the city that is going to arise.
  • Suffice it to say that, in the same way that a modern with mechanical operations and procedures becomes master of distance, [the rite] gives form to matter and organizes its own outer life, so the ancient Roman Empire, through the ritual technique made perfect thanks to the regal-priesthood union that entailed the action of a self-conscious, “solar” will, and the body of a dynamic, mediating, “lunar” force, established an ascending contact with the magnetic forces of the universe and acted psychically through them.
  • There existed a science of such action: unlike the mechanical sciences placing all men on the same levels (since mechanical means can be operated both by the learned and the ignorant), it required a spiritual dignity that was not for everyone; it demanded the presence of psychical qualities, in a dynamic and exceptional sense, and hence connected to a higher morality that was not at all different from that of the mystic, the priest. two races.
  • In driving the trench, he lifts the plow where he wants the gates, so that it does not touch the ground. Then he raises the walls of the city limits, following the line of the trench, and outside, hugging the walls, dig the trench of the circumvallation.
  • The same force of the rite ensures that the founders are liberated from the “impiety” of leaving the land of their forefathers and promotes a new link between soul and matter, between the spirit of the race and the land chosen for the foundation.
  • What is necessary to emphasize is that the divine element constitutes the essential part of the birth of Rome, it is only the religious aspect of the mastery of events, of inevitability, obtained through the possession of transcendent energy that was familiar to the ancient Initiate, as the control and mastery of physical energies is to the contemporary engineer and mechanic.

Hence, pace the moderns, race is based on spiritual foundations, rather than biological. Thus the twins Romulus and Remus can be said to belong to different races. Rites have a real power, derived from their connection to supernal forces. They have to be done with precision, although the techniques are hidden and reserved to the few.

When men leave their homeland, that is an act of impiety against their ancestors and so it needs to be rectified. The Urbe is defined by its walls.

The complete text is found at The Race of Rome: Foundations.

Life in the Kali Yuga

The Hermetist Today

I have mentioned before my high regard for polymaths among whom I recently discovered Ethan Allen Hitchcock
The Alchemists were Reformers in their time, obliged indeed to work in secret, but nevertheless making their impression upon the public. They lived, for the most part, in an age when an open expression of their opinions would have brought them into conflict with the superstition of the time, and thus exposed them to the stake; — where, indeed, many of them perished, not having been sufficiently guarded in their language.

They were religious men when the spirit of religion was buried in forms and ceremonies, and when the priesthood had armed itself with the civil power to put down all opposition, and suppress all freedom, intellectual, civil, moral, and religious.

The genuine Alchemists were religious men, who passed their time in legitimate pursuits, earning an honest subsistence, and in religious contemplations, studying how to realize in themselves the union of the divine and human nature, expressed in man by an enlightened submission to God’s will; and they thought out and published, after a manner of their own, a method of attaining or entering upon this state, as the only rest of the soul.

We see that he recognized the real meaning of the Alchemists as spiritual transformation before Jung did, the symbolic nature of their works before Guenon, and the use of esoteric writing prior to Leo Strauss.

Gotcha Questions

At that time, the Pharisees went and consulted among themselves, how to ensnare Jesus in His speech. … But Jesus knowing their wickedness, said: Why do you tempt me, ye hypocrites? (Matthew 22)

Wicked men and women to this day seek to ensnare the unwary through tricky questions, rather than to seek the truth through dialogue. The point of Matthew 24 is to render unto Caesar the law of justice and to render to God the tribute of adoration and obedience.

The Cathedral and the Open Conspiracy

The locusts have no king yet they fly in formation. (Proverbs 30:27)

Long before the notion of the Cathedral became popular in certain neo-reactionary circles, H G Wells proposed the idea of the Open Conspiracy, which he subtitled “Blueprints for a World Revolution.” He envisaged it as a “modern religion” which would realize a “better order” in human affairs through scientific research and creative activity. It would oppose all the “vestiges of the ancient order.”

The Open Conspiracy stood for globalization, population control, free trade, and liberalism as the new religion. Needless to say, the Open Conspiracy has won the day, yet, since Revolution never ends and there still remain vestiges of the old order, it seldom acknowledges it.

The Hermetist of today would be in conflict with the Open Conspiracy, since it rejects traditional ideals of justice, not to mention adoration of and obedience to God. Note that the Conspiracy has no need for such notions. Hence, the teachings of today’s Hermetist are as opposed to the Open Conspiracy as they were to fundamentalists of a few centuries ago.

Nevertheless, contemporary soi-disant spiritual adepts heartily embrace the Open Conspiracy, believing they have achieved a higher state of consciousness. That just makes no sense. The opposite of the Hermetist is a homologous Ned Flanders who is an apologist for the New Church.

Knowledge of Higher Worlds

I monitored some facebook pages on Anthroposophy for a while. You would think that those who claim knowledge of higher worlds would start with an excellent grasp of this one, but it isn’t necessarily so.

Phlogiston, Spontaneous Generation, and the Flat Earth

The theory of Spontaneous Generation is the obsolete theory that states that living organisms can originate from inanimate objects. Examples of the belief in spontaneous generation were that dust creates fleas, maggots arise from rotting meat, and bread or wheat left in a dark corner produces mice. At least they have some plausibility based on observation alone.

The irony is, however, that bright people today actually do believe in spontaneous generation as the origin of life. They would like to discredit anyone who disagrees with them as heirs to some strawman believers in the flat earth. Tit for tat, they are heirs of actual believers in spontaneous generation.

Another false theory is that a substance called phlogiston was the cause of combustion. That theory required constant modifications as more and more facts refuted it, even asserting that it had negative mass. Yet phlogiston is no worse than the many absurd theories today used to explain social issues. The theory takes on a life of its own and becomes more important than the facts themselves.

Calendar Stuck on 1974

Many of my generation have calendars that don’t seem to advance past 1974. They retain the same cultural, aesthetic, political, and intellectual worldviews they had at the age of 19. At least in the movie Groundhog Day, the protagonist slowly grew in wisdom as the same day eternally recurred.

Reading for Pleasure

Before I started university a few decades ago, we were asked to read some books over the summer prior to matriculation. They were revelatory to a naive youth growing up in the suburbs. I recall that one of the characters in a novel we read rolled up a magazine and stuck it up his rectum. Unfortunately, he couldn’t extract it so he ended up in the emergency room. Now I understand why there are so many magazine stands in New York City.

Novena App

Someone has just come out with a Novena App for the iPhone to remind people to say their prayers. When we were about 8 to 10 years old in Somerville, Mass, we used to attend novenas after school, walking on our own to St. Polycarp’s Church. At the end of the nine days, we would receive a scapula or a medal. Yet adults today cannot even do that. Why not an App that says all the prayers for you? It could probably do a whole mass in milliseconds.

Pathological Altruism

It is commonly accepted that the rescuer must first care for himself. For example, a lifeguard has to ensure his own safety in order to rescue a drowning person. If an airplane’s cabin loses pressure, a mother is told to breathe through the oxygen mask first before offering it to her child. The same principle applies to scuba divers if a buddy loses his tank. The reason is obvious: if the rescuer dies, then both die.

Pope Francis has declared that it is incompatible with Christian teachings to reject uncontrolled immigration. That sounds awfully close to an automatic excommunication, even though one is never personally involved in the issue. That is, it is merely a thought crime, since the state is responsible for dealing with immigrants.

At what point does it become pathological? How does it benefit anyone if the host society begins to decline in any way?

The People of Blame

Valentin Tomberg offered this rather strange critique of Rene Guenon:

Is this not the tragedy of Rene Guenon who, being gifted with a developed metaphysical sense and yet lacking the Hermetic-philosophical sense, sought, always and everywhere, the concrete spiritual. And finally, tired of the world of abstractions, he hoped to find liberation from intellectualism by plunging himself into the element of fervour of the Moslem masses at prayer in a Cairo mosque.

This is absurd since Guenon not only had the “Hermetic-philosophical sense”, he was an initiate into Hermetism and actually knew personally some of the Hermetists that Tomberg only wrote about. Moreover, Guenon advocated that the esoterist follow his exoteric Tradition, just as did Tomberg:

There is room to remark here that the last orientation of Rene Guenon, i.e., towards the faith of simpler people adhering to a more simple religion, is not without reason. For the Hermetic-philosophical sense has more in common with the plain and sincere faith of simple people than abstract metaphysics has. For the common believer, God lives; likewise for the Hermetist. The believer addresses himself to saints and Angels; for the Hermetist they are real. The believer believes in miracles; the Hermeticist lives in the presence of miracles. The believer prays for the living and the dead; the Hermetist dedicates all his efforts in the domain of sacred magic to the good of the living and the dead. The believer esteems all that which is traditional; the Hermetist does likewise.

According to Ibn Al-Arabi, the true esoterist accepts exoteric norms even after achieving the understanding of inner realities; this is unlike the one-sided esoterists and the simple believers. These “People of Blame” have transcended the exoteric-esoteric distinction. The pseudo-esoterists believe they have left the exoteric practice behind and thus have contempt for the People of Blame, interpreting their stance as a regression. [see The System of the Antichrist by Charles Upton, p 400]

Economics and Sociology

The human race is subject to laws at different levels of being. At the lower levels, there are physical, chemical, and biological laws. Above the individual, there are economic and sociological laws. The economic laws apply to men make choices about scarce resources. The individual needs to be taken into account. On the other hand, sociological laws apply to group dynamics on a large scale. Such laws are not individual, but are based on statistics applied to the group. There is nothing inherently unjust in that.

The Return of Matriarchy

With the USA presidential election campaign nearly over, any remaining pretense to it being based on “issues” is fading. A small percentage of voters in about 10 states will determine the outcome; the rest depends on geography or demographics. Straight white men would overwhelmingly elect Trump, for ill or good. Hence, a Trump loss would make them the largest disenfranchised group in the country.

A Hillary win, on the other hand, will be the victory not just of a woman to the White House, but also of the return to matriarchy, i.e., rule by woman. Demeter, after a long hiatus, will make her return. Rule by feelings, subjectivity, and undifferentiation will follow.