One of Evola’s most prescient suggestions is that the modern aspirant towards transcendence should “ride the tiger” – the individual (or the person, but not the personality) should use the negative energies of the modern world to advance himself, until they are exhausted, for opposing them directly would invite destruction. There is an important qualification:
“This restriction must be kept in mind. What I am about to say does not concern the ordinary man of our day. On the contrary, I have in mind the man who finds himself involved in today’s world, even at its most problematic and paroxysimal points; yet he does not belong inwardly to such a world, nor will he give in to it. He feels himself, in essence, as belonging to a different race from that of the overwhelming majority of his contemporaries.”
When one cannot find a way out, find one further in. At first glance, this is a seeming difficulty for the Christian, who is attuned to essentially reject the possibility of “utilizing” something lower to actualize something “higher”. It smacks of Shelley-like Satanism. Gornahoor has addressed this more precisely here:
One can and one should, accept evil as the means of good; but one must never will it or do it, otherwise one would destroy with one hand what one builds with the other. Good faith never justifies bad means; it corrects them when one undergoes them, and condemns them when one takes them. COMMENTARY. Evil increases the virtue of the wise but corrupts the weak.
One way to re-speak this (to the Christian) is that though ends don’t justify means, yet means do not pardon ends either; so that what is called “moralizing” is often nothing but abdication of the entire moral sense of man at its root, whether it is “Christian” or not. Although might does not make right (since the gross is ruled by the subtle), neither does it follow that weakness makes right (Nietzsche’s objection to the Faith, as expressed). “Force and justice rule the world; force, till right is ready” (M. Arnold, quoting Joubert). To think that weakness and victim-hood make right is to succumb to the lowest form of mental degradation possible (currently). Right makes right.
For all doing is shrouded in guilt, like the blaze of the flame in smoke. – Bhagavad-Gita (XVIII, 48b)
In this sense, all action in the world seems to fall afoul of evil’s tincture. This is the reason for the ethical asceticism advocated by the Bhagavad-Gita: the true man (compelled to action) must do what is right, regardless of consequences, but not regardless of results.
Results are carefully calculated, but not for personal gain (or, one might add, even for personal “salvation”). It is here that Evola’s remarks on Calvin are relevant. Being willing to be damned for God’s glory means being committed to ethical action in a total way that re-unites the “afterlife” to this life. One begins to operate with reference to transcendence, of ways and means and also end. This was a way of exalting the moral sense in man without subjecting that sense to the ego. “Let God be true, though every man a liar”.
Or, “By patient continuance in well-doing, seeking for glory, honor, immortality…”
There is ultimately no conflict between the warrior & the saint. The cross, which is an inverted sword, once stood as the symbol of this.
One possible re-unifying thinker which could re-mediate between Christian ethics & perennial metaphysics is the Japanese Buddhist, Kukai. Kukai’s diagram for gnosis was~
1. Freedom from bias
2. Insight into particulars
3. Improvisation towards enlightenment.
Like most perennialists, he placed the religious worldview below the metaphysical, but superior to the secular. Kukai’s work is a naturally magic bit of either one, & stands as an exemplar (for example, he argued that a “Triad” was at the root of reality, yet he maintains the hierarchy of metaphysic over “religion”).
Recently, venturing on such ground, the pope himself has directed Christian attention towards P-Dionysius’ reworking of Proclus as a bridge towards Asia. There are some things to object to in the speech, but it is important because its aim is to conserve Proclus through Dionysius.
Apparently what Plato says and what great philosophy says about God is much more elevated, much more true; the Bible seems very “bárbara,” simple, precritical, we would say today. But he observes that precisely this is necessary so that we can thus understand that the most elevated concepts of God never reach his true greatness. They are always beneath him.
These images bring us to understand, in reality, that God is above every concept; in the simplicity of the images, we find more truth than in the great concepts. The face of God is our incapacity to truly express what he is. In this way he speaks — Pseudo-Dionysius himself says — of a “negative theology.” It is easier to say what God is not than to express what he really is. Only through these images can we grasp at his true face and, on the other hand, this face of God is very concrete: It is Jesus Christ. If Dionysius shows us, following Proclo, the harmony of the celestial choirs, in such a way that it seems that all of them depend on each other, it is true that our path toward God remains very far from him. Pseudo-Dionysius shows that in the end, the path to God is God himself, who makes himself close to us in Jesus Christ.
The pope’s essay touches upon the bitter wound or nub between the two – it is precisely this idea of reunion in God (or reabsorption into God) which is contested by traditionalism. I do not, however, see why perennialism could not accept the idea of exoteric, simple language as a manifestation of that which is beyond words.
It would certainly improve upon the Kantian idea that men are universally not merely equal, but fungible, which is to say, absolutely interchangeable. For the medieval imagination and the prisca theologica, as well as Evola, this is a grave and serious delusion, perhaps a prime one. The “Three Orders” were once of those who fight, those who work, and those who pray. Evola speaks of “types” and Ortega y Gasset (a classic liberal) speaks of “qualitative man”. Many other cultured Europeans noted the rise of “American man“. As Gornahoor has argued, the dividing line is the Middle Ages because after they were destroyed, the chain of being and the “orders” were obliterated.
Christianity’s temptation (and even tendency) is reduce everything to the lowest common denominator in the name of compassion. If we take a great yet flawed interpreter of Western history like Rosenstock-Huessy in the modern era, we find him proclaiming the era of the individual:
“Today we are living through the agonies of transition to the third epoch. We have yet to establish Man, the great singular of humanity, in one household, over the plurality of races, classes, and and age groups. This will be the center of struggle in the future. They pose the questions the Third Millennium will have to answer…the State is on the defensive because it is inadequate for the needs of the coming age. The theme of future history will be not territorial nor political, but social…”
Huessy’s sequence ran
- The Christianization of Europe/Romanization of the Church
- The Papal Revolution 11th-13th century, where the Church destroys the yoke of State
- Protestant Reformation
- The Enlightenment
Huessy again profoundly incarnates the basic tension between perennialism & Christianity. To the perennialist, Christianity must always seem in danger of simply being turned inside out, & consequently, self-destroyed. Huessy fell into the trap of not perceiving that the “Zeitgeist” might not necessarily be the breath of the highest Being nor the pattern which was beyond Being. Another way of putting this is that being absorbed into the Anima Mundi or even into what is perceived as “God” may not be in accord with the true possibilities of the inner man.
Again, we are back to the argument over “absorption” into God. That, and that Perennialists are looking for something other than this “We” that is always thrown about in secular democracies.
“Most important of all through this physical rebirth you are able to achieve the state of Vajradhara within one short lifetime in this degenerate age; otherwise it would take thee countless great aeons to achieve. Thus this rebirth is worth more than one thousand billion precious jewels.” – Pabongka Rimpoche.
For the sake of this (the kingdom of God), Christians must therefore part ways with the likes of Augustine at times, though all manner of evil is said against us falsely for this (even by the Church) –
Please notice carefully that in speaking of the good morals of some atheists, I have not attributed any real virtues to them. Their sobriety, their chastity, their probity, their contempt for riches, their zeal for the public good, their inclination to be helpful to their neighbor were not the effect of the love of God and tended neither to honor nor to glorify him. They themselves were the source and end of all this. Self-love was the basis, the boundaries, and the cause of it. These were all glittering sins, splendida peccata, as St. Augustine has said of all the fine actions of the pagans. – Pierre Bayle
And thus, we are back to the moralizing “we”. It would seem that the entire debate as it has ossified between Christianity & traditionalism could potentially be a “we”-argument dead end.
Given the historical examples of middle ground, and indeed either in the other’s camp, it should prove relatively easy to simply will the seemingly impossible reconciliation. If it is chosen to do so.
Continuing the argument at its highest levels and lowest roots (focusing specifically on the idea of “reabsorption”, with all the attendant assumptions about man’s ultimate fungibility or equation with all other men and indeed things) would seem to be an excellent place to begin.
The Christian should begin the exercise by meditating on what the possible meaning of this riddle is: Why does Christ never speak of Yahweh/Jehovah, but only of His “Father”?
And why did the “religion” of Christ not begin until after his triumph over death?
Finally, why does Christ come at the end of time, not “re-absorbed” into God, but giving all back, & riding a horse of war, with a sword coming out of his mouth?
The servants of the secret fire should stand together.