Taking a Stand
When I was a young family man, I tried to be active in my community. One of those activities was to be a volunteer facilitator at a low cost group counseling center. We underwent a Rogerian style training in being non-judgmental, reflective, and confidential. For some reason I didn’t and still don’t understand, two older women took a dislike to me. Furthermore, they carried it outside the training session, engaging in gossip, slander, and detraction.
When the psychologist-trainer learned of this, he was upset and reprimanded the women at a subsequent training session. In Rogerian fashion, a discussion ensued. To my surprise, the group became divided, some siding with me, and others with the hags.
I learned from that event, that there will always be those for you and those against you. From that moment on, I have never been afraid to take a stand.
Cash Value and the Gentleman
Sometimes when I tell someone about my blogs, the large number of visitors, and the nearly million words of original text and translations, the response is, “Are you making any money from it?” Sheepishly, I have to admit the no, and I rue that a topic of conversation has been lost. I get emails about how to make money at blogs. I suppose by maintaining dozens of blogs and getting a few bucks from each, it can be done.
Most blog writers solicit tips like a waitress in a cocktail bar. The amounts are small, a five or a ten, perhaps a twenty. To accept such a tip is actually a cause for shame and embarrassment, the assumption being that such a paltry sum is important to me. The posts are freely offered although their actual value is much more than $10.
The tradition is that a Hermetist does not make a living from the Work. Rather he would have been a horse trader, a street performer, or some such trade. Aristotle said the highest life is that of the philosopher who understands the nature of man, God, and the universe. However, first he must be a gentleman, “noble and good”, with a certain degree of financial independence.
Thus, this is not a “blue collar” blog with crude language, irrational views, the promotion of immoral lifestyles, and ugly presentation as a few of you persist in believing have any value for a gentleman.
Rather than money, I would like some among you to pray for my health, the good birth of a grandson, and a successful outcome for my son’s upcoming surgery.
A Prophet without Honor
It may or may not surprise you that no one, literally, who knows me personally reads this blog; this includes family and close friends. They will not even “like” the Gornahoor facebook page. I am the “crazy uncle” that the children like to be with, with outlandish yet ignorable views; my sister calls me a shaman.
There are two possible conclusions that readers can draw from this. The first is that those who know me best think I am a “kook”, so you should certainly not pay attention.
The other conclusion is that if you try to step up and out in your life, your friends and family will be the first to try to hold you back.
Runes in Salemi
A half dozen years ago, I went to Salemi, Sicily, to show him our family roots and to look for property to buy. It is a built on a hillside overlooking olive groves, vineyards, and farmland. At the top of the highest peak, there is a fort with a view for many miles around. Originally built by the Arabs, it was eventually taken over by the Normans. I was hoping to find evidence of Norse culture there, perhaps even Rune symbols, as well as the much larger fort in Palermo.
I did find a good property, three stories, with kitchens on the 2nd and 3rd floors, and enough room to sleep 8 or even a dozen. I was hoping to found a center there for those interested in the topics discussed on Gornahoor. With a European center, it would have been possible to work in groups where I could have taught actual spiritual exercises. Unfortunately, the economy turned, depleting my investments, and an inheritance was much less than expected.
Of course, I found no rune inscriptions, since the Normans had long since abandoned those ways. However, it was in Palermo that I was struck with a deep understanding. These Normans had moved into France, conquered England, Sicily, and from there, went on to take over leadership the Holy Roman Empire. I wondered about the inner state of these knights who had come so far and accomplished so much. In the tour of the castle in Palermo, we eventually made it to the Palatine Chapel in it and there I found the answer. It was certainly beautiful and I could sense the knights of the past attending mass in it.
Since then I have no patience with those who deny the spirituality of those knights in favour of some remote, imaginary paganism. Particularly, since they are usually crude, vulgar, and ungentlemanly about it.
The Limits of your Imagination
A few decades ago, I was working for a now defunct minicomputer manufacturer. We had developed a networking system; at that time, there were no turnkey solutions as there are now, so it was a unique accomplishment. At one meeting, we had to listen to a presentation of an earnest young women who was tasked with marketing the networking product.
Unsure of what to say, she finally blurted out with unfeigned enthusiasm, “And the possibilities for this product are limited only by your own imagination.”
Of course we all mocked her. What that meant is that she could not articulate any creative or practical uses for the network, so she was counting on each audience member to think one up for her.
That is when I learned the lesson of specificity. It is difficult to provide specifics, so most people just fake it, counting on the audience to “know” what they mean. Thus we hear about a vague, unspecified “Indo-European tradition”, not unlike Chomsky’s universal grammar; of course, you cannot specify it. Curiously, we have just written about this, but some readers don’t know how to learn a lesson.
The Image of an Image
When the kids were young, I had to take them to Disneyworld every now and then. There was a last time, after I got too disgusted to return. We were on an “adventure” ride, and a mechanical deer would randomly pop up out of the ground. The passengers would ooh and ah, pointing to their children.
When you see through the contrivance, it has no effect. I thought, why not go into the woods and look for a real deer? If nature is the image of the divine, as the holy ones teach us, then what Disney provides is merely an image of an image. Yet, on a larger scale, most of our lives today consists of images of an image, from movies, to TV, to the popularity of social media. Nothing good can come of it.
In high school, I was one of the top scorers in a math exam, so I was invited to meet with its sponsor, the actuarial society. There were follow ups and I seriously considered a career in the field. By reducing everything to quantity, it manages to provide concrete and successful results. I learned some of its techniques, and still think it is applicable for many tasks of the producing class.
For example, as you all know, the insurance rates for teenage boy drivers are much higher than for anyone else. That is a simple matter of actuarial science which I cannot explain here. Some people may consider that unfair. However, when an insurance company publishes its rates, it does not have to provide copious and apologetic footnotes along the lines that “not every teenage boy is a bad driver”, or “not every bad driver is a teenage boy”, etc.
The simple mathematical fact is that without that policy, the insurance companies would simply go out of business. Contemporary western societies today are “going out of business”, but it is happening too slowly for most to notice.
A Continuous Tradition
A few months ago after the Venner controversy, we lost some readership. I read his blog and he indicated his disappointment that France did not have a religion like Hinduism to preserve its racial and ethnic identity. As an historian, he had to know that France had no problem preserving its identity prior to the Revolution. However, as an ideologue, he could not admit this. Ideology is the image of an image in the intellectual realm, i.e., the image of a thought which is the image of the spirit. Nothing good can come of that, but the world is full of ideologues.
Camel in the Desert
There is a recent comment from someone who is expecting the “real” Indo-European tradition to show up, presumably just for him. To boot, it is in a post that warns against seeking any perfection in this world.
Does a man dying of thirst in the desert argue about which camel will take him to the oasis? Does he languish there waiting for the perfect camel to come along? There is a lesson there that few will heed.
Appeals to the Intellect
Let us note again the three forces in the psyche: sex, anger, and intellect. Since these are fundamental, the vices of the first two are, as Augustine pointed out, insatiable. That is why nearly all media are geared to stimulating sexual desire or anger. The former is too common to provide examples. The latter is the basis for all the political blogs and talk shows in our time. They “work” only if they get you worked up about some issue, person, place, or thing. The lesson is to always be on the lookout for that.
Beyond that, there is the appeal to the emotions in general. Every show emphasizes it. New stories depend on them for the “human angle”. Along with that, there always stories about dogs, elephants, or other animals displaying “human-like” emotions. These are very popular.
However, the truth is just the opposite. The real lesson is that for the most part, human emotions are more animal-like and that explains the rapport. That is not merely metaphysical, but also scientific as described in Carl Sagan’s book, The Dragons of Eden. Now I am not at all opposed to building rapport with animals, but only to the idea that it somehow represents the higher in man.
Appeals to the Intellect are much rarer, and that is necessarily so. Few can attain the equanimity of Aristotle’s philosopher. The philosopher, meant in the ancient sense as a way of life, would want to see into the nature of things and passions can only work against this. Even writings that aspire to a higher level are still stuck on an “us-vs-them” attitude, which can never transcend the thymos.
The philosopher is the lover of wisdom, but it is still not the state of being wise. When Jesus said we must love our enemy, it means we need to transcend all points of view and see things as they are.