Western Social Order

Cologero points out that quibbling over minor points of philosophy & actualizing states of being are not equivalent for the noble character. That is, philosophical debate is not for the gentleman, beyond a certain point. Surely the West (as such) was built upon such a a fundamental impulse, as the aristocracy of the Franks and Germans were a rough and ready group of fighters, with little taste for Byzantine theology. John Romanides has criticized this substantially, but does not address in any way the fact that the West managed to not merely retain much more than a shadow of Byzantine mysticism, but actually to incorporate and seemingly “add” elements of Tradition with which the East was less familiar. Cologero has discussed this under the title of The Three Orders. Byzantium retained the purity of dogma from Constantine’s day, but the social order was collapsing. They were apparently unable to escape the curse of political factions: in other words, they lacked unity. Procopius even relates a story about Justinian the emperor which is intriguing;

And some of those who have been with Justinian at the palace late at night, men who were pure of spirit, have thought they saw a strange demoniac form taking his place. One man said that the Emperor suddenly rose from his throne and walked about, and indeed he was never wont to remain sitting for long, and immediately Justinian’s head vanished, while the rest of his body seemed to ebb and flow; whereat the beholder stood aghast and fearful, wondering if his eyes were deceiving him. But presently he perceived the vanished head filling out and joining the body again as strangely as it had left it

…perhaps some of the “pure in spirit” who could perceive his disappearing head were Pythagoreans. In any case, political factions dismembered Byzantium long before the Seljuk Turks and the Crusaders delivered the finishing blows. Although I don’t agree with the pejorative, the adjective “Byzantium” today still describes a certain kind of stifling, convoluted atmosphere that is almost impossible to fathom. In fact, Cologero has also pointed out that the East/West schism was primarily exoteric, & should not (in fact) be recognized as decisive or definitive by those who have eyes to see. Just as the Inquisition’s attack on esoteric bodies within the Church should be “ignored”, in the sense of recognizing it as a natural kind of failing in these situations, while retaining both facets for future use, the West vs. East problem is also illusory, if one is trying to deduce eternal principles out of historical dialectic. Instead, move from Unity towards the One, rather than reasoning from the many back to Unity.

The Revolution is derived from such dialectic; although Romanides is not a revolutionary, his theology has made it in some senses more difficult to rapproche with West, in that there is nothing constructive or creative about it, and one has to “supply” what is missing. Indeed, had it not been for Gornahoor, I myself would have found his logic convincing, and would no doubt by now be reading Alexander Dugin and plotting to immigrate to Russia, or at least pining for it. A Revolutionary reasons thusly:

1. The Church has done bad things, or been implicated in the doing of said bad things.

2. Therefore, we are better off today with the Church in chains, culturally, if not annihilated forever.

Therefore, the upshot today is that, “as for my people, women are their oppressors, and children rule over them”. Isaiah 3:12.

As Robert Nisbet has pointed out in Twilight of Authority, the modern liberal state that has resulted from the above reasoning (which is shared by some of the brightest and best young people I have met or been acquainted with) drifts toward either chaos or a monolith that reduces individuals to atoms, with no power or defense against the centralized state, which has been optimized (ostensibly) for the good of all, and particularly the new “individual” neo-bourgeois. Phillip Rieff is a Jew that every man of Tradition ought to read: his book on Teaching & The Second Death closed off, forever for me, the idea that the new “individual” had anything to add – his diagnosis of the spiritual sickness that grips us is profound. It is no use arguing, you have to treat the condition as an illness; in this Romanides and Tomberg are in essential agreement, as are all the Traditional thinkers.

Unfortunately, a lot of the young are ineluctably drawn to the syllogism above, and those of old age, who are hopelessly lazy and self-corrupt, encourage them. What the enthymeme above leaves out is significant. What, for example, happens to other Ideals besides the Church that become tarnished? Are they to be discarded as well? And what happens when Man has tarnished his last Ideal? Should Ideals themselves be given up? What would that look like? Can Ideals be rehabilitated? Why should the abuse of an Ideal disavow the goodness or reality of that Ideal? Are Ideals inevitable, even when denied? Why did the Ideals fail to begin with? Are they inherently evil, inviting abuse? Why should this be? Can Ideals be critiqued by anything else other than Ideals? Were the Ideals ever properly instituted in the first place? Why or why not? What would a false Ideal look like, and how would we recognize it?

Cologero rightly points out that Socratic dialogue can end in aporia. But what if the Socratic dialogue was done, as he suggests, within a framework of actualization, as acts achieving states of being? That is the project of Gornahoor, or at least, the part I am most familiar with and best understand. It may be preaching to the choir, but it’s certainly better than what you’ll get at the average Sunday School, and you’ll know something more than a four-part Gospel harmony, although such things have value.

As an aside of interest, an author that links to the site frequently, Brett Stevens, has written a popular piece which summarizes in popular form some of the cogent criticisms of political European nationalism that Cologero has made in much more in depth and subtle terms. Some of the readers may find the piece useful and convincing, as I did. It points us in the direction of achieving what our director and founder a scale of spiritual order, rather than appealing to the baser parts of human nature, our own and others.

The West, historically, has excelled at achieving difficult balances with periods of crisis, from its inception, which involved multitudes of groups and periods of disorder. It can be hoped that it will do so again.

2 thoughts on “Western Social Order

  1. Charity would be a much better watchword than tolerance, that is certain. Some good thoughts there, yes it is arduous; is it any wonder there were problems? So many people think the answer is to just give up on the Ideals; I can’t see this, as it is a logical and metaphysical impossibility anyway. If our social order reflects our personal orders, then we truly are faced with a big task. Not impossible, however. Not impossible.

  2. I am currently reading William Thomas Walsh’s work in the Inquisition of Europe. He argues that the dominant heresies of the time stemmed from the Manichees, among others, and represented political as well as spiritual threats to the Christian order, stoked on by conversos and those more loyal to Kings than Pope. The lesson is, there are few who truly view their actions as being “bad”, neither inquisitors nor heretics nor schismatics. So extending a true higher unity to the social plane is the most arduous of tasks, even in Christendom. Perhaps the answer to the mindset you described is the Christian virtue of charity, even in the harshest of settings like that of a corrupt, failing, or fanatic church.

    The reading circle I am currently part of has in its numbers Ismaelis, Westerners outside any Churches like myself, and some Christians. It works when a small number respects that higher unity. We might move from the unity to the One someday. The elite from different faiths may be able to have that unity as well. It will be a miracle indeed if we see it extended to whatever new order arises.

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