The Way of Living Thought (II)

This is Part 2 of two parts of an article that originally appeared in EreticaMente as La via del pensiero vivente come controparte operativa del pensiero di Julius Evola by Fabio Mazza. It is translated and published with the permission of the author.

Massimo Scaligero was a personal friend to Julius Evola, who even introduced Scaligero to anthroposophy. Nevertheless, Scaligero had a broader spiritual perspective but is widely respected in most anthroposophical circles. Scaligero shared similar political opinions with Evola, writing for the same journals, as was likewise interested the spiritual roots of ancient Rome. Unfortunately, those writings are impossible to find and I suspect they may have been systematically purged.

The rest of the article deals with the characteristics of an initiatic group. Unlike an exoteric tradition, which has an unbroken horizontal chain, an esoteric tradition comes vertically, from above. That is, it cannot be institutionalized and is recognized by its fruits as described.

Note: Scaligero’s system is called “living thought” or “living thinking”.
⇐ Part I

Massimo Scaligero

Massimo Scaligero
Massimo Saligero’s work has had a fundamental importance as the bridge between the world of anthroposophy, often challenged by the many “deviations” that Evola mentioned, and especially Italian traditionalism. He knew how to gather the “operative” and “realization” parts in Steiner’s thought, leaving aside the social, pedagogical, and naturalistic parts. What counts for Scaligero is living thought, of which Steiner is the Master: the Master of the new age. He provided fundamental points to connect the “science of the I”, as outlined in the Ur and Krur volumes, to interior Work, to a “preparation”, an “opus remotionis” to the Great Work. The path of Rosicrucianism and the Graal, the western and virile path par excellence, is undoubtedly linked to a double thread, to secret Hermetic and Wisdom paths that have run through the centuries since the Renaissance. Scaligero provides an interesting point of view on the relations between Evola and Steiner in From Yoga to Rosicrucianism.

He is aware that the attacks against Steiner, which had to be expected from various fronts, not from the last that was internal to anthroposophy itself, and especially by those who call themselves “men of Tradition”, including even Evola. The reason is simple: the ascesis of thought is a preliminary work of purification: it serves to make man sensitive to particular experiences that he can create on condition that he gains in the first place an inner balance and self-mastery, a mastery that must serve nowadays as the “test” and thought, insofar as modern man is indubitably the “cerebral” man. In the second place the gaining of an imaginative first dynamic is necessary, something whose necessity Evola did not perceive, through the fact of being in possession of such faculties through birth, through “natural dignity”, without this becoming the object of hard conquest, as is the case instead of common modern men, who try, perhaps titanically, to overcome and integrate human limits. From his point of view, Massimo Scaligero had a high opinion of Evola, as too many of his anthroposophical followers forget, who notoriously do not like our author who had altered the Master’s doctrine (what a heresy!). It is in the text “From Yoga to Rosicrucianism” that Scaligero speaks of his meeting with the Baron, who introduced him to Colazza thereby changing his life. Scaligero writes:

With the passing of the years, I had to discover in him as the radiance value of the force that incarnated in a determinate nature, he had been able to subdue the very expression of knowledge to this. … on the way I understood about Evola that there could only be a single valid one of him and no copies: all of his teachings, yoga, tantrism, presuppose the original inner quality, the imaginative magic, that is a point of arrival for the modern seeker. In fact, Evola never had to be concerned about the conversion of reflexive thought, because he had no need of it, enjoying the use of thinking in movement like a congenial force to his personality: he was capable of conceiving liberation, but not his own autonomous movement as the beginning of the same liberation, insofar as identical with his own dialectic form. Evola’s thinking spoke to me according to the world of forces to which he attached and this world of forces was important for me to realize, beyond the vision of things that his dialectic as personal expression belonged, just as beyond the dialectic value of Tradition to which he referred: value that for the evolians, not for Evola, is everything, and for which they find serious difficulties in realizing that world of forces.”

What to say of the synthesis? It is clear that Evola’s work is fundamental for a worldview. Without it nothing would exist of the “battle line of Tradition”. Moreover, Evola did not provide a system except to indicate the methods of traditional realizations (yoga, Buddhism, Hermetism), but leaving imprecise the “how” of achieving such experiences in a “healthy” way, then with a propaedeutic preparation for that which, in the opposite case, risks being transformed into a disastrous revival of the Promethean myth, if not in the experience of Ur, that as we said, includes multiple experiences of various initiatic schools. And here it gives way to the discourse of “living thought” as purification, as preliminary ascesis, as the centration of itself and creation of a first intangible nucleus that can then confront the “waters” without being overwhelmed by them.

Neo-Spiritualism and Tradition

What then to say about those who, throwing out the baby with the bathwater (and the image seems to merit careful consideration), insert the entire representative of “living thought” into the field of neo-spiritualism without thinking twice about it? The criticism that Evola brought previously in “mask and face” is sound. The many esoteric schools, new religions, sects, and so on, that infest today’s world are a clear proof. The litmus test of whatever esoteric, operative, or initiatic trend one wants to consider is to see if it leads to the strengthening of waking consciousness, or instead to the excitation of the emotive-irrational part of the disciple or even his actual animal nature. Even if it is not also a question of true deviations, at the edge of Satanism and the inversion of symbols and meanings, especially created by entities and forces in order to lead a man astray who still seeks from his real spiritual aspirations, then everything gets resolved in a devotionalism, in a religion of “life”, of the senses, and of “freedom”, meant in a pejorative sense.

All that is completely absent in the “way of living thought” and in the Spiritual Science. It is indeed evident in Steiner’s will to provide a “solar way” that is averse to the subpersonal and to “extrasensory” states, and that on the contrary tends to the development of the conscious individual, and not to a dissolution in a chaotic or naturalistic “all”. And this is the dry path, the solar path, the heroic and virile path par excellence. Hercules himself succumbed because he “fell asleep” and made himself lose the result achieved with bitter struggle. Jacob wrestles with the angel of the Lord throughout the night: he remains awake and brings back victory. Gilgamesh loses his eternal youth he won by failing and falling prey to the symbolic “sleep”, that is, after all, the constant state of man’s waking life, especially of modern man. The awakened man is, first of all, one who is present to himself, who lives in that which makes and marks himself and the meaning of every act of daily life. And this, it is granted, is very Roman and very Western.

It is just as obvious that the advocates of Tradition have overlooked a fundamental truth that Massimo Scaligero notes with masterful words: Tradition is a living force, not a crystallization of past experiences; it is not a worship of the past, nor sectarian dogmatism, nor a “religion of esoterism”. Instead it is a force that has taken, is taking, and will take the most various forms, able to lead the world to the Spirit, but that they are never the same, nor do they ever repeat themselves. Whoever thinks in a different way has understood nothing and confused the form with the substance. That fact that many “traditionalists” persist in judging the work of Massimo Scaligero and of Rudolf Steiner through him, on the basis of hearsay, so it would be a matter of “modern methods”, not connected to any “traditional regularity” is the index of a level of intellectual freedom and comprehension of a really low concept of “spirituality”.

For one simple reason: they judge the “regularity” of a system, exposition, and doctrine not by what it transmits, by its living contents and by reaffirming eternal and immutable verities under apparent diversity and formulations, but by the fact that an author or a “regular initiatic organization” has defined or at least appropriated it. Now, that the ascesis of thinking is not contained in the traditional texts of the most varied spiritualities is a natural question: the necessity of a similar “Opus” was barely felt, at a minimum, only two or a thousand years ago, because a state that was natural for “ancient” man is an object of conquest for “modern” man. It is obvious that modern man is not easily comparable to the ancient Roman or to the Indian of the Vedas, and this will displease those who believe that the mere sentiment and admiration for an epoch will suffice in order to be like those lived in that epoch.

But if the detractors of Scaligero, Steiner, Filippani Ronconi, and Colazza dared to study in depth the proposed practices would see that they differ very little, in substance, from what is the preparation for the Work in Hermetism, from the stoic presence in oneself, from many Platonic and Pythagorean practices and instructions. The fact that in order to be considered traditionally regular a supposed “license” issued by a religion, sect, lodge, or group, is necessary with the contemporary desire to be attached to an “uninterrupted chain” is the mantra that is raised against the way of living thought. That shows a subtle fear in them: the need for protection, or to be guided and led by the hand, something that is cloaked with the alleged “respect for Tradition”, when it is in reality the fear of acknowledging that the path of initiation has always been an individual journey and that, while if in other periods there existed support represented by mysteriosophical religions and groups, now it is not the time of speak of it. We are convinced that initiatic organizations exist: but at a different level from what is commonly understood. It is not so much about groups of men, but rather of transcendent forces, that are waiting to welcome and guide those who will be made worthy. There is the Golden brotherhood of the Rose+Cross, awaiting disciples who will have achieved the polishing of the Stone.

6 thoughts on “The Way of Living Thought (II)

  1. A point that is emphasized by Scaligero is that Evola knew force, which becomes clear from reading his work, he was a “shock treatment”, awakening latent forces of the self. The pagan world knew forces and had names for them, but with Christ comes revelation of higher directing purpose, freeing us from the pagan conflict of various influences contending against each other. Scaligero seems to think that Evola did not follow his philosophy to its end, that he did not recognize the Logos, or what underlies the realization of the “centrality and the invincibility of the I” in the universal order. The pagan mind with its many gods is like the equivalent of human personality, and even though one of them may be the “chief god”, this does not resolve things in a definite way. Evola had a strong personality, and was a “powerful dialectician”, not limited to a specific ideology or identity, whereas most people defend a point of view so viciously as if their life depended on it. To be consistent with Evola’s “path of action” one should probably pay more attention to what he does than what he says, being an “evolian” makes no sense as there is no universal system to follow, and it seems like a negation of the very point he is trying to make, adhering to a “science of the I”.

    It is said that Tradition is a living force and as such one is either aligned with it or not. There is no middle ground and it can not be understood abstractly from a distance. When going from one place to another, the views along the road changes every moment even though the traveller and his intention do not change. Without an understanding of how one thing relates to another, for a passive observer, it merely looks like a collection of images with nothing in common.

    There is a reference to the Rocicrucians, who are said to have left for the East. Considering they were purportedly an esoteric group, I am not sure it has to be read literally. Is not “the east” somewhat like the end of the rainbow in that it always retreats further away when you attempt to go there? What is consistently ignored by most people is what is constant in every experience, they believe that neglecting who is actually experiencing something is the basis for objectivity, but this can not be true. Without “someone there”, there would not be any rainbow in the first place, since it manifests by observing it. One has to ask oneself who exactly it is that observes in modern science -an empty eye without body and without being, such as in the “Lord of the Rings”, incapable of either depth or colour?

    Since there are always underlying assumptions, we can see by applying a small amount of common sense, for example to the perspective that “the east” is the orient, that the point of reference or “center” in this case must be Europe. By imagination however, man fantasizes about being in a different place than where he really is. This is a double edged sword: it allows us to conceive something which is not yet and thus make it come to pass, or it can pacify and restrict us to a simulated world of appearances with limited application to life. The good thing about willing and doing is that it reveals to us what was fantasy and what is not.

  2. Probably, Scardanelli. For some reason, there is a concerted effort to discredit the Waldorf schools, and Scaligero is a target. Seems like overkill for a rather obscure movement.

  3. Do you believe this purge was enacted by Anthroposophists? I’ve looked into Scaligero a bit and those surrounding him. I’m reading a book on meditation by Georg Kuhlewind “The Light of the ‘I'”, who was apparently a friend or student of Scalligero. In the preface he speaks about Scaligero and mentions that he agrees with his operative work, but disagrees on other points. Perhaps these “other points” are Scaligero’s ties with Evola and Traditionalism.

    This is a rather interesting series. I appreciate the notion of initiation from above, and that initiation only becoming available when one has sufficiently purified himself through mental ascesis. This especially highlights the emptiness of the claims that the western initiation is no longer available. It is certainly available, but only to those who have made themselves worthy.

  4. Thank you for this translation Cologero. The section “The litmus test of whatever esoteric, operative, or initiatic trend one wants to consider is to see if it leads to the strengthening of waking consciousness, or instead to the excitation of the emotive-irrational part of the disciple or even his actual animal nature” is so readily forgotten in my experience.

  5. Very interesting translation, thank you as always Cologero.

  6. Pingback: The Way of Living Thought (I) | Gornahoor

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