Spirit in the World

Within a traditional civilization, categorized as “civilizations of space” by Julius Evola, time seems to stand still. A citizen then would have had a much different experience of time than we do today. There was no notion of “progress”, as Evola explains:

[The civilizations of space], according to the formulation current today, would therefore be the “stable”, “static” or ultraconservative civilizations. In reality, they are the civilizations whose material vestiges even seem destined to live longer than all the monuments or all the ideal creations of the modern world that appear powerless to endure more than a half century and within which the words “progressive” or “dynamism” mean only a compliance to contingency, to the movement of an incessant change, of a rapid ascent and a likewise rapid, vertiginous decline.

Thus, today a man must make a choice, a choice that was inconceivable to the original traditional man. That is because we today are aware of both worlds. Nevertheless, that decision opens up more possibilities and, since time is “quicker” today, more rapid results can be gained. First it is necessary to become detached from the verbal representation of the modern world in order to see it as just one worldview among many others. Then, through meditation and exercises, one can begin to re-experience the world in a traditional way.

Pansychism and Animism

Recently I heard a biologist on the radio claim that biology did not have a good definition for “life”. By that, he meant that the transition from “inanimate matter” to life was not clear cut. Curiously, Rene Guenon makes the identical point, although with a totally different meaning. In the chapter on Shamanism in the Reign of Quantity, he writes:

there can in fact be no ‘inanimate’ objects in existence, and also that ‘life’ is one of the conditions to which all corporeal existence without exception is subject; and that is why nobody has ever arrived at a satisfactory definition of the difference between the ‘living’ and the ‘non-living’, for that question, like so many others in modern philosophy and science, is only insoluble because there is no good reason for posing it, since the ‘nonliving’ has no place in the domain to which the question is related, and the only differences involved are really no more than mere differences of degree.

By that, Guenon opposes the “animism” of the shamans to the “mechanism” of profane biologists. Thus, there is a “psychic” or “animic” aspect to corporeal manifestation. Another way to phrase it is to say that the world has an “inside” as well as an “outside”. Or again, the psychic realm is related to “quality” as the physical realm is related to quantity.

For those philosophically inclined, Timothy Sprigge defends “panpsychism” in The Vindication of Absolute Idealism, although from a different perspective.

Spirit in the World

In Karl Rahner’s phrase, man is a “spirit in the world”. Man’s mode of being in the world, then, is non-dual: not a soul trapped in matter, or a mind interacting with inanimate matter. Rather, man participates in the world directly. Matter is what individuates one person from another quantitatively, but the experience of quality (“qualia”) is direct, since the material world is itself ensouled.

Hence, our experience of gravity is not just quantitative as in physics, but we also experience the pull of gravity directly. A thermometer will show the temperature quantitatively, but we have a direct inner experience of hot and cold.

An Indian colleague recently asked me if I could experience what a plant experiences or a cat. Not exactly, I answered, since I cannot experience the subjectivity of a particular plant or cat. Nevertheless, I can experience what it is like to be a plant or an animal. Man incorporates and integrates the three souls of the material world. Hence, we can experience growth, respiration, the attraction to light, and so on, like a plant. Continuing, we also experience hunger, desire, fear, satiation, in short, anything an animal might experience.

This is all part of corporeal life: not merely subjective, but an authentic way of being in the world.

God’s Knowledge of the World

Since God is not corporeal, he does not have the experience of the world that man does. Qualia like color, warmth, hunger, and so on are all corporeal as mentioned above, that is, in the broad sense of the corporeal comprising both the physical and psychical elements. A fortiori, as the Eye of Providence, he is not looking out over the world in an exterior sense. Rather, he is at the absolute center of the world.

In a sense, this is what Carl Jung was getting at in the Answer to Job that God becomes conscious through man. Specifically, through man, he is experiencing the qualia of creation. This may give some insight into the meaning and purpose of the incarnation.

So God knows the essences of things and through this knowing, they are brought into existence. This is the identity of knowing and being. Another way to put it is that he knows things because he wills them, analogous to the way that you know what you’re having for lunch at the deli: you will your choice, and don’t need a scientific theory to predict what you’ll get for lunch.

God’s knowledge is “all at once” and does not need time. By knowing the possibilities of manifestation in his mind, he thereby brings them into manifestation. The world is a great unfolding, or “evolution” in the literal sense, of these possibilities.

15 thoughts on “Spirit in the World

  1. Then on the nature of past and present tense consciousnesses , which can define peoples personalities etc, if the phenomena termed a metanoia was encountered by a persona , this is something that could create an absolute separation from their past self to their now new present self which could then be perceived to be a complete and utter stranger to another persona that was relating to the supposed almost predictable consistency of the past tense person (pre-metanoic transformation)
    So then there could be 2 categories of this change occurring , one in the positive say through this metazoic transformation, the other type could just be reactionary , i.e. the persons existing life is literally killing them, and either they have a mental or nervous breakdown or suddenly import some new values of philosophical conditioning that appeals to them and to which end they now also become a stranger to their former known self and those others that knew it .

    This then brings it to the realm of magical idealist , a quote i extract here from cologero translation
    ………..”If time is not a thing in itself, but rather—as Kant taught—a category, if it is simply a mode with which the I orders the matter of representation which therefore, in itself, is neither temporal not intemporal, it does not exist in a before nor in an after—then the spectre of an inevitable determination from part of the past vanishes into nothing: since in such a case it instead remains true that, insofar much as past exists only inside the act—which in itself, under this regard, is to be understood as metatemporal—with which I make my various affirmations appear temporally, the past does not condition or determine the present, but the present conditions or determines the past.

    The past remains simply a mark with which I identify a part of my current experience, since a past in itself, i.e., a past that falls outside my real experience, that is not an object, gnoseologically an absurdity and a non-being. From that, it follows that history is nothing other than a mode according to which the I projects onto the canvas of time, I would say almost as in a mythical figuration, that it is to will interiorly and intemporally. Creator of history, in the current historical moment, the individual experiences in this way only the limit-point of his own affirmation. The theory of the ideality of time therefore makes history a plastic faculty and in itself is indifferent to freedom—no longer a tyrannical fact that does violence to the individual, but rather a docile creation that the individual dominates, reflects it and confirms it unfailingly a posteriori what it a priori and metahistorically goes to affirm: thus, properly, it should be said that history is nothing other than the very power of freedom of reflecting and demonstrating a posteriori, alongside the category of time ” ………………….

    Which sort of gives a perfect framework for these past present comparisons and transformations, so then the question is = How does a magic idealist relate to another magical idealist ? and the answer may be , by how they act and are being in every passing present moment in time, overseen by an inner intuitive judge, where the so called historical baggage of acquired experiences is only potent in the manner in which it is allowed to insinuate its influence into present tense exchanges

  2. Schumacher apparently published the manuscript posthumously, and said it was what he’d been trying to say his whole life. Translating subjective experiences I agree is difficult – spiritual experience has translation difficulty also, which is sometimes not appreciated. Apparently, you are right, and God thought it worthwhile to create such a world of complexity and beauty.

  3. @Logres = What a superb theory that is by schumacher, absolutely apt to most of todays problems in society where big business is running the ship , and a dehumanisation or should i say a rehumanisation of humanity into a compliant business run predictable model is ongoing.

    Only one part i would alter from ……….
    Schumacher observes that the traditional answer to the study of field two has been “You can understand others to the extent you understand yourself.”[7] Schumacher points out that this a logical development of the principle of adequateness, how can you understand someone’s pain unless you too have experienced pain?

    i would say , you can sense and understand others damage or even delights if there has been a mutual compatibility in the said experiences and some common strands in the make up of your and their consciousnesses whilst experiencing such, but this understanding is strictly ltd to the past tense and does not comprehensively include their present-tense states of consciousness which could just as easily now render them a complete and utter stranger to you regardless of shared past comparable experiences , and although this is somewhat disappointing to the realm of proportional predictability’s , its a sacrifice that most would accept in the exchange for extended freedoms of consciousness

  4. “First it is necessary to become detached from the verbal representation of the modern world in order to see it as just one worldview among many others. Then, through meditation and exercises, one can begin to re-experience the world in a traditional way”

    That was perfectly put. Empiricism/Determinism/Scientism is experienced directly today in the air we breathe- just as fish underwater have no conception of the air above, so modern life is structured to enhance this tendency (already too strong in man’s nature) to revert/regress to animal, plant, or even mineral existence. If “only like can understand like”, then effort is required (for most of us) to begin to have even an inkling of what Tradition really is saying to us, at all times, and in all places:


    Schumacher’s book (recommendation from host) is a wonderfully updated and simple explanation for modern man on why Life seems to lack meaning and purpose in the modern (but not the traditional) world. Here is Augustine on the Logos: “”For what avails a golden key if it cannot give access to the object which we wish to reach, and why find fault with a wooden key if it serves our purpose?” (De Doctr. Christ., IV, 11, 26). – Augustine Or, “That which is known as the Christian religion existed among the ancients, and never did not exist; from the beginning of the human race until the time when Christ came in the flesh, at which time the true religion, which already existed began to be called Christianity. (Retractt. I, xiii, cited by Dr. Alvin Boyd Kuhn in his Shadow of The Third Century, Elizabeth N.J.: Academy Press, 1949, p.3)

  5. Dear Cobbler,

    What does it mean to say no one was saved before Christ? It means there was no comprehension of God’s/gods’ plan in an explicit way, bound to the very life principle of the human as a whole. In other words, humanity was still unfolding inwardly in various ways and stages, and had not yet reached the times of decision. At most, individuals could be developed within the mysteries towards a higher state, a reintegration and looking back to the golden age state, always bearing in mind the conditions and necessities of their age, race, culture, etc. But the question of human kind, the human race, was unresolved and working towards a tension and ultimate requirement which could only come in a specific way at a specific point in time. The Christ impulse had come in various ways and means before the Incarnation. But the human Image was increasingly unable to bear the burden of the ages and it’s karma, and due to various changes, upheavals, and corruptions, couldn’t go forward in such an unprecedented scenario, and had no hope, as a whole, to achieve its task. We can trace this in its fall in various ways, such as kingship, religion, language, morality, inner life, etc. It still isn’t able to go forward, without going through Christ, hence the problematic nature and blockage of modernity. The nature of most people today who are secular is essentially an attempt to go back to pre-Christian ways, or to extend and modernise these impulses (mostly decadent) indefinitely into the future, thus denying Gods plan and the reality and necessity of Christ. In a way, they lose their “visitation rights” and miss the Parousia. Neither holding back nor an illegitimate “progress” will work. This is not primarily a theory or even a doctrine, but a well founded experience. It is actually impossible to truly know Christ without this personal experience. Thus, as humanity increasingly crosses the apocalyptic threshold into the next age (which can be understood in various ways), it’s true, healthy development will come through Christ. Of course, it will not necessarily be called by is name. But Christ is not so much, or limited to a religion, but, as Augustine acknowledges in his City of God, he is the entrance of a new life principle into the world (Love). You could use the ideas of Evola, or the Stoics here: the logos or world reason becomes my reason. Or, as Paul says, “Christ in me”. Yet not by necessity alone, but by the free will decision, as this is essential to the new way. That which was cause for offence has been redeemed and become the essential pearl of great price, Anastasis. The fallen nature becomes redeems and lifted, purified and saved, in the bosom of the New Adam, the Host in the Monstrance. The Manu. Priest of Tau Melchizedek. All will feel and experience the results of the Fall, and all have the opportunity of the Parousia.

  6. Hello @aegishjalmer,

    I don’t have any issues with the exoteric form of each tradition which are the different reflections and every particularities translated in the sensitive Order are the reflections of higher changes, then I don’t have a problem with the correlation and the conformity, harmony between both,

    even if, I think we are in a time where there is a unsolvable decay until the lowest point is reached. What I am pointing out: is the problematic state of affirming before Jesus Christ nobody could be saved, or there is solely within Christianity you can be “saved by” Christ ; this is a non sense (1) and reducing what “Christ” is representing even within Christianity as Christ was not “Christian” .

    BTW, the Sacrifice of Christ and His resurrection as King, is “strangely” similar to what Hindus say about the saving of the Manu, then personification, solidification and individuality views have none and nothing to say (1).

    1- Time and Hierarchy are happening in Simultaneity ; St. Augustine, the Literal Meaning of Genesis.

    Esoteric and exoteric are two necessary faces for this cycle (as pointed out by the Bible with Noa, the opening of prophecy) ; there is an impossibility to pretend knowing something from the “inside” without following the “outside” or maybe in some exception cases ; (there are always few exceptions to draw a rule) this knowledge is “instable” and “incomplete”.

    Best Regards.

  7. Pingback: The Issue of Free Speech | West Coast Reactionaries

  8. Cobbler,
    I think a few clarifications are in order.

    “The function of “Christ” is independent of His “incarnations” ; incarnations are the results of changes in the Divin Order, not the opposite”

    The function of the Christ is very much a point of debate unless you accept certain dogmatics of theology, or a particular school of thought. You seem to be caught up in Gnosticism of a certain type which relegates the importance of Christ’s incarnation to a secondary level and clearly have issue with mattress and incarnation, and possibly the exoteric as well. From a Biblical and orthodox Christian perspective, Christ’s incarnation is at least as important as his cosmic role. In fact, they are intrinsically linked, one leading to the other. The perspective I was mainly coming from was Steiner (and, if you like, pre hermetic Tomberg) who actually asserts at least four vitally necessary incarnations of Christ, all of which are neither secondary nor optional for the development and safe return of mankind to God. Secondly, your assertion that changes in the divine order require incarnations is questionable, unless I have misunderstood you, as the divine order by definition and by authority of revelation does not change. It is man that changes and requires salvific presence of avatars, saviours, etc.

    “from a christian perspective “Jesus Christ” is the perfect-model to achieve ; the perfect-Man ; the perfect-believer that any christian must seek to achieve*, to approach the Divine Nature: Christ ; the “Hand of God”.”

    Well, I don’t know which Christian perspective you are working from, but true Christianity, including the esoteric kind, never rejects the so called exoteric. Guenon is very clear on this, even taking into account the unique characteristic and role of Christianity in the current dispensation. The fact remains that Christianity is not a salvation, liberation and Gnosticism/esotericism that is able to be achieved by human will alone or primarily by will alone. If you care to read the first chapter of John, we see that it is God who descends to help man, not that man seeks God in this sense. It is God who is faithful, and we humans who are not. And Paul, in Romans, clearly states that it is by grace not human effort we are saved. Evola points out that even an Aryan without second birth is equal to a Sudra, and that the titanic-promethean-Luciferic path is wrong and doomed. No, true Christianity is a response to a loving, merciful God who both transcends and incarnates this love to the core of humanity, and the earth, or humanity as theomorhoic image of creation (Schuon) as the fullness of the times required, although it was still a free will offering. No Christian ever “achieves” anything without faith and grace, “for without faith it is impossible to please God” that “no flesh might pride itself” on achieving what the fallen nature cannot do.

    “this inability to “symbolize” to pass the illusion.”

    From a genuinely Christian point of view, the illusion was shed by the incarnation, passion, tearing of the veil and resurrection, not be clever intellectual games or esoteric language. Henceforth, all flesh, that is, fallen nature, must find and accept grace of it is to rise and be redeemed. Otherwise, the weight and burden drags us further down Kali Yuga.

  9. I extracted this insight from iamblichus theurgia circa 300ad, as it illuminates quite an interesting perspective regarding “Time” and the attempted “full rational understanding” of the higher intelligences and so i have to remind myself that true understanding (knowledge) contains many layers of which the rational is just a proportional one.
    From Abammon reply part 1 TWO FORMS OF KNOWING…….
    Therefore, even as they have their being always after the same manner , so also the human soul is conjoined to them by Knowledge according to the same principles; never by any conjecture, opinion or reasoning which have their beginning in Time pursuing the essence which is beyond all these, but by pure and faultless intuitions which it received out of eternity from the gods being conjoined with them in these principles.
    Full link herehttp://www.esotericarchives.com/oracle/iambl_th.htm

  10. Hello

    @aegishjalmer, “imaged” : “form a mental image or concept of”.

    The function of “Christ” is independent of His “incarnations” ; incarnations are the results of changes in the Divin Order, not the opposite,

    from a christian perspective “Jesus Christ” is the perfect-model to achieve ; the perfect-Man ; the perfect-believer that any christian must seek to achieve*, to approach the Divine Nature: Christ ; the “Hand of God”.

    Second point, sure, God is not outside of His Creation, as ‘He is the container and the contents and beyond’, this world is the result of “His Science that He sews on His Self”.

    * should be, but not anymore understood, because of this misconception between causes and consequences, and this inability to “symbolize” to pass the illusion.

  11. Hi Cobbler,
    I’m not sure I understand what you mean by imagined. Do you mean as imagined by most Christians?

    I do agree with Steiner. He categorically denies a physical plane return of Christ. However, the incarnation and union of God and man in Christ is real. And the parousia of Christ is occurring. However, Steiner asserted, and I assent, that it will be and is a different form than mostly imagined. Specifically, in the Etheric sphere. Does that satisfy you?

    You are free to your own beliefs of course. However, I don’t see Christ in sentimental terms, and reject much of the same things you mention. However, I do hold that in Christ Jesus genuine divinity entered humanity and the physical plane and even further below. Despite the crudity of many Christians in terms of their representations of Christ, their simplistic holdings contain a portion of truth. God is not incompatible with the world, the earth, the material plane, and did enter into it through Christ. Anyone denying this, is, if you read your New Testament, antichrist. This is the radical revolution of Christianity, that Christ came in the flesh. I don’t agree with pre Christian gnosis and theosophy on this point.

    There will not be a return except on a higher level through Christ. And matter will be thawed, redeemed, reoriented, reclaimed, and purified, or what can be, will be. However, to each his own.

  12. Hello,

    @Asher Fryer ; yes this is true about the cyclic phases ; but the problem that you illustrate “perfectly” which is unfortunately quite present in the Christian world ; this sentimentalism, seeing “Christ” as Jesus ; reducing its representation to a mer “idole” and “christianity” where indeed the “Christ” literally Messiah represents the One ruling the Supreme-Center, no vassal to time, then, effects “karma and dharma”. If you think “Jesus as Jesus imagined” will come back ; you are wrong.

    Best Regards.

  13. “A citizen then would have had a much different experience of time than we do today.” On the experience of time today , i have noted 2 opposing states of consciousness that are defined as follows , the primary state of consciousness in the uk and other leading techno nations i have visited is the absolute attentiveness to clock-time , whereby the clock finally determines the segments of consciousness that are experienced for a person, i.e. 7 days a week, segments of time are designated to work, rest and a little play with each of these categories always being managed by the ticking clocks progress ……..always something about to be needing doing. These people in primary states of consciousness probably recite to themselves “what time is it now” many times per day . The secondary and rarer state of consciousness is for the persona that can provide for themselves a period of time present and near future whereby the clocks ticking reminder of the moment being lost and the next moments imminent required duty to be done is extinguished from conscious attention for a “duration” of undefined time . It is only during this duration that a true free consciousness of being is endured with no distractions . it is my observation and belief that people completely conditioned into the primary state of tick-tock addiction , most people in industrial societies , they do become very uncomfortable at the first instance of realisation that they don’t have to be somewhere or to do something . This makes them uneasy and even nervous like a car suddenly running out of fuel because they suddenly have lost their momentum , the clocks tick tock fusion with their consciousness attention . There are distinctly different types of communication that occur between people in these states of consciousness, in the primary state , the communication always has a constant “distraction” from pure individual being , in the secondary state , very intimate and creative and destructive communications can be achieved , but they have to be felt as opposed to timed and their duration is determined by the sincerity of this very feeling …which explains the initial nervous energy present in the crossover stage for those clock addicts . There is much more that can be expanded from this idea but i just don’t have the time right now (:

  14. I’d like to add some insights this article stimulates if I may. I draw my insights mainly from the writings of Steiner.

    First of all, humans are not properly understood by modern science. One point of particular interest made by Steiner is that death processes of insects, animals and humans are different. He points out that death is an unnatural thing in humans, and the problems of defnining death “from old age”. This is an interesting debate, as it would imply divine order, not infinite malleability and lack of essence of humanity.

    Secondly, the worth of human death as PART of the planetary/cosmic development of earth. This is obvious really. Why would human death be separate from all the other elements of the world. The scientific materialistic bias is obvious here: that you could take humans OUT of the world and nothing would be any different. Steiner points out that human death is very significant and part of the whole process, and actually has helped to change the very nature of reality, the spiritual atmosphere of the earth, etc, over the ages.

    Finally, the link is made to Christ, His death and resurrection (“The Mystery of Golgotha”) in which several aspects can be highlighted: first, that the gods required sensation through humans, second, that Christ as mediator was as much for the higher worlds as the lower, as much for the gods and hierarchies who were becoming more disconnected from man (hence or as a part of the Axial/Iron age, Kali Yuga, etc) and no longer had ‘faith’ in man. The sense of decline and doom is also found in many of the religions of this era. Without Christ coming as man and god, there would be no connection, hope for the future, and thus his death provided healing, redemption, and mutual understanding and renewal. For the gods, they were able to see the world of man again, and have hope for its future; as Steiner puts it, the world gained Christ, but the angels lost sight of him, and now he lights up again for them through human deeds. And for humanity was revealed the sight of the Gods, the realm of heaven, through the pierced veil. These are just some of the insights from Steiner I thought might be useful to add here.

  15. An interesting vindication of Guénon from positive science can be found in Indian physicist J. C. Bose’s monograph ‘Response in the Living and Non-Living’, wherein he demonstrated that non-living systems respond to certain stimuli in a remarkably ‘organic’ way. Bose showed that all properties of biological life have close analogs in inorganic substances.

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