The Hermetist Today
I have mentioned before my high regard for polymaths among whom I recently discovered Ethan Allen Hitchcock. Could such a man be a general — or any public official of the USA for that matter — today? He amassed a large library on Alchemy. Besides his works on military history, he wrote commentaries on Swedenborg, Dante, Shakespeare, Spinoza. Our age has no idea what literature is.
The Alchemists were Reformers in their time, obliged indeed to work in secret, but nevertheless making their impression upon the public. They lived, for the most part, in an age when an open expression of their opinions would have brought them into conflict with the superstition of the time, and thus exposed them to the stake; — where, indeed, many of them perished, not having been sufficiently guarded in their language.
They were religious men when the spirit of religion was buried in forms and ceremonies, and when the priesthood had armed itself with the civil power to put down all opposition, and suppress all freedom, intellectual, civil, moral, and religious.
The genuine Alchemists were religious men, who passed their time in legitimate pursuits, earning an honest subsistence, and in religious contemplations, studying how to realize in themselves the union of the divine and human nature, expressed in man by an enlightened submission to God’s will; and they thought out and published, after a manner of their own, a method of attaining or entering upon this state, as the only rest of the soul.
We see that he recognized the real meaning of the Alchemists as spiritual transformation before Jung did, the symbolic nature of their works before Guenon, and the use of esoteric writing prior to Leo Strauss.
At that time, the Pharisees went and consulted among themselves, how to ensnare Jesus in His speech. … But Jesus knowing their wickedness, said: Why do you tempt me, ye hypocrites? (Matthew 22)
Wicked men and women to this day seek to ensnare the unwary through tricky questions, rather than to seek the truth through dialogue. The point of Matthew 24 is to render unto Caesar the law of justice and to render to God the tribute of adoration and obedience.
The Cathedral and the Open Conspiracy
The locusts have no king yet they fly in formation. (Proverbs 30:27)
Long before the notion of the Cathedral became popular in certain neo-reactionary circles, H G Wells proposed the idea of the Open Conspiracy, which he subtitled “Blueprints for a World Revolution.” He envisaged it as a “modern religion” which would realize a “better order” in human affairs through scientific research and creative activity. It would oppose all the “vestiges of the ancient order.”
The Open Conspiracy stood for globalization, population control, free trade, and liberalism as the new religion. Needless to say, the Open Conspiracy has won the day, yet, since Revolution never ends and there still remain vestiges of the old order, it seldom acknowledges it.
The Hermetist of today would be in conflict with the Open Conspiracy, since it rejects traditional ideals of justice, not to mention adoration of and obedience to God. Note that the Conspiracy has no need for such notions. Hence, the teachings of today’s Hermetist are as opposed to the Open Conspiracy as they were to fundamentalists of a few centuries ago.
Nevertheless, contemporary soi-disant spiritual adepts heartily embrace the Open Conspiracy, believing they have achieved a higher state of consciousness. That just makes no sense. The opposite of the Hermetist is a homologous Ned Flanders who is an apologist for the New Church.
Knowledge of Higher Worlds
I monitored some facebook pages on Anthroposophy for a while. You would think that those who claim knowledge of higher worlds would start with an excellent grasp of this d, but it isn’t necessarily so.
Phlogiston, Spontaneous Generation, and the Flat Earth
The theory of Spontaneous Generation is the obsolete theory that states that living organisms can originate from inanimate objects. Examples of the belief in spontaneous generation were that dust creates fleas, maggots arise from rotting meat, and bread or wheat left in a dark corner produces mice. At least they have some plausibility based on observation alone.
The irony is, however, that bright people today actually do believe in spontaneous generation as the origin of life. They would like to discredit anyone who disagrees with them as heirs to some strawman believers in the flat earth. Tit for tat, they are heirs of actual believers in spontaneous generation.
Another false theory is that a substance called phlogiston was the cause of combustion. That theory required constant modifications as more and more facts refuted it, even asserting that it had negative mass. Yet phlogiston is no worse than the many absurd theories today used to explain social issues. The theory takes on a life of its own and becomes more important than the facts themselves.
Calendar Stuck on 1974
Many of my generation have calendars that don’t seem to advance past 1974. They retain the same cultural, aesthetic, political, and intellectual worldviews they had at the age of 19. At least in the movie Groundhog Day, the protagonist slowly grew in wisdom as the same day eternally recurred.
Reading for Pleasure
Before I started university a few decades ago, we were asked to read some books over the summer prior to matriculation. They were revelatory to a naive youth growing up in the suburbs. I recall that one of the characters in a novel we read rolled up a magazine and stuck it up his rectum. Unfortunately, he couldn’t extract it so he ended up in the emergency room. Now I understand why there are so many magazine stands in New York City.
Someone has just come out with a Novena App for the iPhone to remind people to say their prayers. When we were about 8 to 10 years old in Somerville, Mass, we used to attend novenas after school, walking on our own to St. Polycarp’s Church. At the end of the nine days, we would receive a scapula or a medal. Yet adults today cannot even do that. Why not an App that says all the prayers for you? It could probably do a whole mass in milliseconds.
It is commonly accepted that the rescuer must first care for himself. For example, a lifeguard has to ensure his own safety in order to rescue a drowning person. If an airplane’s cabin loses pressure, a mother is told to breathe through the oxygen mask first before offering it to her child. The same principle applies to scuba divers if a buddy loses his tank. The reason is obvious: if the rescuer dies, then both die.
Pope Francis has declared that it is incompatible with Christian teachings to reject uncontrolled immigration. That sounds awfully close to an automatic excommunication, even though one is never personally involved in the issue. That is, it is merely a thought crime, since the state is responsible for dealing with immigrants.
At what point does it become pathological? How does it benefit anyone if the host society begins to decline in any way?
The People of Blame
Valentin Tomberg offered this rather strange critique of Rene Guenon:
Is this not the tragedy of Rene Guenon who, being gifted with a developed metaphysical sense and yet lacking the Hermetic-philosophical sense, sought, always and everywhere, the concrete spiritual. And finally, tired of the world of abstractions, he hoped to find liberation from intellectualism by plunging himself into the element of fervour of the Moslem masses at prayer in a Cairo mosque.
This is absurd since Guenon not only had the “Hermetic-philosophical sense”, he was an initiate into Hermetism and actually knew personally some of the Hermetists that Tomberg only wrote about. Moreover, Guenon advocated that the esoterist follow his exoteric Tradition, just as did Tomberg:
There is room to remark here that the last orientation of Rene Guenon, i.e., towards the faith of simpler people adhering to a more simple religion, is not without reason. For the Hermetic-philosophical sense has more in common with the plain and sincere faith of simple people than abstract metaphysics has. For the common believer, God lives; likewise for the Hermetist. The believer addresses himself to saints and Angels; for the Hermetist they are real. The believer believes in miracles; the Hermeticist lives in the presence of miracles. The believer prays for the living and the dead; the Hermetist dedicates all his efforts in the domain of sacred magic to the good of the living and the dead. The believer esteems all that which is traditional; the Hermetist does likewise.
According to Ibn Al-Arabi, the true esoterist accepts exoteric norms even after achieving the understanding of inner realities; this is unlike the one-sided esoterists and the simple believers. These “People of Blame” have transcended the exoteric-esoteric distinction. The pseudo-esoterists believe they have left the exoteric practice behind and thus have contempt for the People of Blame, interpreting their stance as a regression. [see The System of the Antichrist by Charles Upton, p 400]
Economics and Sociology
The human race is subject to laws at different levels of being. At the lower levels, there are physical, chemical, and biological laws. Above the individual, there are economic and sociological laws. The economic laws apply to men make choices about scarce resources. The individual needs to be taken into account. On the other hand, sociological laws apply to group dynamics on a large scale. Such laws are not individual, but are based on statistics applied to the group. There is nothing inherently unjust in that.
The Return of Matriarchy
With the USA presidential election campaign nearly over, any remaining pretense to it being based on “issues” is fading. A small percentage of voters in about 10 states will determine the outcome; the rest depends on geography or demographics. Straight white men would overwhelmingly elect Trump, for ill or good. Hence, a Trump loss would make them the largest disenfranchised group in the country.
A Hillary win, on the other hand, will be the victory not just of a woman to the White House, but also of the return to matriarchy, i.e., rule by woman. Demeter, after a long hiatus, will make her return. Rule by feelings, subjectivity, and undifferentiation will follow.