Some of the most popular posts on The Chrysalis are those that deal with the famous Flammarion woodcut entitled Urbi et Orbi, of which I’ve written earlier. The search terms “urbi et orbi” draw a fairly steady volume of traffic to the blog (and a brief history of the woodcut can be read here).
It might be interesting to bring the woodcut and a few select passages from William Blake together, and in that way the meanings of both will be more deeply enhanced.
It is a balmy -44 C this morning here in the Great White North. That’s with the wind chill factored in. It’s not the worst I’ve experienced, but it is very nearly the next best thing to the worst. I fear for the animals.
It seems, then, a good plan to remain indoors and put thought to paper, if that’s still an acceptable way of still stating the case in these times. The last time I ventured out in such frigid conditions virtually every system on the Jeep broke.
Today, I want to speak to the issue of “time and the New Age”, as there is much talk about this presently, but without much in the way of insight into the meaning of time and “New Age”. It should be of interest to everyone.
I awoke this morning to a very depressing piece in Maclean’s Magazine by Katie Engelhart on “The rise of the far right in Europe“. It did stimulate me, however, to further reflection on the problem of fascism and of the mass psychology of fascism, sometimes known also as nationalism or “nativism”. Engelhart’s piece is excellent otherwise, revealing surprising linkages between neo-fascist groups and nationalist formations one would otherwise not suspect of fascist inclinations, or the ironies of a “fascist international” and “universal fascism“.
So, here I want to pursue once again my interpretation of fascism as a resurgence of paganism and nihilism, fully consequent upon Nietzsche’s pronouncement of “the death of God” in the late 19th century, and why it matters.
It is often quite irksome to see how language is so often abused in the mass media and by the politicians, resulting in a distorted and perverse perception of reality. Eventually such distortions and perversions of perception must have consequences, not least of which is the potential for a society to become “unviable” — to simply fail the test in the “struggle for survival” because perception and reality (or image and reality) no longer correspond.
Ideology is not consciousness. This is, today, even the very meaning of “delusion”.
There is a disturbing trend amongst the “democracies” (if one can still meaningfully call them that) towards increasing centralisation of political power in the executive, especially amongst those nations of the so-called “Anglosphere”. Canada is no different in that regard. Here, as elsewhere, despite all the vain rhetoric about “open government”, of enhancing “transparency and accountability”, of small government and “Big Society” (in the words of the UK’s David Cameron), the tendency is in the exact opposite direction from the Big Rhetoric.
Probably one of the main reasons that the political and social philosophy of Karl Marx failed to preserve its relevance and potency in the post-World War world was owing to its reliance for its effective realisation upon an enduring class of labourers called “the proletariat”. This social class of toilers no longer exists in the same way Marx understood the condition of labour and of the working class of his time. No one today speaks of “the proletariat”, at least in the Western context (although it might be said to exist still in places like the sweatshops of Bangladesh). Instead, some today speak of a “precariat”, and this creature is something quite different from the traditional proletarian.
It is very instructive to compare the meaning of the Shaman, the Satyr, and the Cyborg as variations on a single them, and that these types correspond to the different structures or articulations of consciousness as described by Jean Gebser in his Ever-Present Origin (for they do represent something that is, in fact, abiding about the archetypal human). They all, in their own terms, represent the intersection of the natural and the supernatural, the temporal and the eternal, but within the framework or context of their own consciousness structure.
In those terms, the shaman is the image of the magical structure, the satyr the same image within the context of the mythical structure, and the cyborg the same image within the context of the mental-rational (or technological) structure, for the cyborg as symbolic form relies as much for its meaning equally upon the persistent, unconscious influence of the magical and mythical.