Pathocracy and the Chrysalis

I thought I was being clever in coining the term “Pathocracy” for what we otherwise call “the New Normal”, but I see some have beat me to it. It is this, indeed. Nonetheless, it seems a necessary step in the metamorphosis and one corresponding to the Hermetic phase of the transmutation (or our “chaotic transition”) called “putrefactio

Sol Niger
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Within Our Reach, Even Now

I thought I would use the opportunity today to post a letter written on Christmas Eve, 1513 by the Renaissance Franciscan monk Fra Giovanni Giocondo (1435 – 1515) to Countess Allagia Aldobrandeschi. It is very much in the spirit of William Blake and Jean Gebser, too. It also brings to mind the ultimate Buddhist paradox: nirvana and samsara are the same; nirvana and samsara are not the same. So, you may read it in that understanding.

I salute you. I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep.  There is nothing I can give you which you have not. But there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take. No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant.

Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see.  And to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look!

Life is so generous a giver. But we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering, and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love by wisdom, with power. Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel’s hand that brings it to you.

Everything we call a trial, a sorrow or a duty, believe me, that angel’s hand is there. The gift is there and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Your joys, too, be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.

Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering, that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it; that is all! But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together, wending through unknown country home.

A Meditation on Shiva: The Dance of the Nataraj

Well, things have turned pretty Topsy-Turvey (if not Helter Skelter) within the early weeks of the year 2020, no? It’s a very good reason for understanding the process called “enantiodromia” — or sudden (ironic) reversals at the extremity (or, what is sometimes called “the flip-flop”, somewhat like a fish that has been extracted from its familiar element).

Time to reflect again on “the crisis of paradox” and on Jean Gebser’s “double-movement”, and I find contemplating the symbolism of Shiva and Shiva’s Dance in this times very helpful and very appropriate.

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The Fifth Revolution: Health

“Then the tide rushes in
And washes my castles away.” — Moody Blues, “The Tide Rushes In”

In seems appropriate this morning to recall something Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy anticipated decades ago, gleaned from his study of the Age of Revolutions entitled Out of Revolution: Autobiography of Western Man. From his interpretation of the pattern of the four great revolutions, he concluded there would be yet a fifth, one that would seal and close the Modern Era, but also inaugurate a new era. The organising principle of this fifth revolution would be, he thought, “health”. It now seems quite prescient.

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Coming to Terms with Enantiodromia

Excess of sorrow laughs, excess of joy weeps.

William Blake, The Proverbs of Hell

Enantiodromia is a term coined by Carl Jung in homage to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. It has been described as the coincidence of the opposites (coincidentia oppositorum) or the conjunction of the contraries (coniunctio oppositorum). (An example of that might be Heraclitus’s “the road up and the road down are the same”, or “Dionysus and Hades are the same”).

The conjunction of the contraries occurs because energy is polarity, and an intensification of energy also intensifies the actions of the polarities. It is the characteristic dynamic of Late Modernity and “the New Normal”, in fact, and it is implicated, too, in what Jean Gebser calls “the double-movement” of disintegration and re-integration.

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The Four Beasts of Revelation

In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
“‘Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,’
who was, and is, and is to come.”

The Revelation of St. John, 4:6-11

We will discuss today the relationship between John’s vision recorded in the Book of Revelation as it also pertains to William Blake’s own mythology of the four Zoas of ‘Albion divided fourfold’ and to his “fourfold vision”. John describes four “living creatures” (plural Zoa, singular Zoon) surrounding the Throne of God in his vision, in effect forming a mandala. To gain insight into the meaning of John’s vision — a vision of the Logos — you need also recall a passage in the New Testament: “the body is the temple of the living God”.

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The Silence Before the Dawn of Time

Yogananda, author of the famous book Autobiography of a Yogi, remarked therein that to arrive at the place where speech arises is the same as enlightenment. This is apt to be grossly misunderstood by those who, from this remark, devalue speech, which attests to ignorance. “Right speech” is also one ideal of the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. Speech is not to be devalued or desecrated since it arises from this place of origin.

This place from which speech arises (as the Logos or the Word) is both “vital centre” and yet “ever-present origin”, as Jean Gebser relates. This is what Nicholas of Cusa intended also to be understood by his description of God as “a circle whose circumference is nowhere and whose centre is everywhere”. That is much the same way Heraclitus (“the Greek Buddha”) also described his understanding of the Logos.

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