“Universal Fascism” Against the City of God

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.

“Universal fascism”, of that kind apparently dreamed of by neo-conservative ideologue Michael Ledeen (ironically once holder of the “Freedom Chair” at the equally ironically named “American Enterprise Institute”) is neo-paganism. In an earlier post on The Cycle and the Cross, I briefly touched upon the meaning of fascism as a neo-paganism through an interpretation of its symbols and its creed.  It remains to be added that the ideal of a “Universal Fascism” is the enemy formation of the “catholic” City of God, and as such belongs to the spirit of “Anti-Christ”, whether fascists themselves understand this or not.

It is really not possible to understand Western fascism and the mass psychology of fascism as a resurgent neo-paganism without reference to the historical stream of Christian culture within which it, too, is embedded. However decadent or eclipsed the Christian creed and faith may be in today’s secularised, post-Christian world it is still true that enough of the higher forms and tenets of the Christian faith remain as influential residues in our public institutions — concepts of universality and of the universality of human rights, for example, (even if only as a matter of the obligatory lip-service). It is in this sense that the word “catholic” (small c) applies still, as this word signifies “universal” —  from the Greek kata and holos, signifying “thoroughly whole” or “the Whole”. So, in that sense “catholic” implies holism and the holistic, and of the broadly ecumenical or integral.

The “City of God” is this broadly catholic and ecumenical spirit of universality.  It is the universal city because it does not know ghettoes or gated and armed communities, nor distinctions of human rank based upon race, creed, or colour. It is the spiritual city as much as William Blake’s “New Jerusalem” or “Golgonooza“.  The City of God is pointedly something distinct from the secular city — the City of Man, but which is the model for the City of Man and as something ideally made transparent and present through the City of Man.

Everything that was good about the Western tradition — everything that was painstakingly accomplished, but which now comes under threat of nihilism with the death of God — was accomplished because certain inspired men and women worked to the end that the spiritual City of God should shine through the City of Man. They worked in faith, generation after generation, century after century, under the impress of an otherwise impossible imperative issued by Christianity’s founder: “Be thou therefore perfect, even as thy Father in Heaven…” that the times might be fulfilled — “perfect” here meaning whole, complete, fulfilled, “catholic” in the earliest and most pristine sense of this word (and nothing like what it has come to mean today).

In the truly “catholic” understanding, all men and women everywhere (and all living beings) are here and now the spiritual citizens of the City of God, albeit also so many prodigal sons and daughters lost in a “faraway land” and forgetful of their birthright. This “forgetfulness” is spiritual separation, not spatial distantiation, the latter being the result, as William Blake put it, of Man having “closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern”, and which I have called “human narcissism” repeatedly throughout the pages of The Chrysalis.

This “narcissism” was previously called “idolatry” in a more theologically-inclined age. Nonetheless, it persists in secular terms, too, only now known by other names and terms —  anthropocentrism, ethnocentrism, ideocentrism, logocentrism, or egocentrism. These are just so many forms of spiritual separation or self-alienation, the loss of self in self-image — the various “caverns” that inhibit our realisation of being all citizens of “the City of God”.

Fascism is this paganism, this idolatry and this narcissism — the worship of the merely secular and local gods of blood and soil, race and nation, state and ideology — the shriveled mummified dieties of time and space.  And as such, “universal fascism” is only the City of Man standing in direct opposition to the City of God, and at the maximum antipode of spiritual separation, isolation, and turpitude. Is it not remarkable, then, to observe how many “Christians” actually fell, and continue to fall, for this palaver?  But as was once said by the man who hung on the crucifix, “they know not what they do”.

The City of God is neither the secular city nor the “state of nature”. The City of God corresponds to Gebser’s “ever-present origin”.  All that is secular is time-bound, mortal, and limited, and a sentence of death is passed upon all of it. The very word “secular” means, in effect, “time”, and for that reason fascism is morbid. Universal fascism is not the Eternal City.  It would be the absolute nadir of human existence — the point of maximum spiritual separation and alienation from the City of God.

And that is why this creed is full of images, rituals, and ceremonies of death, violence, and nihilism. For the Nihil is the dark abyss and Void of spiritual segregation.


15 responses to ““Universal Fascism” Against the City of God”

  1. Scott Preston says :

    A while ago I saw a video about one man’s near death experience that did a pretty good job of describing the state of separation that I’m trying to explain above, or, if we want to put it another way, the condition in which ego consciousness has become isolated and estranged from its source or roots. You could also say that this “state of separation” that the man describes is the “far away land” that the Prodigal Son finds himself in.

    A word of counsel is in order before you dive into the video. The experience is cast within a Christian framework, and relies upon Christian symbols and categories for the narrative unfolding of the man’s tale. That’s all well and fine. However, the same experience would be described quite differently in the context of other traditions — shamanism or Buddhism for example.

    Likewise, I have had to cast the idea of “universal fascism” within the broader context of the Christian narrative or myth simply because the phenomenon of fascism cannot be separated from that “Grand Narrative” that has also shaped its meaning within the context of Western society and history. So, likewise “City of God” as I’ve used it above is symbolic form and a metaphor, but a necessary one in order to demonstrate the contrast between the secular ideals of universal fascism as spiritual separation and the spiritual reality of which it is but an inverted image. For as it is said, “Satan is ever the ape of God” — that is, a mimic, which means that spiritual truths are often distorted and perverted in their secular interpretation, for time does attempt to mimic eternity.

    So… no need to rush out and get baptised and suddenly become all pious and religious for fear of your mortal soul after viewing the video and taking in the man’s words. The real point is to understand the inky “Blackness” or Void or Nihil that the man experienced and realise (as he later did) that this abyss was his own life — a life where, as Seth put it, the ego consciousness has become separated from its roots and from the real source of its life and being. The Christian allusions are valid, but so are other descriptions of the experience in other contexts just as valid (for example, the same experience is described in Castaneda, but in terms that might make it seem to contradict Mickey Robinson’s Christianised description of it). William Blake, for example, did describe his own experience of this in more artistic and poetic terms than in theological ones. Likewise, Nietzsche experienced the same thing as his “stare into the abyss”, and this blackness is called “the abysmal” or the “abomination of desolation” or otherwise as Nihil. The state of separation is, in effect, the condition of narcissism.

    With that advisory out of the way, the video can be viewed at

  2. Scott Preston says :

    By the way, why men of pronounced spiritual insight such as Rudolph Steiner and Jean Gebser were marked by the fascists and Nazis needs to be accounted for in light of the above post, for some have often drawn attention to the overt or covert occultism of the Nazis (especially) and have confused this occultism with the more esoteric teachings of men like Jung, Steiner, or Gebser. (The tendency to cultism and occultism in Nazism was partially scrutinised by Louis Pawels and Jacques Bergier in a book entitled Morning of the Magicians).

    Nazi occultism, however, was concerned with magic, not with spiritual insight or enlightenment which was anti-thetical to its aims and purposes, which was the pursuit of power (there is a connection between the words “Macht” and “magic” as well as English “make”). It won’t do to confuse the “esoteric” with the occult. That’s sloppy. The occult is concerned with the secretive, hidden, and veiled, which tendency is contrary to that of enlightenment or transparency as unveiling. For similar reasons, it won’t do to confuse Blake’s esoteric art and poetry with “the occult”. So what is called “esoteric” is completely contrary to what is called “occult”, as unveiling is contrary to veiling, or the transparent/translucent is contrary to opacity.

    • Scott Preston says :

      It’s just come to my attention that Gary Lachman has penned a book entitled Politics and the Occult: The Right, the Left, and the Radically Unseen which also addresses the themes of fascism and the occult. I haven’t read it, but it might be of interest.

  3. Abdulmonem says :

    When the story of man, no longer reflects the story of god, in other words when the human refuses to live his story as depicted to him by god, blindness is the consequence. Christianity tried to move the western man from the limitation of the culture and race and was successful as you said for awhile, only to relapse again in the ugly confines of culture and race. The different centralism you mentioned. This is not the story of the western civilization only but the story of all prior civilizations. It is strange as if humanity does not learn , that is why it repeats the same mistake always. It is stupid to think that in this game of life there is no referee or accountability. Again it is the story of god through man and not the story of man away from the root. The flowers look at the human race and cry, and few are the aware who feel that everything is being watched. The five blind eyes are watching or try to watch everyone and god has on watchers, what an absurdity!

  4. Abdulmonem says :

    Ibn Araba emphasized the linkage of the three stories, the divine, the human and the cosmos and said any disconnection will result in all types of diseases. The idea of the linkage must be understood as having all sort of other implications, not only for the creator-creation or the divine-human relationship but also for all our perceptive relationships. In this context humanity and the cosmos have no meaning outside His creative imagination which tells Him, of naught but himself and the other is nothing but his presence. The formless seek the form to express the unseen. The mutual urge of him through me and my given I through his original I. He prays for me and I pray for him. I am the formal support of god . the representative image, the theophany of his imagination, He creates and the human creates, no wonder the world is full with human creations and innovations. The problem rises when we forget His creations. that is disconnect.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Yes, “disconnect” would have the same sense as separation or apartness.

      By the way, the se- prefix in many English words pertains to the state of separation, including the word “Self”. (as well as “se-parate” itself). Other words with the se- prefix which serve to indicate the state of apartness or isolation are secret, seclusion, segregate, senses, seduce, sect and sectarian, and so on — the negation of the originary unity or root.

      One could say, in a sense, that the Modern Era is suffering from root rot.

      • Scott Preston says :

        I might add, Abdulmonem, that it is quite true what Mohammed says that God has left no people without guidance. That’s because that guidance is in the structure of language itself — in the map of grammatical relations. It is for that reason that Rosenstock-Huessy states that “God is the power that makes men speak” or why, even as early as the 12th century in the Christian era, it was said “Vox populi, vox Dei” — “the voice of the people is the voice of God”. The Hindus also say, that if one were to arrive at the root of language, it would be the same as enlightenment.

        One could write quite a very interesting history of how “vox populi, vox Dei” gave credence to democracy even as far back as the 12th century — even that time when what is now called “Europe” (but then only known as “Christendom”) was beginning to emerge from the great 600 year European “Dark Age”. It was a time when speech and grammar became central to the concerns and interests of the time — rhetoric, logic and articulation all formed the “Trivium” of grammar, and it was only later that this core concern — the Trivium — was debased by the rationalistic mind to “trivial”. Yet, the Trivium played a major role in lifting Europe out of the Dark Age.

        So, yes, you could say that God has left no people without guidance — if they care to look for it in the structure of “the Word”.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Just occurs to me this morning that “Babylon” (as used in the Bible and by Blake) is the City of Man in a state of separation or apartness, equivalent in those terms to the ego-consciousness that has become rootless or estranged from the source (that source which Gebser calls “ever-present origin”). In that sense, Babylon is akin to the state of the Prodigal Son at the lowest nadir of his existence in the Land of Forgetfulness — the time-world (saeculum) — without remembrance of its arising from eternity (which is “Jerusalem” or City of God or “aeternitas”). Babylon and Jerusalem are symbols of spiritual states.

      Hence Blake’s “Heaven in a Wild Flower and Eternity in the Hour” pertains equally to the City of God and the City of Man, or the eternal and the secular, or the infinite and the finite. Babylon is the secular city of the land Blake calls “Ulro”, which is opaqueness and separation and abyss (for the early Jews associated Babylon with exile, and this became a natural symbol for the kind of spiritual exile of the Prodigal Son and the longing for “Zion” or “home”.

      As such the “abomination of desolation” is the condition of consciousness become homelessness — the Prodigal Son become a swineherd who lives and eats with the pigs until he comes to remembrance of himself.

      “Universal Fascism” would be Babylon.

  5. LittleBigMan says :

    I concur with the man in the video about his description of the “golden river of light,” and his impression that that river entity was going to take care of him.

    I had a dream once – and I am pretty sure I have mentioned it here on The Chrysalis before – that I approached an ocean of luminous filaments and as I submerged in it, I felt its healing and rejuvenating properties.

    Pardon me, but I am a bit confused when I read that “Babylon and Jerusalem are symbols of spiritual states.” followed by “”Universal Fascism” would be Babylon.”

    Does that imply that “Universal Fascism is a spiritual state”? It probably doesn’t mean that, but it reads like that 🙂

    • Scott Preston says :

      Does that imply that “Universal Fascism is a spiritual state”? It probably doesn’t mean that, but it reads like that

      Yes, it does mean that. Heaven and Hell are spiritual states. I know the word “spiritual” has been weighted down with baggage over the course of time, and is probably best avoided, although we do, after all, know what is meant when we recognise some person or animal as “spirited”. We mean animated. The German words “Geist” and “geistlich” might be better suited, but they come with their own baggage as well after the fascist period.

      I just received a book in the mail that I will be diving into in the next little while. It is by Eugen Kogon and is called The Theory and Practice of Hell and is about the Nazi period and the system it constructed. But it is, nonetheless, a spiritual state or condition.

      I’ve preferred to use the contrast of awareness versus ideology to describe what are, in effect, contradictory spiritual states or, as we might put it, union versus separation or apartness. Correspondingly, even in the depths of his degradation, the Prodigal Son is still in a spiritual state, even if that state is a state of separation, or what is called “Babylon”.

      The current fashion to distinguish between “spiritual life” and “religious life” is a bit of a distortion (as in, “I’m not religious, but I am spiritual”). What this statement attempts to convey is a distinction between “religious” as meaning ideology (or dogma, belief) and awareness or the practice of cultivating awareness. So, the distinction between “spiritual” and “religious” might be put in terms of “awareness” or “observance”.

      Here is where the Old Testament Book of Job is very relevant. Job suffers because he has confused “spiritual” and “religious”. The Spirit shows him that he is wrong to think that merely observing the letter of the law or obeying the commandments [that is, being “moral”] is the same as living the truths of the spirit.

      This confusion is somewhat understandable given the multiple ambiguities of the word “religion” itself, for its meaning is contained in the etymology of the word, and there is a double descent from the Latin “re-legere” or “re-ligare”. There is great depth of meaning in this ambiguity, for one means to “gather together” or “re-connect” — a “return to the source”, as it were — while the other means “to tie” or “to bind” and pertains to mere ritual observance of the law. So, one line of significance has meanings of healing or wholeness or recovery, while the other line of significance emphasises ritual observance or the law (“lex” or “legal” being one related term to the meanings of legere or ligare). Legere or ligare are related, also to a host of other meanings — such as “ligament” or “intelligence”, “legation”, “legislation”, and so on.

      This ambiguity in the meaning of the word “religion” has been, in itself, the cause of many “wars of religion”. The reflexive prefix “re-” signifies a “return” or a “turning back” or “turning around”, but is in itself ambiguous, as in the word “re-member” or “re-membrance”, for “re-member” can also mean mere ritual observance (‘memorialism’ we might call it) or it can mean recovery from a state of dis-memberment.

      Come to think of it, I should write up a whole article on the meaning of “religion”, because it is in the very ambiguity of the word that the distinction “spiritual” versus “religious” resides.

      • LittleBigMan says :

        Very profound and enlightening. Thank you.

        “Heaven and Hell are spiritual states.” That drove it home for me.

        P.S. I’m going to bed early tonight since I have a long road trip ahead of me tomorrow. I’ve got to go pay my annual Christmas dues and I will be gone for a while. Very Merry Christmas, everyone. 🙂

  6. Abdulmonem says :

    It is both, going to one side is the fall, that is the mistake of Job, Embracing perceptively both, eradicate the so-called ambiguity and irradiate the road to contentment.

  7. Abdulmonem says :

    I like to add that realizing the original actor in our life is essential in understanding our action in life. Forgetting the other actor is the first step in narcissism. To be aware that there is another force that activate my force is our path to self-realization.

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