When I visit some of the “progressive” news sites these days — sites like Information Clearinghouse, Truth Out, Truthdig, or Common Dreams or even a “progressive” newspaper like The Guardian — I’m struck by the sense of malaise they seem to exude. The mood is in stark contrast to their earlier firey and luminous combativeness, during the dark days of the neo-conservative ascendency, when they served as conduits of vital information, exposing webs of deceit and concealment in high places, or of delusions, self-deception, and conceits more generally.
Now, they seem directionless and characterised by drift, revealing what has become an essential irony of the “progressives”: they need the darkness to thrive, and just as much as the political and social reactionary needs the boogey-man of “cultural Marxism” to define his or her own identity as “conservative”.
Now I a fourfold vision see
And a fourfold vision is given to me;
Tis fourfold in my supreme delight
And threefold in soft Beulahs night
And twofold Always. May God us keep
From Single vision & Newtons sleep!
(William Blake, “Letter to Thomas Butts”)
In today’s Guardian, the author Philip Pullman has published an article expressing his appreciation for William Blake. And I happened, also today, to come across a talk given by the previously mentioned Dr. Haridas Chaudhuri, author of The Evolution of Integral Consciousness. Chaudhuri’s talk is posted online and is called “Supramental Meditation“.
This happy confluence of Pullman’s article on the consciousness of William Blake and Chaudhuri’s talk on “supramental meditation” suggested to me yet another approach to the interpretation of “integral consciousness” as the meaning of Blake’s “fourfold vision”; or, the mandala of human action and the human form.
It’s time, I think, to revisit a theme that I made central to the concerns of the old Dark Age Blog, the predecessor to The Chrysalis. Here, in weighing and assessing the respective powers of the symbolical and diabolical, we are at the very crux of things — of creation and destruction, integration and disintegration, affirmation and negation, eros and thanatos, the formal and the informal, time and eternity, and the finite and the infinite.
This is the play of the symbolic and the diabolic. In speaking of the symbolic power or force, we are referring to the integrative or creative tendency (which is called the “cosmic”). In speaking of the diabolic power or force, we are referring to the disintegrative or destructive tendency which moves in the contrary direction (which is called “chaos” or “nihil”). These can, in some fashion, be compared to centripetal and centrifugal force.
A recent comment by a reader reminded me to mention Haridas Chaudhrui’s short book entitled The Evolution of Integral Consciousness. I would commend Chaudhuri’s book as a good primer for the study of emergent integral consciousness. It should wet your appetite preliminary to tackling the larger questions and issues as raised by Jean Gebser or Sri Aurobindo.
And on that note, I’m going to turn to re-reading it myself, as it has been a few years.
Yes. “Metathesiophobia” is a word. It means “fear of change”. There’s also “chronophobia,” or “fear of time”, which might be a related phobia, or perhaps the same phobia. I came across these curiosities on a peculiar website called “The Phobia List”. As you can see from the list, there appears to be a hell of a lot of things for human beings to be phobic or anxious about.
Apparently, metathesiophobia is derived from the word “metathesis“, Greek for “transposition”, and having somewhat the meaning of “put in a different order”, or a dis-order. The term is more commonly used in linguistics to describe the re-arrangement (or de-rangement) of phonemes (sound units) in a word.
“The Proverbs of Hell” are a famous collection of often quite profound epigrammes published by William Blake in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Many of them are quite cryptic and enigmatic. Blake claims to have heard them in “vision”. Blake also claims to have read the Bible in “Hell” in its “infernal” aspect, also in vision. This, he says, will come to the knowledge of mankind in this New Age as a revelation, and “which the world shall have whether they will or no”. That means, apocalyptically… even catastrophically.
Those aren’t the rantings of a lunatic. I understand what he means. In some ways, long before Nietzsche had forecast the advent of his “two centuries of nihilism”, Blake had already foreseen it.