Election and Selection

Elections could be, and should be, ideal events for educating the public in the principles of democracy and for renewing the electorate’s confidence in their democratic institutions. Instead, elections have become Theatre of the Absurd, and largely because of the decadence of the intelligentsia whose specific responsibility it is in the social process to serve as teachers,  watchmen, and the guardians. That is to say, to “enlighten” and to illuminate.

But they have all largely abandoned their posts, having succumbed to partisan powerlust themselves at our “end of history”. That is to say, they have become “courtiers”, or what we otherwise call “hacks”, “flacks”, and “wonks”. This, too, reflects that old saying about “too clever by half” and is a symptom of “the mental-rational consciousness now functioning in deficient mode”. I’m pretty sure that’s also the import of Bob Dylan’s enigmatic song “All Along the Watchtower“.

As you might have noticed, I’m very combative by nature. Hence my online moniker “longsword”. Some benighted souls have confused that as being a boast about my virility. No. Nothing to do with that. The moniker is taken in homage to Blake’s poem “The New Jerusalem”

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.

Blake’s poem suits my mood and my nature. I slay Orcs. I don’t shrink from mental combat. I take the fight to my spiritual foe, the political reactionary. I go for the jugular. I decapitate. And I’ve gotten pretty good at that over time. Skill in logic. Skill in reasoning. Skill in discernment and in discerning truth from falsehood. Hone your blade to a fine edge and it will serve you well. Even Jesus “brought a sword”, and his tongue is depicted as being a “two-edged sword”.

So don’t shrink from combat. It’s no coincidence that many of the so-called “mystical” orders began as military organisations. The Sufis were originally a chivalrous order of Arab knights. And the very name “Bodhisattva” has a connection with the meaning “soldier”. In times of social crisis, when darkness threatens, “Read! Study! Think!” and then speaking your truth should be your calling. Don’t shrink from that. Hone your blade.

By “orcery”, and in saying that the longsword decapitates and slays Orcs, I am of course making reference to Tolkein, too. What’s an Orc? An Orc was once an Elf, but was deformed and perverted in being seduced by the Ring of Power, succumbing to powerlust, and going over to “the Dark Side”. In other words, by orcery I mean duplicity, and something similar to Khayyam’s Caution: “only a hair separates the false from the true”. The Orc is a representation of “truthiness” in that respect, as being deformed and perverted Elf.

Serving the literal Darkness is the lure and seduction that Samuel Huntington advises,

“The architects of power in the United States must create a force that can be felt but not seen. Power remains strong when it remains in the dark; exposed to the sunlight it begins to evaporate.”

That “dark” is my spiritual enemy. Huntington’s invitation to literally “come over to the Dark Side” is the fight of my life. That’s the counsel of the forked-tongue, and that’s “orcery”. So, let your tongue rather be “a two-edged sword” and not the forked-tongue. The martial virtues, in their proper place, will serve you and society well. So pitch your tent on the highest ground, but prepare for combat at dawn.

Orcery is the willful obstruction of the dawn and the light. Mr. Huntington’s “architects of power” I call the “reactionary”, and therefore describe my own politics as being “counter-reactionary”. There should be no confusion about what the darkness is. Mr. Huntington has made it explicit. It’s velation rather than revelation, delusion rather than illumination. “Power remains strong when it remains in the dark” is opacity, where translucency and “diaphaneity” is wanted. The “noble lie” willfully promotes superstition about power where clarity and reason are needed. To confound reason and to perplex perception — to obstruct and prevent insight, foresight or hindsight altogether which we today call “perception management” — that belongs to Mr. Huntington’s darkness of power. That is orcery. The occultation of power promotes supersition about power. It’s an attack on the light, and on reason and consciousness itself.

Mr. Huntington’s darkness is no different, in that respect, than Mr. Harper’s “executive democracy”

Journalists make lousy politicians because they think they always need to tell the truth.

Leaving aside whether that’s true of all journalists (it’s not), that quote actually says more about Mr. Harper’s politics than about the deficiencies of the journalists and the media or the bloggers. Apparently, in Mr. Harper’s world, speaking the truth is a defect. Clarity is to be avoided. That’s the voice of the forked-tongue. That’s the result of powerlust and the power-mad. That’s what I call “orcery”. And I don’t “resist” it. I attack it.

An election “campaign” should be the opportunity to cast the light into that darkness. It has become the complete opposite, rather. The darkness is swallowing the light. If “duplicity is the currency of the day” it also has a lot to do with the cynicism of the intelligentsia at “the end of history”. That cynicism is a symptom of the exhaustion of values and vision, of a consciousness structure that has exhausted its possibilities and has exceeded its shelf-life and sell-by date.

“The ceremony of innocence is drowned”, Yeats wrote in his poem “The Second Coming.” That’s what cynicism and cynical reason is. Yeats is right about the loss of innocence. It is the loss of the vital centre as the ego consciousness becomes more partisan, more biased, more unbalanced. Yeats’ state of innocence corresponds to the centre of the cross of reality, which is the Falconer in his poem. “Innocence” means that the consciousness remains fluid in all its particulars — is not yet partisan or sectarian or prejudiced.

In fact, Rumi’s “emptiness” and the state of “innocence” are pretty much the same.

Essence is emptiness, All else accidental
Emptiness brings peace to your loving, All else disease
In this world of trickery, Emptiness is what your soul wants.

Substitute here “innocence” for “emptiness” and it amounts to the same thing. Essence is innocence. But “essence” is the vital centre, and the vital centre corresponds to the centre of the cross of reality.

Any voter in an election stands at the centre of that cross of reality, and must decide between apparently competing alternatives and priorities. In this way, society as a whole attempts to rebalance its cross of reality. Shall we “stay the course” or shall we alter course? Is there too much emphasis on this and not enough on that? Conservatism, liberalism, socialism, and environmentalism are four aspects of one single social process in circulation and articulation, corresponding to family, individual, community, and nature (the body or health). Not one is “truer” than the other.

That is so because the human form is also fourfold and forms a cross, that being conceived in terms of “mind, body, soul, and spirit”. The whole man or woman is a fourfoldness, and “integrity” is the balance of these factors in consciousness and society. For the ancient Greeks, this was expressed as the four elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. The “luminiferous aether” was proposed as the quintessence that unified the others. But that “luminiferous aether” was always the integrating consciousness itself. The Logos of Heraclitus was this quintessence (or fifth element) they sought to account for the order and balance of the elements, but this they didn’t really understand, and perhaps not even when the disciple John identified that Logos with Christ consciousness.

In an election, the “vote” is the logos, too. “The Word”. It may be yes or no, affirmation or negation. But every voter is in the same situation who must rebalance the cross of reality and select between competing elements. Is there too much “Air” or too little “Earth”, or too much “Fire” and not enough “Water”. This is the “crucial” decision because it is the centre of a cross or crux. This is the real situation of a voter in a democracy. But this is not being made explicit because of bias, prejudice, ignorance and cynicism.

Election is selection. Is there too much socialism or not enough socialism? Is there too much conservatism or not enough ? Is there too much liberalism or not enough liberalism? Is there too much emphasis on the environment or not enough emphasis on the environment? In each of these questions, the voter must decide whether the political emphasis on community, family, individual or nature has become excessive, and attempt to correct the deficiency or imbalance the results from too much emphasis on one or the other.

It’s true. In hoc signo vinces. Only, this was never really understood in its real meaning, and suffered grotesque distortion and corruption. “In this sign conquer” meant the conquest of the light over darkness and chaos. Every voter is in the same situation who must rebalance the cross of reality and redress any imbalance. The very word “Vote” means “voice”, of course. To give your “yes” or your “no” is a very profound act. But it must be executed with sobriety and clarity in a situation where everybody, for partisan interests or powerlusts, is trying to bewitch and confuse and perplex.



One response to “Election and Selection”

  1. LittleBigMan says :

    A lovely essay, indeed. As a longtime reader of longsword, I know all those attributes, especially being combative, are very true of him. Of course, I think that’s because Scottish blood runs through his veins, too; methinks. 🙂

    Yes, indeed, even one longsword can change an entire nation. I have always believed that a small army of 10,000 longswords could save a nation of 80 million somewhere 🙂

    As for Huntington’s work, well, when I read his “Clash of Civilizations,” some years back, I saw him with a pair of scissors cutting out some 20,000 newspaper headlines and plastering the walls of his bedroom with it. Then, he walked around and looked at that patchwork of a wallpaper and dreamed a connection between all those headlines and then sat down and wrote about it as a matter of fact. In other words, with that work, he deceived and blinfolded himself first and foremost, and then dug a deep spiritual hole in the ground and was himself the first to fall into it. In my opinion, Huntington’s work is emblematic of “Theater of the Absurd.”

    It seems to me the voting process has become entirely corrupt because there are no good options on the ballot. Whatever happened to Ross Perot, and later Elizabeth Warren who, as an insider, told people that “the game is rigged”? All the good people are filtered out, and no wonder why the key issues continue to persist from election to election. I mean if this was a home and a crisis persisted from month to month and year to year, no one would doubt that the home would be in disarray and become dysfunctional. But this sort of dysfunctionality is tolerated, somehow, in the house of politics.

    I guess it’s probably because it’s not them and their families who are suffering. By the way, the Obama administration just approved of Shell’s drilling for oil off of Alaska’s shores. Isn’t that what Sarah Palin was in favor of, too? 🙂

    I guess, then, that democrats are the same as republicans, only in slow motion 🙂

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