The fate of language is very much connected with issues of “chaotic transition”, and on this Christmas Eve I wanted to draw attention to some of the parallels between the indigenous Sacred Hoop and the Christian cross and the prophesies associated with each, and with “the Word” (or Logos) that is common to both — especially the meaning of the Christ spirit as archetypal Healer, and correspondingly the Mender of the Sacred Hoop.
The story of the birth of the Christ as Logos is the story of the child who will come to take on, and ascend to, the cross and fulfill his destiny as the image of the “vital centre” and the literal “crux of the matter”. Equally so, “the Sacred Hoop is in language”, say the elders, and the ideal human is likewise he or she who “speaks from the centre of the voice”, which is the centre of the Sacred Hoop and therefore identical also with the Word or Logos that integrates and brings order to chaos or heals and mends the Sacred Hoop by inspired, articulating speech. Articulation is integration. The inarticulate and incoherent is chaos and is synonymous with “breaking the Sacred Hoop” or disruption/corruption.
This morning I read in The Guardian a somewhat less than spirited and rousing defence of the status quo by a self-described “liberal conservative” named Ryan Shorthouse (“Don’t blame the elite — that’s the politics of nihilism and envy”). I wanted to highlight this particular piece because it illustrates in a nutshell the bewilderment and perplexity of the defenders of the status quo and elite rule in the face of the rising tide of populist “anti-establishmentarianism” whether of the left or the right.
The politics of crisis make for strange bed-fellows, and now even those who were once critical of the status quo and of power elites rally around a conservative figure like Angela Merkel as the last bastion of a besieged modernity and a bulwark of sanity against as rising sea of madness largely driven by the authoritarian right. All of this has happened in 2016. It was a very strange year, befitting Webster’s awarding of the “word of the year” to “surreal”.
Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.
They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:
They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:
They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.
They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them. — Psalms 115:4-8
Mankind, which in Homer’s time was an object of contemplation for the Olympian gods, now is one for itself. Its self-alienation has reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order. This is the situation of politics which Fascism is rendering aesthetic. — Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction“
I want to reach back, today, to resurrect an earlier theme — its main theme in fact — from The Dark Age Blog, particularly the relationship between idolatry, “culture of narcissism”, and self-alienation, for they are interweaving issues and processes. The Psalmist’s denunciation of the idols, Walter Benjamin’s observations on self-alienation, and Christopher Lasch’s “culture of narcissism” are all riffs on a common theme, including Nietzsche’s objections to our “flowing out into a God”. In many respects also, fundamentalism and reductionism are also implicated in idolatry and self-alienation. In effect self-alienation is idolatry, and idolatry is narcissism.
I have, on occasion, mentioned Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy’s study of the European Revolutions entitled Out of Revolution: Autobiography of Western Man. It’s one of the works in which he applies his “grammatical method” to the study of history, in this instance the Modern Era as Age of Revolutions and how precedents established in the Renaissance and the Reformation made the subsequent revolutions of the modern era — the Lutheran, the English Civil War, the French, and the Russian Revolutions — necessary and logically consequential. The new image of man represented in Renaissance humanism and the rebirth of the Greek Mind meant a complete revaluation of the human form, and a remaking of the human form, in all its members — mind, body, soul, and spirit — in the image of Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man.
Consciousness arises here and now. This here and now is called “ever-present origin”. And in its arising consciousness directs its attention backwards and forwards as time; and in its arising it directs its attention inwards and outwards as the spaces. This orientation towards reality is thus fourfold — the trajective, prejective, subjective, and objective attentions and orientations, or backwards, forwards, inwards, and outwards.
And its looking backwards and forwards is called “synchronisation”; and its looking inwards and outwards is called “coordination”. Its synchronisation of the times is an integration into presence; and its coordination of the spaces is an integration into presence. Successful synchronisation of all times past and all times future, and successful coordination of all space inner and all space outer — this is called “presentiation” and is the “integral consciousness” or also “cosmic consciousness”.
It is of some interest to note that the word “paradigm”, so much bandying about these days, was first used in relation to the study of grammar by the Alexandrian Greeks (so did the word “technology”. It was originally applied to language or grammar as “reasoning about the means” or “art” — the logos of the techne). Para + digma — or draw or sketch beside — described the familiar organisation into two columns of the persons of grammar into the familiar tripartite singular and tripartite plural forms — I, you, he (she, it) in one perpendicular column and then we, you, they in a second perpendicular column.
This was literally the first “paradigm”, and set the keystone, Rosenstock-Huessy has argued, for that triangulating form of logic that made for “the Greek Mind” or “euclidean mind” later to be resurrected in the Renaissance as perspectivist consciousness. The trouble is, that this paradigm of grammar — or grammatical and speech relations — is wrong. And herein lies the essential deficiency of the perspective consciousness and the flaw of the “Greek Mind”. It is also the essential flaw of Ken Wilber’s misunderstanding of the integral “paradigm” too, as organised in his AQAL (All Quadrants, All Level) paradigm. It simply replicates the same error committed by the Alexandrian Greeks.