Rising Tide or Ebb? The Arrogance of Ignorance.

I know that the so-called “alt-right” thinks of itself as a global “rising tide” — a rising tide of “Universal Fascism” — and not as the final ebbing away of the Modern Era (which is what they actually are: symptoms of the degeneracy and decadence of the Modern Era now negating itself). I’m pretty sure they have mistaken themselves as being something they are not — not the avant-garde of a global ethno-nationalist “awakening” that is, in reality, only a species of collective narcissism and the logical end result of a “culture of narcissism” — but a species of ignorance and of the arrogance of ignorance. This arrogance of ignorance is, in time, going to be their undoing.

Frankly, after over a dozen years blogging about the strange, the ominous, the forbidding through The Dark Age Blog and the present Chrysalis — and now watching all that come to pass and come to a head — I’m not sure whether I have much more to say about things and events. Current events have overtaken me, and have also taken the breath out of me and the wind out of my sails…. with the worst of it yet to come.

I’m sure that they are the grave-diggers of the Modern Era and not an avant-garde at all. All fascist or fascistic regimes in history have proven themselves to be transient and temporary, not only because of this arrogance of ignorance (for, indeed, it is true that “pride goeth before a fall”) but because they mistook themselves for a “rising tide” whereas, in reality, they were merely “revolutions of nihilism”. That is to say, they were only a means by which an Age that had outlasted its shelf-life and over-lived itself, and which didn’t know how to transition peaceably,  finally rid itself of itself.

This is not an avant-garde. It is the culminating logic — the final form of the disease — that is Nietzsche’s “two centuries of nihilism”. I know that many of them (such as Mr. Yiannopoulos, a poseur who pretends Nietzsche and Thomas Mann are his models) believe otherwise, but they are deluded about that. And isn’t Mr. Yiannopoulos — an internet troll become an alt-right pundit and “celebrity” — a fitting example of the arrogance of ignorance? They do not know themselves.

Until societies learn the secret of how to die at the right time — the secret of death and resurrection — such devils, nihilists and “grave-diggers” will always be unfortunately necessary. But they are no more than that. They are to an older and exhausted form of society what apoptosis is to the cellular organism. They fulfill the logic of the thanatic dynamic that Jean Gebser referred to as “the law of the Earth”.

It is not a rising tide. It is an ebbing and a waning away — a self-emptying; a self-negation, a wrecking crew is all.



41 responses to “Rising Tide or Ebb? The Arrogance of Ignorance.”

  1. Antonio Dias says :

    So well put!

    They have taken the “wind out of our sails” when it comes to providing a call of warning. It’s hard to outdo the job being done by our culture’s “grave-diggers” in this regard. This does mean we are now free to find clear-air, to use another sailor’s expression. This does take time and attention. Letting go of chasing a dying breeze gives us that time and frees our attention.

    Here’s hoping you keep writing!

  2. InfiniteWarrior says :

    Current events have overtaken me, and have also taken the breath out of me and the wind out of my sails….

    With (perhaps) the best yet to come.

    2017 will likely see the unraveling speed up even more. We must not think this is the end of the world, but a transition from a system that is no longer coherent to a new one that is yet to be born. Alongside all the pain, we face a historic possibility for an evolutionary leap forward, for building a global culture in alignment with all fellow beings and the Earth. To see this potential, we must learn to shift the focus from what breaks down to what wants to break through….

    Even though lots of attention is absorbed by the catastrophes, there has never been as much knowledge for creating a regenerative, collaborative and nonviolent world as today. People across the globe – inventors, ecologists, futuristic communities, artists, living experiments – have long been working for another possible direction of global development in different areas. A planetary community is slowly emerging beyond the old limitations of religions, cultures and ideologies; people in all different pockets of this world working in service for the greater good of all – on restoring nature, on building decentralized autonomous settlements, regenerative economies, and energy technologies for a post-carbon era, but also on establishing a new relation to animals based on respect and conscious communication, forming communities of trust, healing our consciousness and freeing love from fear. These are signals for the birth of a new era. ~ Living Through an Age of Unraveling: Reflections as We Enter 2017

    Emphasis mine.

    I know you’re tired of hearing me say that, but it’s true. You’ve said so yourself…on occasion. (Okay. You’ve said maybe. But this is, I think, why Gebser, et al, left the door wide open.)

    There’s too much going on out there to allow a huckster and an extremist minority — yes, I said minority! — to get you down.

    It’s one thing to be aware of the whys and wherefores of collapse; it’s quite another to obsess over them. (Not saying you are. Just saying.)

    • Scott Preston says :

      I think you missed the point of this post. It was explicit, I thought — an ebbing away, and not about a rising tide which mistakes itself for an “awakening”. The ebbing away was the theme of this post.

      Still, we are allowed to grieve for that loss, for as I pointed out to abdulmonem below, those who have never grieved have never really lived.

  3. mikemackd says :

    Yesterday I found online these final words from Lewis Mumford’s 1951 work, “The Conduct of Life”. Here and now, they seem apropos:

    Only those who have confronted the present crisis in all its dimensions will have the strength to repent of their own sins and those of their community, to confront and overcome the evils that threaten us, and to re-affirm the goods of the past that will serve as foundation for the goods of the future that we have still to create. For those who have undergone these changes, life is good and the expansion and intensification of life is good. To live actively through every organ and still remain whole: to identify oneself loyally with the community and yet emerge from it, with free choices and new goals: to live fully in the moment and to possess in that moment all that eternity might bring: to re-create in one’s consciousness the whole in which man lives and moves and has his being—these are essential parts of the new affirmation of life. The rest lies with God.

    Without fullness of experience, length of days is nothing. When fullness of life has been achieved, shortness of days is nothing. What is perhaps why the young, before they have been frustrated and lamed, have usually so little fear of death: they live by intensities that the elderly have forgotten.

    This experience of fulfillment through wholeness is the true answer to the brevity of man’s days. The awakened person seeks to live so that any day might be good enough to be his last. By the actuarial tables he knows, perhaps, that his expectation of life at birth is almost three score and ten; but he knows something more precious than this: that there are moments of such poignant intensity and fullness, moments when every part of the personality is mobilized into a single act or a single institution, that they outweigh the contents of a whole tame lifetime. Those moments are eternity; and if they are fleeting, it because men remain finite creatures whose days are measured.

    When these awakened personalities begin to multiply, the load of anxiety that hangs over the men of our present-day culture will perhaps begin to lift. Instead of gnawing dread, there will be a healthy sense of expectancy, of hope without self-deception, based upon the ability to formulate new plans and purposes: purposes which, because they grow out of a personal reorientation and renewal, will in time lead to the general replenishment of life. Such goals will not lose value through the changes that time and chance and the wills of other men will work on them, in the course of their realization; nor will the prospect of many delays and disappointments keep those who are awakened from putting them into action at the earliest opportunity. Nothing is unthinkable, nothing impossible to the balanced person, provided it arises out of the needs of life and is dedicated to life’s further development.

    Even in his most rational procedures, the balanced person allows a place for the irrational and the unpredictable: he knows that catastrophe and miracle are both possible. Instead of feeling frustrated by these uncontrollable elements, he counts upon them to quicken the adventure of life by their very unforeseeableness: they are but part of the cosmic weather whose daily challenge enlivens every activity.

    Life is itself forever precarious and unstable, and in no manner does it promise a tame idyll or a static eutopia: the new person, no less than the old, will know bafflement, tragedy, sacrifice, and defeat, as well as fulfillment—but even in desperate situations he will be saved from despair by sharing Walt Whitman’s consciousness that battles may be lost in the same spirit that they are won, and that a courageous effort consecrates an unhappy end. While the conditions he confronts are formidable, the initiative nevertheless remains with man, once he accepts his own responsibility as a guardian of life. With the knowledge man now possesses, he may control the knowledge that threatens to choke him: with the power he now commands he may control the power that would wipe him out: with the values he has created, he may replace a routine of life based upon a denial of values. Only treason to his own sense of the divine can rob the new person of his creativity.

    Harsh days and bitter nights may still lie ahead for each of us in his own person, and for mankind as a whole, before we overcome the present forces of disintegration. But throughout the world, there is a faint glow of color on the topmost twigs, the glow of the swelling buds that announce, despite the frosts and storms to come, the approach of spring: signs of life, signs of integration, signs of a deeper faith for living and of an approaching general renewal of humanity. The day and the hour are at hand when our individual purposes and ideals, re-enforced by our neighbors’, will unite in a new drama of life that will serve other men as it serves ourselves.

    The way we must follow is untried and heavy with difficulty; it will test to the utmost our faith and our powers. But it is the way toward life, and those who follow it will prevail.

  4. davidm58 says :

    Great quotes, IW and Mike. Can’t get much better than Lewis Mumford there for perspective. Here’s something from last week’s post by John Michael Greer. Not as much optimism here, but words that need to be said, probably.

    Scott himself has a great line above about fulfilling “the logic of the thanatic dynamic that Jean Gebser referred to as “the law of the Earth”.” In PatternDynamics we recognize the importance of polarities as continuums, with patterns such as Expand/Contract, Order/Chaos, and Concentration/Diffusion. “What goes up must come down; spinnin’ wheel got to go ’round,” as Blood Sweat & Tears sang. This is the “thanatic dynamic” or “law of the earth.” Greer discusses it in the terms of the “cycle of concentration and diffusion of power. The ancient Greek historian Polybius, who worked it out in detail, called it anacyclosis.”

    “… This is what the decline and fall of a civilization looks like. It’s not about sitting in a cozy earth-sheltered home under a roof loaded with solar panels, living some close approximation of a modern industrial lifestyle, while the rest of the world slides meekly down the chute toward history’s compost bin, leaving you and yours untouched. It’s about political chaos—meaning that you won’t get the leaders you want, and you may not be able to count on the rule of law or even the most basic civil liberties. It’s about economic implosion—meaning that your salary will probably go away, your savings almost certainly won’t keep its value, and if you have gold bars hidden in your home, you’d better hope to Hannah that nobody ever finds out, or it’ll be a race between the local government and the local bandits to see which one gets to tie your family up and torture them to death, starting with the children, until somebody breaks and tells them where your stash is located.

    It’s about environmental chaos—meaning that you and the people you care about may have many hungry days ahead as crazy weather messes with the harvests, and it’s by no means certain you won’t die early from some tropical microbe that’s been jarred loose from its native habitat to find a new and tasty home in you. It’s about rapid demographic contraction—meaning that you get to have the experience a lot of people in the Rust Belt have already, of walking past one abandoned house after another and remembering the people who used to live there, until they didn’t any more.

    More than anything else, it’s about loss. Things that you value—things you think of as important, meaningful, even necessary—are going to go away forever in the years immediately ahead of us, and there will be nothing you can do about it. It really is as simple as that. People who live in an age of decline and fall can’t afford to cultivate a sense of entitlement. Unfortunately, for reasons discussed at some length in one of last month’s posts, the notion that the universe is somehow obliged to give people what they think they deserve is very deeply engrained in American popular culture these days. That’s a very unwise notion to believe right now, and as we slide further down the slope, it could very readily become fatal—and no, by the way, I don’t mean that last adjective in a metaphorical sense.

    History recalls how great the fall can be, Roger Hodgson sang. In our case, it’s shaping up to be one for the record books—and those of my readers who have worked themselves up to the screaming point about the comparatively mild events we’ve seen so far may want to save some of their breath for the times ahead when it’s going to get much, much worse. ”

    • davidm58 says :

      And Greer has more to say in his most current post (as of this writing): “Perched on the Wheel of Time.”
      Greer outlines the bias of his thinking, a bit of his overarching worldview:
      “The basis of my dissident views is the theory of cyclical history—the theory, first proposed in the early 18th century by the Italian historian Giambattista Vico and later refined and developed by such scholars as Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee, that civilizations rise and fall in a predictable life cycle, regardless of scale or technological level. That theory’s not just a vague generalization, either; each of the major writers on the subject set out specific stages that appear in order, showed that these have occurred in all past civilizations, and made detailed, falsifiable predictions about how those stages can be expected to occur in our civilization. Have those panned out? So far, a good deal more often than not. ”

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      Quote from the above linked article.

      there are billions of beings on this planet who experience this unraveling as something very real and existential.

      No shit. I’m one of them.

      I will never forget (though I probably should) a comment to one of Eisenstein’s articles on Facebook that vented the same notion directly on him, saying that (more or less) while he was “playing” with his ideas under the protection that all “thinkers” have enjoyed throughout history, what he was talking about was an “existential reality” to billions of other people.

      As if Eisenstein doesn’t know that. Eisenstein has since felt it necessary (though he shouldn’t) to reveal that his own children are intimately involved in #noDAPL among other things.

      No explanations necessary, dude. “Be fruitful and multiply.”

      It’s an “existential reality” for most, if not all, of us. And I’m sick to death (as abdulmonem obviously is) of the “he said, she said, we said, they said” horsepucky that has come to dominate public discourse today.

      It’s been said that one cannot possibly understand what it means to actually be hungry — so hungry that one stops off in a neighboring field to steal(?) a couple of ears of corn (probably feed corn, but so what?) to fill his or her belly; so cold or swealteringly hot one literally cannot move from a singular spot; much less think “optimistically” about the future.

      Go there, my friends. Then, you will understand the frustration at the pretentiousness of words.

    • Scott Preston says :

      I have one problem with the cyclic view of time and history — in fact, with all forms of “eternal recurrence” — and that is it makes no place for mutations of consciousness or, in fact, of “human nature” itself. The cyclic view has a couple of weaknesses in that regard — one being it assumes nature is immutable, and likewise it assumes “human nature” is also known and immutable.

      There is, however, a couple of scenarios where cyclicity may work — one is the spiral (which corresponds to the zig-zag path), and the other is concentricity such as we find in the old Medieval depictions and in Dante. In the latter, cyclicity is coincident with “leaps” to higher orbits, as in the quantum model, with no intervening pathway between the lower orbit and the other. You might say that it’s John Lennon’s “glass onion” view, and is probably what Gebser has somewhat in mind with his notion of the “spheres” and “leaps”.

      This wouldn’t, I think, be incompatible either with Rosenstock-Huessy’s cross of reality — or the way the Sacred Hoop combines both expansion in the cruciform with containment through the circle. Even Rosenstock-Huessy spoke of “circulation” in relation to the stations of his “cross of reality” despite denying the validity of Toynbee’s or Spengler’s views of time.

      In those terms, I think Greer is, perhaps, wrong, for his views omit the possibility of mutation or leap in the sense the Gebser uses it, and Gebser is, I think, clearly thinking of the quantum view when he speaks of “intensification” of energy as corresponding to the mutuation or “leap” because that’s what happens in the atom — the famous “quantum leap” through an influx of new energy into a system.

      This influx of new energy sounds all very well and good, but it’s also what happened with Gebser’s example of the meeting of Monctezuma and Cortes, or of the Sacred Hoop with European colonisation. The Sacred Hoop shattered, but, in some ways, it was simply undergoing a “quantum leap”.itself, even though this looked like a shattering of the star-cross. That symbol has itself mutated into something with a new meaning that it didn’t have before — no longer just about “Turtle Island” but a global symbol.

      There is another case in which time’s cyclicity is denied, and that is the saying “nothing comes from nothing. God creates the world from nothing”. This definitely allows for the absolutely new to emerge at any time, if we assume that creation is an ongoing event, and not a once-and-for-all immutable happening in the past.

      • Risto says :

        I don’t know if this is relevant, but I just finished watching Groundhog’s Day (for the third time or something like that). In the movie the main character Phil gets out of the loop, only when he realises, that he has to make his life meaningful by growing as a human being. So the eternal recurrence is there to teach Phil a lesson. I think the movie depicts very beautifully the spiral model, you mentioned.

        Speaking of popular culture, I think readers of Chrysalis could interested in television series named Westworld. It handles profoundly questions about conscioussness, AI, etc.

        • InfiniteWarrior says :

          The Mass Effect series has broached these subjects as well. One can scarcely read or watch anything about it without running across heated arguments about whether or not the Geth and AI based on quantum computing, e.g. EDI, are actually “alive.” Not something I care to be involved in, but interesting.

          • Risto says :

            Interesting indeed, unfortunately these modern computer and console games are too time consuming to get involved in. Thanks for the tip though!

            • InfiniteWarrior says :

              modern computer and console games are too time consuming to get involved in

              I had to titter a bit at that. This is somewhat true, and by design. Whether conscious or not, I’m not sure, but it’s a subject of some criticism in the gaming community. While I’m not typically in favor of speed runs and shortcuts, there are elements in many video games — especially RPGs — that make them far more time consuming than necessary. The gaming industry has come to almost pride itself on the selling point that ‘gamers have spent x-amount of time in our game.’ Once you’ve played a few, however, you learn what to avoid (mostly pointless “stuff to do”) in order to prevent them from becoming time sinks.

              Regardless their often unearned reputation, though, I consider the best of them art on a par with poetry, literature and film.

            • InfiniteWarrior says :

              I should add (for the interested) that this ‘debate’ over whether AI might be considered alive is precipitated in my view by the fact that every dialogue choice, every conversation, every interaction with “synthetics” is heavily weighted toward one conclusion.

              I love Legion myself, but the “conversations” I had with him (and EDI) in ME3 got on my nerves after a while. It was pretty obvious to me they were just being anthropomorphized to death. Shepard was always saying something like “you deceived them,” “you were ashamed,” “you were afraid” and “your people panicked.” At least, Legion’s response to “you were afraid” was, “We do not experience fear as you would, but have no desire to be exterminated.”

              Quantum computing, otoh… That could very well raise some pretty sticky ethical conundrums.

      • davidm58 says :

        Yes, I totally agree with your stated “problem with the cyclic view of time and history,” but forgot to point out this caveat. This is why I “religiously” follow your blog, and less faithfully read Greer’s. And why I like Gebser’s and Peter Pogany’s view of cultural history so much.

        My current view is that people tend to get overly focused on one type of natural pattern, that they become kind of blinded to other important natural patterns. I think Greer’s focus on the Cycle Pattern is very good in a way, because it’s a pretty unpopular approach right now, and it offers much needed perspective. But you’re right, he puts so much emphasis on it that he has no place for mutations of consciousness. On the other hand, many Wilberian integralists have a fixation on the Evolution Pattern, that they only see linear progress onward and upward. Wilber himself has to go into contortions to explain the backwards, chaotic move that Trump’s election demonstrates (and he uses it as another excuse to hammer “green” post-modernism for it’s failure to fulfill it’s role to move evolution forward). [For those interested, see Wilber’s unsatisfying new ebook on “Trump and a Post-Truth World” – http://integral-life-home.s3.amazonaws.com/Trump%20and%20a%20Post-Truth%20World.pdf?mc_cid=7bc27b87f1&mc_eid=d92ef6d5eb ]

        Gebser and Peter Pogany put more emphasis on the Bifurcation, Adaptation, and Emergence Patterns.

        The modern mainstream puts all their eggs in the Growth Pattern basket, and there are some who focus on Power. For myself, I have tended to prioritize Pulse, and more recently the Expand/Contract polarity.

        Nothing wrong with having special interests to explore more deeply, but seeing the Whole and how all these Patterns work together, and to work to balance and integrate them for health is very much a worthy integral project.


        • Scott Preston says :

          Thanks for the link to Wilber’s book on Trump. I’m looking forward to reading it and having some fun seeing how Wilber manages his mental acrobatics this time.

          • davidm58 says :

            I still have 10 pages to go in reading The Wilber ebook. And then there are the responses…

            The Missing Nuance: A Four Part Critique – Ken Wilber and the Misuse of Statistics by David Lane

            A Self-Help Guide for Democrats by Frank Visser. Visser notes that “By painting an ink-black picture of the troubled state of green, he makes it very easy for himself to present a massive step back as a necessary and healthy maneuver.”

            Green’s Failure at the Leading Edge – Martin Keller writes in support of Wilber here.

            • andrewmarkmusic says :

              Thanks for the link, David! I’m mostly through it and it is better than what I would have hoped for……
              But, I think I’ve pinpointed the problem I have with his narrative while reading: it’s his use of the word evolution! I’m with Greer, Visser, Harris, Dillahunty, ( well, pretty well every one who gets the gist of the scientific method) in understanding evolution to be the process of natural selection within biological organisms ; and I think this is distinct from human development which came about because of technological innovation. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but would it even be correct to say that what happened in the universe from 13.7 billion years to the advent of the first evolving biological life forms was evolution? Were stars biologically mutating? I think not! And it may well be that humanity doesn’t know what exactly happened through that time period or what to call it; although I’m aware we call it some grand expansion or such….
              Now the development which Wilber outlines seems unequivocal true; but it seems like am error to call it evolution; when it IS development based on technological innovation .
              And I won’t open the can of worms here as to what it would mean for spirit to evolve ! There is no spirit driving evolution as far as we’ve been able to tell so far ; but I’m probably unique in that that in itself doesn’t dismiss god–at least in my idiosyncratic view. As far as I can tell there are few theologies that are coherent and compatible with the idea if god evolving …Process theology one of the better attempts but I find it as problematic as Wilber’s attempt…
              Anyway, that’s the view from way down here as I choke on the carbon in the ‘greenest city in the world!’ AHEM……..

            • Scott Preston says :

              I couldn’t make heads nor tails of what Wilber is going on about. I’m not even sure it’s worthwhile critiquing, but I do see why so many think Wilber has misunderstood Gebser. And I do think he’s so obsessed with making sure things conform to his AQAL theoretical model that he skews things to fit it.

              Is “aperspectival madness” Nietzsche’s “Dionysian madness”? I’m not sure what Wilber actually means by that, since Gebser uses it in a positive sense (although I’m sure there is also the negative polarity to aperspectivity, in which case one can’t speak of a hiatus or a “stalling” of the evolutionary energies at all.

              That is, not unless we think of evolution metaphorically as a river rushing towards the sea, suddenly encountering an obstacle (a landslide, for example — “aperspectival madness” in those terms) — then pooling, eddying, whirling behind the obstruction, until it gathers enough energy to start creating byways, tributaries, channels around the obstruction in order to continue its journey to the sea. Maybe that works as a metaphor.

              In other respects, I’m uncomfortable with Wilber’s take on things because it reminds me of those latter-day “prophets” who, having predicted the end of the world on a certain day, when that day arrives and nothing happens, discover “reasons” why it didn’t happen (God changed his mind).

            • davidm58 says :

              In brief, off the top of my head (without stopping to look up and cite my summary statements), r.e. “aperspectival madness”…

              I believe that is a phrase Wilber has carried forward from his big book on Sex, Ecology, Spirituality. He definitely does not use the term the way Gebser does. Gebser’s talking about moving beyond perspectival thinking, yet at the same time NOT becoming anti-perspectival. Wilber, on the other hand is using it as a pejorative to describe his view that post-modernism has taken the culture into an extreme pluralistic “madness” that treats all perspectives as equal yet in a contradiction (“performative contradiction”) privileges its own view (that no perspective can claim to be greater than another) as greater than others.

              Wilber’s AQAL model actually emphasizes the importance of perspective taking, only it tries to bring awareness to the different perspectives taking, so that we are aware of the who, the how, the what, and what level is being spoken from, etc., etc. as outlined in the “integral math” that is outlined in the book Integral Spirituality. This approach is referred to as Integral Methodological Pluralism (IMP). The critique by some that are familiar with Gebser, is that this approach leaves Wilber essentially stuck in the kind of perspectival thinking that Gebser is trying to get us to move beyond. I think that is a valid critique…and I also acknowledge that Wilber’s approach here does bring some consciousness to one’s perspective, and that is a good thing, and can lead (theoretically) a more enlightened approach to how we handle issues.

              And yes, I think Wilber in this ebook is trying to evoke some of Nietzsche’s themes. I don’t know enough to critique that, but it strikes me as inaccurate…does not ring as true as how you approach Nietzsche on this blog.

              And yes, the whole thing does come across as someone “obsessed with making sure things conform to his AQAL theoretical model that he skews things to fit it.”

            • andrewmarkmusic says :

              Indeed! Wilber created a new religion and it should be treated as such!

            • andrewmarkmusic says :

              I did get through the whole thing. Although I don’t share his metaphysical views I do share agreements on many micro issues he makes. As one example: he correctly points out that work was a curse in the western mythic traditions ( bad Calvanist’s!) and that civilization will have to implement some type of new system of welfare as A.I. takes over the labour force ( I’ve come up with The Global Commons culture/see my blog), and he points to a guaranteed income . He’s right about this, imo …
              He also makes some good political points ( I won’t go into every point here ). …..
              His obsession with green while completely dismissing orange pathology is consistent and depressing . The fact is the oligarchs have created a global casino run by a plutocracy. Apparently this is of no concern to Wilber .
              I’ve been musing on the idea of a post-ideological society! Here is my idiosyncratic take on that : that civilization needs to assess every single issue on this planet based on its own merits without the baggage of past ideologies ( or new speculative ideologies) …So we would analyze issues as empirically and as unbiased as humanly possible …..
              I know! Good luck with that!

  5. mikemackd says :

    Words are all we can use here, IW.


    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      So sorry to disagree. Words may be useful via historical text (the means by which we convey those ancient insights into contemporary understanding); distant and intermediary communication without the benefit of face-to-face, person-to-person and — obviously in this day and age — heart-to-heart communication (especially via the Internet); etc. and so forth.

      “Here” is a relative term. According to popular belief, I’m here and you’re there. But if “non-locality” is actually a thing, this probably shouldn’t be conceived as such, regardless that our minds and its categorizatons make it seem so.

      Consider that, then consider what role action has to play in all this.

      • mikemackd says :

        I meant here at Chrysalis. I have loads of action elsewhere, and words inform those actions to varying degrees, including words from here, and words I write here. Where is the pretentiousness in them?

        • mikemackd says :

          I have learned much from those who have posted here. The thought of their words being pretentious has never once occurred to me. Do you seriously consider that the experiences that have prompted them to post here have no value because they have not found themselves starving to death?

          • InfiniteWarrior says :

            So have I. And nope. No more than I consider that Eisenstein is pre-tentious in the manner you suggest. For God’s sake, read what i said.

            No one here is the subject of this post, is it? But, all things considered, I’ll be goddamned if I spend another minute concerning myself –as does the world at large — with extremist fringes (regardless that at least one aspect of them are supposedly “in power”), rather than concern myself with “what wants to break through” from here on out. And, no. It isn’t “the alt-left” that wants to break through.

            the battle of words is the most important battle in human life

            The most important “battle” in human life is realizing equanimity.

            Yeah, yeah. I’m working on that.

            • mikemackd says :

              I did read what you said. I am glad that you have now clarified what you meant, and thank you for doing so. There are plenty of necessary battles ahead of us; verbal precision helps in avoiding unnecessary ones, so we can focus on the former.

              That’s why both you and abdulmonem have good cases to stress the importance of words and equanimity. Despite the saying about sticks and stones etc., words can hurt: a lot, and make equanimity rather difficult.

              I also consider your focus to be wise, IW: to look for Mumford’s “faint glow of color on the topmost twigs”. It is very difficult to maintain equanimity when being force-fed the arrogance of ignorance, and fighting it only makes it stronger.

              In so looking, as Crieg Crippen put it, “you will see in the world what you carry in your heart”, but it’s a co-evolutionary process. So next, you carry in your heart what you see in the world, and with that spiral one can get to see the colour on those topmost twigs.

              Maybe not before. For again as Jesus said, the Kingdom of Heaven is amongst us, and yet we do not see it.

            • InfiniteWarrior says :


      • Scott Preston says :

        I think you really need to familiarise yourself with Rosenstock-Huessy’s Speech and Reality before coming to such conclusions about language. After that, we can decide the value of words and names and grammatical speech.

        We don’t want to fall into the trap of Faust, who exclaimed in frustration “words! words! words!” and then sold his soul to the Devil because words seemed to him false coin.

        There’s a reason why Rosenstock-Huessy insists that “God is the power that makes men speak” having to do with that.

        • InfiniteWarrior says :

          such conclusions about language.

          Misunderstanding of ‘here’ aside, I’m not sure to what conclusions you’re referring.

          the public conversation is awash with disinformation, “fake news”, “alternative facts”, branding, perception management — or altogether “new normal”, “post-truth”, “post-rational” and so on.

          It is…when it comes to the current political situation and climate. I’ve run across the life philosophy that “everything is political,” but while it certainly can seem that way at times, as evidenced in the predominant organization of human affairs in pretty much any institution — corporate or otherwise — one can name, it’s a philosophy with which I heartily disagree. Perhaps above all else, it’s this distinction I see between the system that is crumbling and “what wants to break through;” between “globalization” and the planetary era now in its birth pangs.

          I think of the former as hierarchically political (ntm, a den of little other than fear and hatred) and the latter as formally and informally social. I’m sure that’s easily misunderstood, but until more precise terms are either found or coined for the differences between them, those words will have to do.

          One of the most prominent and troubling examples of just how sick our societies have become is that every single young person I’ve found myself working with of late is on some brand or other of anxiety medication. While I can ask what they’re anxious about and, perhaps, suggest confronting whatever it may be, I’m not a professional psychologist and can’t recommend that medication is probably not the best way to deal with it, though I don’t believe it is. At the same time, what I’m convinced of is something they already seem to know:

          It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

          Yet adjusting to it is precisely what they’re consistently called upon to do.

          there [is] no longer any vision for the future within the system

          There is plenty of vision elsewhere, however. And, as Fuller noted, “There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.”

          Postmodernists have necessarily dissected the caterpillar, but I think the time has come and gone to which we might add the term “ad nausem.” This is why I, at least, so whole-heartedly agree with the author of the quoted piece that, while being aware of the pathologies is prudent, it’s high time the greater majority of energy and focus were devoted to midwifing. Ergo, it is there to which whatever is meted unto me will gratefully go.

          As the present order crumbles, a new culture could now start to emerge – given there’s a coherent vision available for it.

          In our imaginings of the future, even what I consider among the furthest from the dystopian still retain the old paradigm to some extent or other. There is much imagining to be done…

      • Scott Preston says :

        “Right Speech” is one of the Buddha’s elements of the Noble Eightfold Path for a reason, Likewise, what Jesus said is equally so: “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”

        And so, pretty much all of Rosenstock-Huessy’s social philosophy and grammatical method is an extended meditation on what is “right speech” and what is defilement (or the real meaning of profanation). And that’s pretty much the way to approach his thinking, especially in the present context where “duplicity is the currency of the day” and the public conversation is awash with disinformation, “fake news”, “alternative facts”, branding, perception management — or altogether “new normal”, “post-truth”, “post-rational” and so on.

  6. abdulmonem says :

    Oh Scott i never expected all that despair out of the fighter i have accompanied over the years who have taught me a lot and who made the change from dark age to chrysalis as indication of his faith in the ascending of humanity. Never stop believing in the strength of words as tool of change, after all god himself used words to transform the human and move him from darkness to light. This is the cycle of the human life every since the beginning. It is a psychological cloud that soon get dispersed, the fish the fisher and the process of fishing never stop in the life of Scott. To morrow a new day with a new post from the new Scott who has reworded himself anew. We can not stop fighting in this time that needs our utmost efforts that know no retreat. They say the battle of words is the most important battle in human life.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Those who never grieved, never lived.

      • abdulmonem says :

        Yes indeed our griefs are our resourceful energy to combat the illness of our world, The second pole that keeps our life going toward its fruition. They say sages have never appeared in a state of no grief but never in a state of despair.

  7. Scott Preston says :

    An article by Jonathan Freedland popped up on the Guardian website after I posted this brief essay yesterday. I think it speaks to the issues I raised here:


    Interesting quote from Bannon: ” I want to bring everything crashing down”. How can anyone not recognise in that the spirit of utter nihilism? the Mephistophelian character? The will to nothing which I’ve termed here “thanatic”? How can anyone not recognise in this Walter Benjamin’s warning about extreme “self-alienation” leading to self-annihilation?

    At the same time, do we not see in this nihilistic will Mumford’s prerequisite (and Gebser’s) “total disintegration” in order to effect a new start? That’s the ambiguity of it all. Bannon is simply the agency of a thanatic will and dynamic of which he is totally oblivious, merely fulfilling the inherent logic of Nietzsche’s “two centuries of nihilism”.

    This is the kind of will that could very well drive us all over the edge and into the same abyss that Bannon lives in, who strikes me as the spitting image of Blake’s “Urizen”.

  8. InfiniteWarrior says :

    Apologies all.

  9. Charles says :

    Hubris is an apt description of the present. Patrick Harpur writes about many ideas in his books. In a chapter Soul and Ego, he writes “the main bearer of spirit in out times is what we call the ego.” Harpur talks about the hero myth and the process of initiation. The February 2002 issue “The Ego and the “I” Which one is real?” was the theme of the issue. Robert J. Dobie contributed an insightful article ‘Taking Leave of Attachment’ A step into the abyss He writes about the insights of the Rhineland mystics, Meister Eckhart and Johannes Tauler. He starts by saying “perhaps the greatest mystery of the universe is that of the human self. What is this ‘I,” this self,” that is I the world, but does not seem to be “of” it? He then talks of Descartes, “whose thought has come to determine modern discourse about the “self.” For him, “the bedrock of all knowledge is the full transparency of the thinking “I” to itself. For the modern mind, the complete self-presence of the rational thinker to himself is the foundation of all knowledge.” He goes on: This modern ego, then is merely a theoretical point, a product of thinking itself, that knows only irreducible duality between subject and object, self and reality… it has become, as Kant put it, the grand inquisitor that forces nature to answer questions put to her by itself; it does not, and cannot, listen to what nature or reality has to say of its own accord…The result has been an utter nihilism that dismisses any inherent value in reality because the ego is itself devoid of any essential relation to that reality. Instead, it the rational ego that creates value and imposes it on its value of reality.” The true Self is confused with the ego and the ego inflates itself.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: