Archive | December 2018

Nietzsche and Heraclitus

Surprising to me is, that the post that has garnered the most “views” on The Chrysalis, and ranks as the most commonly searched keywords that bring viewers to The Chrysalis, is a statement by the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus: ethos anthropos daimon (or ethos anthropoi daimon). These three words have very profound implications, for it might be said also that Nietzsche’s entire philosophy amounts to unwrapping the fuller meaning of this enigmatic statement, usually (but not really adequately) translated into English as “character is fate” or “character is man’s fate”. In some respects, these three words are also the key to understanding the Anthropocene.

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The Rivers of Eden

Legend has it that four rivers flowed from the Garden of Eden. The names of those four rivers were Pishon, Gishon, Chidekel, and Phirat. So debased and barbaric (one might even say “too left-brained”) have we become that many people even spend their entire lives looking for the original geophysical place called “Eden” and its four rivers, largely oblivious to the spiritual and symbolic meaning of the rivers of Eden. The same seems to be true for that “faraway land” of the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

But these four rivers are the same four beasts who surround the throne of God in the Book of Revelation. They are what Blake calls “our Energies” and which he likewise represents in the image of his four Zoas of Albion divided fourfold which is, in the Upanishads, the fourfold Atman. That this is so is even demonstrable biologically, since we are, in biological terms, a composite of mechanical energy, chemical energy, thermal energy, and electrical energy — the four energies involved in the principle of homeostasis and energy balance.

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This Changes Everything

“Myth is already enlightenment, and enlightenment reverts to mythology.”

— Theodore Adorno and Max Horkheimer, The Dialectic of Enlightenment

This statement from Adorno’s and Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment has always struck me as the quintessential meaning of the Frankfort School and the “New Left”, which certainly left its imprint on the counter-culture of the 60s and 70s. It was this radical openness to the mythical consciousness, or recovery of the validity of the mythical consciousness, that probably impressed Gebser, too, when, in his final years, he expressed his hopes that the new generation might be more receptive to his thesis in Ever-Present Origin. In any case, the Frankfort School incurred the wrath and enmity of reactionary forces of both the Old Left and the conservatives that continues down to this day, even after “New Left” and Critical Theory has actually now largely morphed into the “Greens”.

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