The Thanatic Wave and the Black Plague

Before I follow-up on Aurobindo’s remarks from The Human Cycle on the fourfold Divine — and the relevance of this to Blake’s “fourfold vision”, Rosenstock-Huessy’s “cross of reality”, and the whole question of what might constitute “an enlightened ego consciousness” –I thought I might mention something further about the “Thanatic Wave” that presently seems to have the Earth in its grip — whether we call this “nihilism”, or “Age of Extinction”, or “Dark Age”, or “Kaliyuga” or “collapse of reality”, and so on.

There is a precedent for this catastrophe, and that is the Black Death that swept over much of Europe and Eurasia in the 14th century.  There may be instructive parallels between these events.

The Plague may have done more to undermine the Age of Faith than even the famous Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, which is oftentimes cited in that regard. The Plague Years, during which probably well over half the population of Europe perished, also coincided, or occurred just prior to, the early Renaissance and a new concern with more secular themes. And no doubt, people of that time probably also thought that the end of the world had come. Then, as now, the Plague led to social turbulence, conspiracy theory, witch-hunt, and Inquisition. While we like to think we have “evolved” beyond such superstition, we clearly haven’t.

The Plague certainly imprinted itself on the European consciousness, including Hermeticism.

Alchemical Black Sun

As gruesome and terrifying as the Plague was, it was also perceived by some as part of the transformative process, a mood that is reflected in Rumi’s poem “Green Ears”.

What the Plague signified for the continuance of the “Age of Faith” or “Age of the Church”, climate change and the Age of Extinction signifies also for the “Age of Reason”. If the Plague showed up the deficiency and lack in the medieval consciousness structure, the Age of Extinction shows up the deficiency and lack in the Modern or “mental-rational” consciousness structure. And it’s hard to imagine how our present deficiency and its consequences could be made any clearer to us.

It should also be an object lesson in why any kind of nostalgia for the past is a mistake. What is called “Traditionalism” is a mistake that simply risks repeating the deficiencies and corresponding catastrophes of the past. Only a new consciousness — one that overcomes the lacks and deficiencies of the older structures, including the mental-rational — is our guarantee that the social catastrophes of the past are not repeated continually.

So, next we’ll turn to how Aurobindo’s “Integral Yoga” and the fourfold Divine fit in with themes of the fourfold we’ve been exploring here in The Chrysalis.


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6 responses to “The Thanatic Wave and the Black Plague”

  1. Scott Preston says :

    This is a very impressive talk given by Gary Lachman covering a range of topics relevant to The Chrysalis. It’s lengthy — about 90 minutes — but well worthwhile

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      I haven’t quite finished listening to the presentation (and most definitely will), but must admit I’d hoped for a moment there that Lachman would explore the meaning of “inspiration,” i.e. an in-spiring (metaphorically-speaking, of course), as fully as the meaning of “influence” as an “in-flowing,” especially considering what you’ve written in the past regarding “influenza” and “expiration.”

    • Steve says :

      Youtube..Thomas Meyer with Catherine in Basil on the Future of Europe – Full Interview……../sorry my computer is not allowing me to load up video on your site for some reason.

        • Scott Preston says :

          I read Steiner’s thoughts on the threefold organisation of society many years ago, but it struck me as incomplete. Only afterwards did it occur to me why — Steiner omits the individual or, rather, the individual is assumed or taken for granted. The individual and his or her consciousness is the quartus that makes even this threefold relation of culture, politics, and economy meaningful. So, in fact, it’s a fourfold relation.

  2. Scott Preston says :

    “But for the moment at least the vitalistic aim has once more raised its head in a new form and the hope has dimmed in a darkness and welter in which only the eye of faith can see chaos preparing a new cosmos”. — Aurobindo.

    So, I will let that stand, too, as my objection to Jordan Peterson.

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