Archive | July 2019

William Blake and “The Bible of Hell”

William Blake concludes his masterpiece, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, with a rather curious and enigmatic note:

Note.—This Angel, who is now become a Devil, is my particular friend. We often read the Bible together in its infernal or diabolical sense,
which the world shall have if they behave well.
  I have also The Bible of Hell, which the world shall have whether they will or no.
  One Law for the Lion and Ox is Oppression.

It’s a statement that is bound to shock your average, everyday Christian, and probably helped contribute much to the judgement that Blake was a lunatic. Actually, Blake wrote in a mythopoeic, symbolic and metaphorical language that was quite native to him (and to Hermeticism) that is also very characteristic of that mode of perception and attention that Iain McGilchrist calls “the Master”, in his impressive book The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World. This is exactly what Blake means when he states that he sees “thro’ the eye” and “not with the eye”. That’s just another way of describing the Master and Emissary modes of perception and attention we find in McGilchrist’s neurodynamics.

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Mass Dementia and The Return of the Repressed

Mr. Trump’s latest scandalous “lie” about his being among the first responders at 9/11 Ground Zero, (which just continues the pattern of his chronic scandalous lying), suggested to me that Trump may not be so much the “pathological liar” as suffering from dementia — from a complete inability to discern between his fantasies and reality.

That, of course, raises the next question if so: why do so many people support a president who displays evident symptoms of dementia as if it were quite normal…. unless they, too, were participants in the same dementia? That conclusion also seems to be the implication of the title of Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement and Kurt Andersen’s Fantasyland. And that reminded me of something I read years ago….

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Fascism and Marxism

Well…. as I noted in an earlier comment, I actually never thought I’ld have to revisit my earlier studies and researches with the express purpose of gathering material to dispel the absurd revisionist nonsense that fascism was a movement of the radical left. It was a foregone conclusion in my time that fascism and Nazism were movements of the extreme right and of reactionary nationalism that could not possibly be confused with the movements of revolutionary socialism in the least.

Although what we call “fascism” and “Marxism” are, in many respects, the flotsam and jetsam of an age that is now fast receding, we are still required to deal with their spectres, which still to some extent continue to shape events. It is also quite relevant to our main interest here at The Chrysalis — Jean Gebser studies and the issue of “integral consciousness”, since Gebser wrote his great book The Ever-Present Origin parallel with all this turmoil in Europe. It evidently also conditioned some of his thinking, for he was himself a fugitive from fascism through much of his life, and even while writing his great book.

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What is Fascism?

I see that there is a concerted effort by revisionists and reactionaries today to paint Hitler as a “man of the left” and to characterise fascism as a left-wing movement. Where it is not just ignorance, it is likely a diversionary and propaganda tactic to deflect attention from their own predilections towards fascism — an old subterfuge and propaganda trick called “direction by indirection”.

Let’s clear this nonsense up by examining what we might call “classical” fascism as it developed in the Axis Powers — Germany, Italy, and Japan — and what these different flavours of fascism actually had in common.

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Conversion Against Perversion

Let’s continue with the topic we addressed in yesterday’s post about Buddhism’s Three Evils, the Three Gems, and how Rosenstock-Huessy’s “cross of reality” and “grammatical method” reveal the meaning of it in a way that Ken Wilber’s AQAL model could not. And let’s continue with this theme to show how certain vital truths, pretty much forgotten, are revealed in this pattern.

Again, the Three Evils which are today rampant in “the New Normal” are Greed, Malice (or ill-will) and Ignorance. Instead of repressing or denying these, the Buddhist vow of the Three Gems converts them. “I take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha” basically is the conversion of the Three Evils, in and through which the “I” itself is converted. This is the real meaning of “conversion” as “to have one”s face turned in a new direction”.

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The Three Gems and The Cross of Reality

Buddhism has the “Three Evils”. These are Greed, Malice (or Ill-Will) and Ignorance. These are evils because they do something to the “cross of reality” (which is a mandala). They dismantle it. They attack one or more fronts of the cross of reality.

Against the Three Evils, Buddhism pronounces the Three Gems, represented in the vow: “I take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha”. The elements of the cross of reality are here represented once more. Let’s see how this plays out.

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Nationalism: The Healthy and the Unhealthy

Nationalism, like so much else today, represents something of a paradox. It has healthy and unhealthy aspects corresponding to Gebser’s “life-pole” and “death-pole” of all psychic energy (or eros and thanatos “instincts” in Freud’s terms). I was musing upon that this morning in relation to the selection of Boris Johnson as the UK’s next prime minister, which is probably a god-send for the Scottish Nationalists. The contrast between Scottish nationalism and the English nationalism of the Brexiteers is rather stark.

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