Archive | January 2020

World In Transition, II: Nietzsche’s “Two Centuries of Nihilism”

Towards the conclusion of the 19th century, Nietzsche famously forecast the onset of “two centuries of nihilism” with the ominous words “incipit tragoedia” — the tragedy begins. He compared the coming period to a tight-rope walker over an abyss — a suspense, a dangerous wayfaring and a perilous going-over with an uncertain outcome.

We are in the thick of it now, and as you have probably noticed, it has been and is indeed abysmal.

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World in Transition

The closest approximation for assessing the meaning of “the New Normal” is the situation of Late Christendom and the Holy Roman Empire, an age of spiritual rot. The religion that preached love, mercy, forgiveness and caritas also sponsored torture, crusade, witchhunt, autos de fe, and the Inquisition. It basically self-destructed on its contradictions (or what we now call “cognitive dissonance”). Yet from the chaos and the ruins of Christendom stepped forth a new species of human being who we now call “Renaissance Man” — a type of human being that seemed as strange and alien to Medieval Man as the supramental consciousness will seem to the denizens of Late Modernity.

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Faustian Man and the Mephistophelean Spirit

Mephistopheles is of fairly recent vintage and a late-comer to the field of demonology. He figures prominently in legend and in plays like Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus and, most famously, in Goethe’s Faust. Faust was, allegedly, a real historical figure, a necromancer who lived sometime in the 15th century and who had claimed that a demon named “Mephistopheles” was his Schwager, a German word meaning “brother-in-law”.

There is a suggestion that the name Mephistopheles, evidently Greek, means “not-light-loving”, and Goethe has his Mephistopheles describe himself as “part of that power that would ever evil do, but always does the good” despite himself. But it’s from Goethe’s rendering of the Faust legend that many have come to recognise man of the modern type as “Faustian Man”, who has sold out his soul in exchange for knowledge and power.

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Universal History: The Human Autobiography

I know that diving into Jean Gebser’s The Ever-Present Origin is a big personal project. It took me ten years to finish my first reading of the book and to digest its contents (I’m still digesting its contents). It is nonetheless very worthwhile and goes a very long way in helping clarify many of the confusing issues of the “New Normal”.

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The Place of the Conservative Mood Within the Mandala of Being

We’ve previously discussed the origins and the place of the modern ideologies within Rosenstock-Huessy’s “cross of reality” or what Richard Moss also describes similiarly as “The Mandala of Being” in a book by that title (The Mandala of Being: Discovering the Power of Awareness). So, we see that the mandala symbol (of which Rosenstock-Huessy’s “cross of reality” is also an example) has something to do with the powers and functions of awareness or attention. In contemporary terms, these directions in which awareness or attention is directed (which directionality discloses a “dimension” to life and reality) are represented in ideologies. These however were previously figured in various theologies or mythologies.

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Implications of Temporal Entanglement for Gebser’s “Time-Freedom”

Quite interesting (and quite mind-bending) results from an experiment in “temporal entanglement” reported in a few places. (“If You Thought Quantum Mechanics Was Weird, Check Out Entangled Time”).

This seeming coincidence of future and past events, in which future events may also change past events, tends to corroborate Gebser’s views on origin as “ever-present”, and suggests the basis for what he calls “time-freedom” — the ability to move forwards and backwards in time and, more significantly, to also act in ways that affect and alter both future and past events. This is quite strange because I recall also reading in one of the Seth Books where “Seth” insisted that what we think of as history or “past events” can actually be altered to produce different outcomes. This otherwise outlandish idea seems to be accurate given the results of “time entanglement”.

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The Body as Model and Pattern for Economy

When one considers the failures of both purely capitalistic or socialistic economies, and contrariwise the apparent success of the European northern tier states — Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark — it would seem like the solution to many problems would be to forego simplistic economic “one-best-way” formulas and embrace a mixed economy.

The human body is already itself just such a “mixed economy”, composed of multiple different energetic systems all functioning harmoniously to preserve homeostasis — mechanical energy, chemical energy, thermal energy, electrical energy. The body, and not the machine, should be the model and pattern to follow for effective economy.

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