“The so-called 'Left-Hand Path' - that of Kaulas, Siddhas and Viras - combines the... Tantric worldview with a doctrine of the Übermensch which would put Nietzsche to shame... The Vira - which is to say: the 'heroic' man of Tantrism - seeks to sever all bonds, to overcome all duality between good and evil, honor and shame, virtue and guilt. Tantrism is the supreme path of the absolute absence of law - of shvecchacarī, a word meaning 'he whose law is his own will'." ― Julius Evola, The Path of Cinnabar.

“It is necessary to have “watchers” at hand who will bear witness to the values of Tradition in ever more uncompromising and firm ways, as the anti-traditional forces grow in strength. Even though these values cannot be achieved, it does not mean that they amount to mere “ideas.” These are measures…. Let people of our time talk about these things with condescension as if they were anachronistic and anti-historical; we know that this is an alibi for their defeat. Let us leave modern men to their “truths” and let us only be concerned about one thing: to keep standing amid a world of ruins.” ― Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order in the Kali Yuga.

“We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who died at his post during the eruption of Vesuvius because someone forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one that can not be taken from a man.” ― Oswald Spengler, Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Notebooks.....

I've maintained various journals, diaries, and notebooks on just about every subject I've ever been fixated on for most of my life. I'm also a stickler regarding what I write with and what I write on - I need good pens and good notebooks. Pen on paper is primary - these contain the raw material for anything I finally type-up later.



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Brief Reviews: Pale Flower, and two others....

It's been awhile since I've posted any film reviews so I'm going to try to get back into the habit of posting even brief notes for the many films I watch on a routine basis. Starting with Pale Flower:



Pale Flower (1964) is easily one of the best films I've seen in a long time. A Japanese Yakuza hitman is released from prison, meets and becomes fixated on a beautiful mysterious woman addicted to gambling and thrills. Every scene in this film could have been packaged as still shots as outstanding photography - the whole film is a visual work of art. The dialogue and plot are outstandingly nihilist on par with any film noir classic. Five Stars.

Two losers:

J. Edgar (2011) As an avid student of history it is one of my common practices, when fixating on a specific period, to identify individuals in key positions whose life-span covers the period of interest, and from there I try to stockpile in-depth biographies that discuss their life, from their vantage point, in some kind of deep context. J. Edgar Hoover is one of those figures who's life spanned the most tumultuous years of the 20th century from the vantage point of a unique insider. Eastwood's film sort of brushes up against some of this before degenerating into a prurient fixation on Hoover's alleged homosexuality. DiCaprio was generally good as Hoover, and Naomi Watts gave a decent performance as his secretary, but neither was enough to salvage this complete waste of time and celluloid. I hope Eastwood makes at least one more notable film before he dies because I would hate to see his last film for posterity be this boring geriatric homosexual love story.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011) somehow managed to be more boring yet more interesting than J. Edgar on almost every level. Trying to hard to move at an unconventional pace, the film follows an elderly Gary Oldman from room to room, chair to chair, desk to desk, while a pseudo-complex drama concerning a mole unfolds in the background. Being a sucker for spy films I still liked it although I am unable to defend it as a film on any level, and would not really recommend it to anyone but the must-see-all espionage buff. Even then, if they had not seen them yet, I would encourage anyone to see the made for TV series The Company, or the 5-hour biopic/miniseries of Carlos "The Jackal" entitled Carlos before spending time on this over the counter sedative.

JDS

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gagaku: The Court Music of Japan



Gagaku: The Court Music of Japan allows the viewer to experience the haunting sounds of the Japanese court orchestra and to see the magnificent costumes and masks of its stately dances. Host for the program is Dr. William P. Malm, Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Michigan, who introduces the instruments of gagaku and the musicians who play them. Also featured in the program is Suenobu Togi, Gagaku Master at UCLA and Dr. Sidney Brown, Professor of Asian Studies of the University of Oklahoma, who explains the historic roots of gagaku. Performances by the Imperial Court Orchestra in Tokyo illustrate the contrasting styles of gagaku.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gagaku

A Pattern Book for Scribes by Gregorius Bock of Ochsenhausen (c.1515)

Scans of the original manuscript in Yale's Beinecke Library can be seen at Digital Images Online by entering ms. 439 into the search box.
















The Abduction of a Damsel by a Wildman (14th Century)

From Wild Men in the Middle Ages by Richard Bernheimer (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1952):

It occurred to somebody, however, in the opening years of the 14th century, to make of the abduction [of a damsel by a wild man] and its aftermath a moral example in the manner of the erotic casuistry practiced at the contemporary courts of love. We possess two closely related series of marginal miniatures of that period, clearly meant to preach a lesson to the ladies, for the vice to be castigated is feminine ingratitude for man's help and generosity...

The second series, in the so-called Taymouth Hours tells [of a maiden] beset and carried away by a big and hairy woodwose, whose intentness and cupidity are admirably rendered. In the nick of time an elderly knight appears and rescues her, but fails to win her affection, which she callously bestows upon a younger man. In the ensuing duel the man of her choice is killed, and her rescuer, now free from moral obligation toward her, decides to leave her to her fate. In the last miniature she is shown in helpless distress, as two bears close in upon her. It would seem likely that both series of miniatures reproduce a lost literary prototype built upon the central motive of the abduction of the lady.















Wildmen on the church of San Gregorio in Valladolid

From Wild Men in the Middle Ages by Richard Bernheimer (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1952):

We owe to the same tendency toward heraldic amplification one of the most astounding documents of late mediaeval sculpture, which marks the high point of the expansion of wind man iconography into areas originally reserved for other types of art. The façade of the church of San Gregorio in Valladolid, built between 1488 and 1496, during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, is distinguished by the unique and shocking device of placing the wild men on the jambs of the portal, that is, in that location on the building which, since the beginning of Gothic architecture, had been reserved for the figures of the prophets and the saints. The wild men appear on the jambs proper, on the frontal wall of the doorway, and even on its outer side, making a further appearance on the highest level of the façade.

The intrusion of the pagan creatures into those parts of the church which had always been adorned with important sacred figures seems puzzling until it is realized that the whole church front, with the exception of the tympanum, is conceived as one large heraldic showpiece in honor of the king and queen and their relationship to the see of Toledo. The key to all that seems unusual lies therefore in the panel above the doorway containing the royal coat of arms and the tree and fountain of life in which it is rooted. Once it is understood that the rest of the façade is to be read as the heraldic accompaniment of this central triumphant theme, one will comprehend also why there should be heralds on the side, wild men in the doorways, and finally fleurs-de-lis in the coats of arms held by angels over the spandrels; for the fleur-de-lis, emblem of the Virgin Mary and of her purity, was also the emblem of the see of Toledo, which thus proclaims its participation and interest in what, after all, is the decoration of a sacred building.

In this combination of heraldic elements the wild men function as the outer guardians who are closest to the visitors of the church and furthest removed from the symbolic splendor of the royal shield. They are thus given the same humble position which they hold as festival police in many contemporary pageants, ecclesiastical and secular. It is interesting to note, in light of what has been said before, that, although deprived of their former task of upholding the royal coat of arms, the wild men all have their own shields, inscribed with masks and ornamental designs.





Medieval Armorial Wildmen

From Wild Men in the Middle Ages by Richard Bernheimer (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1952): "The late 15th century also added the combination of the wild man and his wife holding the same armorial shield, a motive which ... seems to have been derived from older representations of wild-man families and their happy life in the woods. This motive was especially popular as a printer's mark, and was used as such by some of the chief Parisian printers of the late 15th century, such as Philippe Pigouchet and Jean Poitevin, whose prominence induced other printers in Paris, Caen, Lyons and Cologne to adopt it in their own turn. As employed by this group of tradesmen, the mark shows a coat or arms hanging from a fruit-bearing tree, while a wild man and a wild woman with wreaths in their hair are engaged in guarding the heraldic device suspended between them."


"It is interesting to note that this international trademark seems to have come to the attention of Albrecht Dürer, who used the combination of a wild man and woman with an armorial shield in one of his designs for a book owned by his friend Willibald Pirckheimer."


"By the second half of the 15th century the representations of the wild folk as shield supporters had become common coinage to such an extent that artists, bored by the excessive familiarity of the theme, began to experiment with deviations from it. It occurred to German engravers that they might try to meet an increasing demand for prototypes of heraldic designs by representing the wild man or woman with an empty shield, or one containing a merely decorative design, making it possible for other artists to avail themselves of these models by merely placing the proper emblems into the reserved space. There are engravings of this kind from the hand of the Master E.S. and Martin Schongauer; even Dürer fell back upon the precedent established by his forerunners when he inscribed into the otherwise empty escutcheon of his Coat of Arms of Death the purely allegorical device of a human skull."