“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.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Jonathan Bowden on Hans-Jürgen Syberberg

Your world is dying and it deserves to die.

In response to a partially confrontational but not entirely ignorant email questioning the shift in orientation toward Tradition, I will say this; anyone who has followed my previous writing, in public and private venues, will note that I have never expressed anything but contempt toward “Enlightenment” ideals of “equality” or pure, narrow rationalism. Even when subscribing to a species of “humanism” I usually qualified it as more akin to Renaissance humanism rather than that of the Enlightenment – basically a “humanism” that was Faustian in orientation, while being absolutely anti-egalitarian and anti-democratic in the extreme.  I acknowledge a shift in position to something I would describe as “upstream” in relation to human devolution. I no longer subscribe to even a qualified Renaissance-style humanism, ultimately at its nucleus the root of everything repellant about Enlightenment-style humanism, which is the root of everything repugnant about the liberalism, egalitarianism, democracy, and narrow rationalistic reductive materialism of our current (non/anti) “culture.” It should be clear that writings of Guénon and Evola were instrumental in this shift from a radical-aristocratic anti-egalitarian idealization of the “Renaissance” or “Faustian” man (which however stratified remains horizontal in essence and correspondingly flawed and vulnerable to “leveling” erosion), to a vertically oriented perspective that is only more deeply anti-reductive/rationalist/materialist, anti-egalitarian, and anti-humanist – the perspective of Tradition. The question implied a reversal of position where in reality the position is only shifted deeper into the original direction, liberated from false assumptions.

The assumed dichotomy of Immanent vs. Transcendent is a fallacy. “Consensus” is essentially a species of pernicious cognitive democracy, one that implies your inner experiences are not “real” unless capable of being understood and shared (“reproduced”) to the letter by your fellow humans, who are only assumed to be peers based on a dogma of common human equality, a dogma more far-fetched and absurd than any dogma ever imagined to be held by any “religion.” Criteria of “objectivity” in matters of an internal nature are ultimately constructs of the human mind itself, ultimately every bit as “subjective” as the matter under scrutiny, only restricting “truth” status to that which can be reduced to the lowest common denominator. Truth is not for everyone and never will be.

The philosophical orientation is expanded to include higher principles of reference. The political position is solidified and rendered only more extreme, as a vantage point from which there are no “good guys” or “winners” in the present scenario – only an ongoing descriptive narrative of the pathologies of decay and destruction. Your world is dying and it deserves to die.

I throw this in the pond because it continues to amaze and amuse me that anyone cares what I think about anything.

More later…

JDS

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Evola in Relation to the Traditionalist School

In response to this paragraph from the Sophia Perennis website:

Baron Julius Evola was an Italian Traditionalist, a close associate of Rene Guenon, and a writer of many brilliant books on various aspects of traditional culture, religion, and esoterism, only a few of which have been translated into English. He was a bit more “Nietzschian” than the other Traditionalists, however, and entertained certain “hopes” for Mussolini and Hitler, though he also criticized them, and was never a member of the Fascist Party. (These hopes were ultimately disappointed.) Though he worked and wrote on a much higher level than most “occultists,” his practice of what he termed “magic” and his lack of personal commitment to a single revealed religion are among the things that led Frithjof Schuon, and most of his followers, to largely reject him. He nonetheless retains a large following in Europe, and is one of the philosophical ancestors of the “intellectual Goths.”

I could assemble a bullet-list of quotations from most of the leading names of the “Traditionalist School” (so-called, not a term Guénon or Evola were comfortable with), every bit as anti-democratic and almost as racially charged as anything culled from Evola. Where the substantial (in my opinion) controversy enters regarding the “Traditionalists” vs. Evola, aside from the question of the Kshatriya/Brahman hierarchical order, is in the evaluation of the survival of authentic initiatory circuits within any or all of the surviving religious traditions, east or west.

Schuon and his followers are the most “liberal” in advocating alignment with existing “traditional/revealed” religions, as such, with an awareness and application of their esoteric aspects, basically “making the best of it.” Guénon was more skeptical and “conservative” in his evaluation of the probability of any surviving initiatory circuits in the western traditions, conceding the possibility of vestigial survivals within traditional (lower-case 't') Catholicism, and some very specific orders of esoteric masonry, but ultimately pursuing his path in esoteric Islam. Most followers of Guénon and Schuon consider affiliation with one of the great exoteric religious traditions an imperative. Evola considered most of these traditions, all of them in the west, as decadent, essentially hollow shells devoid of any authentic initiatory content and entirely bourgeoisie in nature. For Evola, anyone of a genuinely rarified nature attuned to Tradition, affiliation with the empty forms of once-traditional spiritual currents would likely be more spiritually distractive if not regressive.

Regarding the Kshatriya/Brahman question, In Guénon’s lifetime, he and Evola diverged on the issue of Spiritual vs. Temporal power, or the hierarchical relation between Brahman and Kshatriya functions in the Traditional order. Evola was explicit in emphasizing his message was not for everyone, but for a very differentiated action-oriented Kshatriya-type, for whom the path of “bhakti” or contemplation such as advocated by Guénon and Schuon is completely inappropriate (or at least inadequate in itself). Evola’s assessment of the condition of the modern world determined an active approach to initiation more valid than a contemplative approach, thus his assessment of Tantra and Magic as valid spiritual disciplines for this type of person. Followers of Guénon and Schuon for the most part are inclined to elevate contemplation and prayer as the optimal orientation.

Paradoxically, being more “conservative” regarding the existence of authentic Tradition and initiatory circuits as and within existing religions, as well as questioning the Guénonian conception of strictly “bureaucratic” models of initiation, places Evola in the position of being “radical” or “experimental” by having to take the position that transcendence (initiation) is only available to a very specific differentiated type, born to the role, and forced more or less to reconstruct his own ladder of ascent from vestigial remnants of Tradition to be found, such as (in Evola’s case) the Hermetic Tradition, Tantra, and Magic (in Evola’s specific conception, more akin to Theurgy). I use the term "radical" here not only in the sense of "going to the root or origin" insofar as Evola agreed that the principals were anterior and superior to any specific manifestation, thus "going to the root or origin," but also "radical" in the sense of operating outside of specific formal “bureaucratic” manifestation of initiation (by circumstance or choice). Evola’s assertion of the differentiated “Kshatriya” path, of effecting alignment with God by becoming God rather than by “submission,” is what qualifies his way as the “Left Hand Path.” From the now-dominant perspective of the Schuon “school,” with its emphasis on attainment through contemplation/devotion/bhakti, this is very much “off the reservation.” Thus the controversy.

I happen to agree with Evola on these points because I think he is correct about the present conditions, not because he is a "rock star" as seems to be the case with some of the would-be "traditionalist" journalists kicking around. Although in all fairness the personality cult surrounding Schuon probably dwarfs that surrounding Evola. Particular foibles of secondary human in-group/out-group psychology doesn't detract from the actual value of either of their works. 

These specific points aside, it is evident that Evola regarded the works of Schuon highly. He quotes from them with tacit approval in Ride the Tiger, The Path of Cinnabar, etc. Schuon may be second only to Guénon in the quality and quantity of his work on pure Traditionalist Metaphysics.

JDS

Ps. The above commentary is not an attack on the Sophia Perennis website or anyone writing for it, they provide an invaluable resource and are greatly appreciated.

Post-Nihilism?

The following excerpts are from a lengthy unfinished and unpublished commentary I was writing on Might is Right, that will never be finished or published, written well before I fully encountered the works of Evola and Guénon, which were game-changing. Evola and "Ragnar Redbeard" are fundamentally irreconcilable. From the Evolian perspective, "Redbeard" is more or less a modernist and liberal humanist. "Humanist" as in "man being the measure of all things," and "liberal" as in retaining some vestigial idea of "progress" in the 19th century rationalist evolutionary sense. Most of the general outward descriptive contours remain standing. This is the Kali Yuga. But "humanism" is repulsive and erroneous. I am with Evola.

***
Pessimism is warranted – life is short, death is certain, misfortune is likely. Strife and friction are the conditions of life – problems are ubiquitous and constant. The history of life on earth, including human life, history, literature, art, every aspect of culture, is a pageant of turmoil and conflict, physical or psychological. The story of mankind is the story of man vs. nature, man vs. animal, man vs. man; individual vs. individual, individual vs. group, group vs. group, and group vs. individuals. The roots of the will-to-power are entrenched in the soil of conflict, its trunk and limbs grown strong through resistance against the hurricane winds of existential uncertainty and misfortune.... From the cataclysmic and slow-grinding processes that brought the cosmos into existence, to the warring bacteria within the primordial slime that birthed life on earth, from cell to gelatinous mass, from swimming to crawling thing, to the scaled slithering reptiles and fanged and clawed beasts that were our ancestor’s ancestors, from the sordid cannibalistic cavern-dwelling man-apes to the gross misshapen beast that first walked on two legs, to those who look like us, all lived by killing, gnawing, and eating every other living thing, man, animal, and plant, and warring to carve out its brief miserable existence in a hostile landscape, in drenching rain, against flooding waters, parched earth, freezing cold and searing sun. Life itself is Total War. Only the strong survive.

***
Man is just another predatory animal with no special standing in the greater universe. He is not an extraordinary creation of a supernatural god with a privileged seat at the table reserved for him in some supernatural heaven. The blind material forces of nature ride roughshod over his sentimental delusions and feeble existence with a cold, inanimate, and routine indifference. His prospects are severely constricted, bleak, and grim. His condition is terminal. His prognosis is poor. Few among this tribe of petty, vicious apes possess the fortitude to look into this black abyss without falling face-first into a bottomless pit of self-destructive despair. Those who possess the strength to confront the abyss find no comfort in cheap ideals, insipid “spiritual” consolation, counterfeit excuses, or consciousness-annihilating soporifics – those with the spine for it become addicted to the unvarnished brutal facts of life and take strength therefrom.

***
Force or threat of force rules the world of man. “Rights” are inventions of man, only defined by man, and only enforced by man. Every contract and constitution of the world is nothing without a legion of armed thugs to enforce its statutes and stipulations, without the bludgeon or bullet, the paper is useless. Brute force is the gold standard of written constitutions, without it they are snot-rags, wallpaper, or fish wrappers.

JDS

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Maya Deren - The Divine Horsemen: Living Gods of Haiti



Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti (1985) is a black-and-white documentary film about dance and possession in Haitian vodou that was shot by experimental filmmaker Maya Deren between 1947 and 1954. In 1981, twenty years after Deren's death, the film was completed by Deren's third husband Teiji Ito (1935-1982) and his wife Cherel Winett Ito (1947-1999). Most of the film consists of images of dancing and bodies in motion during rituals in Rada and Petro services. Deren had studied dance as well as photography and filmmaking. She originally went to Haiti with the funding from a Guggenheim fellowship and the stated intention of filming the dancing that forms a crucial part of the vodou ceremony. In 1953, Deren's book Divine Horsemen: The Voodoo Gods of Haiti, on the subject of vodou, was published by Vanguard Press. The film that resulted, however, reflected Deren's increasing personal engagement with vodou and its practitioners (Wilcken, 1986). While this ultimately resulted in Deren disregarding the guidelines of the fellowship, Deren was able to record scenes that probably would have been inaccessible to other filmmakers. Deren's original notes, film footage, and wire recordings are in the Maya Deren Collection at Boston University's Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center and at Anthology Film Archives.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_Horsemen:_The_Living_Gods_of_Haiti 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"Death, the final boundary of things." Flemish, c. 1570

Flemish, c. 1570: Mors ultima linea rerum Copperplate print, 18.7 x 12.2 cm Probably published by Philips Galle. Translation of the Latin: Mors sceptra ligonibus aequat "Death makes sceptres and hoes equal." Mors vltima linea rerum "Death, the final boundary of things." After Horace Divitiis flores, et maiorum nobilitate te iactas, et exsultas de pulchritudine corporis et honoribus qui tibi ab hominibus deferuntur. Respice te ipsum, quia mortalis es, et quia terra es, et in terram ibis. "You flourish in wealth, and boast of the society of the great and powerful; you rejoice in the beauty of the body and the honours which men pay to you. Consider yourself, that you are mortal, that you are earth, and into the earth you shall go." Quotation from Prosper Tiro of Aquitaine

Monday, December 17, 2012

Books Around the House

Miscellaneous old and new acquisitions.
























Spiders at My House

I typically let spiders live around the house unless they are obviously of the poisonous variety. I like the spiderwebs and enjoy watching them. This is probably the biggest species in-house. This is a good example, but I've had larger specimens.


Homunculus

My Homunculus experiment subsequently died.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Rat Children of Pakistan

In Pakistan, microcephalics-babies born with abnormally small heads-are known as 'rats' and credited with god-like powers. Also known as Hanuman-Reincarnation in Hinduism.