Centralised / Dispersed





Centralised                            -                      Dispersed
                   



Many sincere men feel that liberty, even though it may contribute most to internal welfare, cannot stand up against despotism in the external struggle. Liberty, they argue, means too much dissipation of energy, too much delay, too much division. These feelings make it easier for them to accept the loss of liberty as an inevitable destiny.

Then, in the economic structure, the economic arrangements which during the past several centuries aided political liberty, are being rapidly swept away. Private-capitalist ownership of the economy meant a dispersion of economic power and a partial separation between economic and other social forces in a manner that prevented the concentration of an overwhelming single social force.

Today the advance of the managerial revolution is everywhere concentrating economic power in the state apparatus, where it tends to unite with control over the other great social forces--the army, education, labor, law, the political bureaucracy, art, and science even. 

This development, too, tends to destroy the basis for those social oppositions that keep freedom alive.

[James Burnham]
The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom, p.227

 


[…] any organisation has to strive continuously for the orderliness of order and the disorderliness of creative freedom. And the specific danger inherent in large-scale organisation is that its natural bias and tendency favour order, at the expense of creative freedom.

We can associate many further pairs of opposites with this basic pair of order and freedom. Centralisation is mainly an idea of order; decentralisation, one of freedom. The man of order is typically the accountant and, generally, the administrator; while the man of creative freedom is the entrepreneur. Order requires intelligence and is conducive to efficiency; while freedom calls for, and opens the door to, intuition and leads to innovation.

[E.F. Schumacher]
Small is Beautiful, p. 203



Related posts:

Force of Will




Numerous and varied are the personal qualities thanks to which certain individuals succeed in ruling the masses.

These qualities, which may be considered as specific qualities of leadership, are not necessarily all assembled in every leader. Among them, the chief is the force of will which reduces to obedience less powerful wills.

Next in importance come the following: a wider extent of knowledge which impresses the members of the leaders' environment; a catonian strength of conviction, a force of ideas often verging on fanaticism, and which arouses the respect of the masses by its very intensity; self-sufficiency, even if accompanied by arrogant pride, so long as the leader knows how to make the crowd share his own pride in himself; in exceptional cases, finally, goodness of heart and disinterestedness, qualities which recall in the minds of the crowd the figure of Christ, and reawaken religious sentiments which are decayed but not extinct.

[Robert Michels]
Political Parties, p. 72



Related posts:

The De-Souling of Culture




Civilisation             -                      Culture
Atheistic                 -                      Theistic 
Intelligence             -                      Wisdom 
Profane                   -                      Sacred 
Machine                  -                      Organism 
Quantity                  -                      Quality 
Static                       -                      Dynamic 
Objective                -                      Subjective
Material                   -                      Spiritual 
                   



Atheism, rightly understood, is the necessary expression of a spirituality that has accomplished itself and exhausted its religious possibilities, and is declining into the inorganic.

Atheism comes not with the evening of the Culture but with the dawn of the Civilization. It belongs to the great city, to the "educated man" of the great city who acquires mechanistically what his fore fathers the creators of the Culture had lived organically.

Men continue to experience the outer world that extends around them as a cosmos of well-ordered bodies or a world-cavern or efficient space, as the case may be, but they no longer livingly experience the sacred causality in it. They only learn to know it in a profane causality that is, or is desired to be, inclusively mechanical.

There are atheisms of Classical, Arabian and Western kinds and these differ from one another in meaning and in matter. Nietzsche formulated the dynamic atheism on the basis that "God is dead," and a Classical philosopher would have expressed the static and Euclidean by saying that the "gods who dwell in the holy places are "dead," the one indicating that boundless space has, the other that countless bodies have, become godless.

But dead space and dead things are the "facts" of physics. The atheist is unable to experience any difference between the Nature-picture of physics and that of religion.

Language, with a fine feeling, distinguishes wisdom and intelligence - the early and the late, the rural and the megalopolitan conditions of the soul. Intelligence even sounds atheistic. No one would describe Heraclitus or Meister Eckart as an intelligence, but Socrates and Rousseau were intelligent and not “wise" men. There is something root-less in the word. 

It is only from the standpoint of the Stoic and of the Socialist, of the typical irreligious man, that want of intelligence is a matter for contempt.

The spiritual in every living Culture is religious, has religion, whether it be conscious of it or not. That it exists, becomes, develops, fulfils itself, is its religion. It is not open to a spirituality to be irreligious; at most it can play with the idea of irreligion as Medicean Florentines did.

But the megalopolitan is irreligious; this is part of his being, a mark of his historical position. Bitterly as he may feel the inner emptiness and poverty, earnestly as he may long to be religious, it is out of his power to be so.

[Oswald Spengler]
The Decline of the West, Vol. 1, p. 408-9




Humanity's existential lesion is generally explained as an effect of material, economic organization in a society such as the capitalist one.

The true remedy, the start of a “new and authentic humanism,” a human integrity and a “happiness never known before,” would then be furnished by the setting up of a different socioeconomic system, by the abolition of capitalism, and by the institution of a communist society of workers, such as is taking place in the Soviet area.

Karl Marx had already praised in communism “the real appropriation of the human essence on the part of man and for the sake of man, the return of man to himself as a social being, thus as a human man," seeing in it the equivalent of a perfect naturalism and even a true humanism.

In its radical forms, wherever this myth is affirmed through the control of movements, organizations, and people, it is linked to a corresponding education, a sort of psychic lobotomy intended methodically to neutralize and infantilize any form of higher sensibility and interest, every way of thought that is not in terms of the economy and socioeconomic processes.

Behind the myth is the most terrible void, which acts as the worst opiate yet administered to a rootless humanity. Yet this deception is no different from the myth of prosperity, especially in the form it has taken in the West. Oblivious of the fact that they are living on a volcano, materially, politically, and in relation to the struggle for world domination, Westerners enjoy a technological euphoria, encouraged by the prospects of the "second industrial revolution" of the atomic age.

At all events, the error and the illusion are the same in both socioeconomic ideologies, namely the serious assumption that existential misery can be reduced to suffering in one way or another from material want, and to impoverishment due to a given socioeconomic system.

They assume that misery is greater among the disinherited or the proletariat than among those living in prosperous or privileged economic conditions, and that it will consequently diminish with the "freedom from want" and the general advance of the material conditions of existence.

The truth of the matter is that the meaning of existence can be lacking as much in one group as in the other, and that there is no correlation between material and spiritual misery.

[Julius Evola]
Ride the Tiger, p. 28-9
 



It would be good to look further into the kind and presuppositions of [scientific] “knowing.”

The cosmic constant is a purely mathematical concept; in using it to speak of the speed of light, one no longer imagines speed, light, or propagation, one must only have in mind numbers and symbols. If someone were to ask those scientists what is light, without accepting an answer in mathematical symbols, they would look stupefied and not even understand the request.

Ever since [modern man] has been subject to compulsory education, his mind has been stuffed with “positive" scientific notions; he cannot avoid seeing in a soulless light everything that surrounds him, and therefore acts destructively.

[Julius Evola]
Ride the Tiger, p. 133, 138
 



This is why atomistic thinking led people to metaphysical materialism, to the rather mysterious idea that only matter is real. The Greek atomists were the first people who seriously made this striking claim, the first real materialists.

Their Ionian predecessors such as Thales had taken for granted that life and spirit were included as properties of their primal substance - water, air or fire. Instead, the atomists seriously tried to show how life and consciousness could emerge from a world consisting only of static, inert atoms and the void.

[Mary Midgley]
Science and Poetry, p.89



Related posts:

From Static to Dynamic




“The will of God" for us is a pleonasm — God (or “Nature," as some say) is nothing but will.

After the Renaissance the notion of God sheds the old sensuous and personal traits [...] becomes little by little identical with the notion of infinite space and in becoming so becomes transcendent world-will.

And therefore it is that about 1700 painting has to yield to instrumental music — the only art that in the end is capable of clearly expressing what we feel about God.

Consider, in contrast with this, the gods of Homer. Zeus emphatically does not possess full powers over the world, but is simply "primus inter pares," a body amongst bodies, as the Apollinian world-feeling requires. Blind necessity, the Ananke immanent in the cosmos of Classical consciousness, is in no sense dependent upon him; on the contrary, the Gods are subordinate to It.

The Classical soul, therefore, with its parts and its properties, imagines itself as an Olympus of little gods, and to keep these at peace and in harmony with one another is the ideal of the Greek life-ethic of Temperance and Ataraxia.

More than one of the philosophers betrays the connexion by calling nous, the highest part of the soul, Zeus. Aristotle assigns to his deity the single function of […] contemplation, and this is Diogenes's ideal also — a completely-matured static of life in contrast to the equally ripe dynamic of our 18th-Century ideal.

[Oswald Spengler]
The Decline of the West, Vol. 1, p. 312-3



Related posts:

Deep Code




There are as many morales as there are Cultures, no more and no fewer.

Just as every painter every musician has something in him which, by force of inward necessity never emerges into consciousness but dominates a priori the form-language of his work and differentiates that work from the work of every other Culture, so every conception of Life held by a Culture-man possesses a priori (in the very strictest Kantian sense of the phrase) a constitution that is deeper than all momentary judgments and strivings and impresses the style of these with the hall-mark of the particular Culture.

The individual may act morally or immorally, may do "good" or "evil" with respect to the primary feeling of his Culture, but the theory of his actions is not a result but a datum. Each Culture possesses its own standards, the validity of which begins and ends with it.

There is no general morale of humanity […]

Just as we are incapable of altering our world-feeling - so incapable that even in trying to alter it we have to follow the old lines and confirm instead of overthrowing it - so also we are powerless to alter the ethical basis of our waking being […]

We may talk to-day of transvaluing all our values; we may, as Megalopolitans, “go back to” Buddhism or Paganism or a romantic Catholicism; we may champion as Anarchists an individualist or as Socialists a collectivist ethic - but in spite of all we do, will and feel the same.

A conversion to Theosophy or Freethinking or one of the present-day transitions from a supposed Christianity to a supposed Atheism (or vice versa) is an alteration of words and notions, of the religious or intellectual surface, no more. None of our "movements" have changed man.

[Oswald Spengler]
The Decline of the West, Vol. 1, p. 345-6




The text of a conviction is never a test of its reality, for man is rarely conscious of his own beliefs.

Catchwords and doctrines are always more or less popular and external as compared with deep spiritual actualities. Our theoretical reverence for the propositions of the New Testament is in fact of the same order as the theoretical reverence of the Renaissance and of Classicism for antique art; the one has no more transformed the spirit of men than the other has transformed the spirit of works.

The oft noted cases of the Mendicant Orders, the Moravians and the Salvation Army prove by their very rarity, and even more by the slightness of the effects that they have been able to produce, that they are exceptions in a quite different generality - namely, the Faustian-Christian morale.

That morale will not indeed be found formulated, either by Luther or by the Council of Trent, but all Christians of the great style - Innocent III and Calvin, Loyola and Savonarola, Pascal and St. Theresa - have had it in them, even in unconscious contradiction to their own formal teachings.

[Oswald Spengler]
The Decline of the West, Vol. 1, p. 348




[…] the word “God” in antithesis to “world” has always - however interpreted in this or that case - implied exactly what is implied in the word “will” with respect to soul, viz., the power that moves all that is within its domain.

Thought no sooner leaves Religion for Science than we get the double myth of concepts, in physics and psychology. The concepts “force,” “mass,” “will,” “passion” rest not on objective experience but on a life-feeling. Darwinism is nothing but a specially shallow formulation of this feeling […]

When a Materialist or Darwinian speaks of a "Nature" that orders everything, that effects selections, that produces and destroys anything, he differs only to the extent of one word from the 18th-Century Deist.

The world-feeling has undergone no change.

[Oswald Spengler]
The Decline of the West, Vol. 1, p. 312



Related posts:

The Duty to Work




It is not attitude and mien, but activity that is to be given form.

As in China and in Egypt, life only counts in so far as it is deed. And it is the mechanicalizing of the organic concept of Deed that leads to the concept of work as commonly understood, the civilized form of Faustian effecting.

This morale, the insistent tendency to give to Life the most active forms imaginable, is stronger than reason, whose moral programs — be they never so reverenced, inwardly believed or ardently championed — are only effective in so far as they either lie, or are mistakenly supposed to lie, in the direction of this force. Otherwise they remain mere words.

We have to distinguish, in all modernism, between the popular side with its dolce far niente, its solicitude for health, happiness, freedom from care, and universal peace — in a word, its supposedly Christian ideals — and the higher Ethos which values deeds only, which (like everything else that is Faustian) is neither understood nor desired by the masses, which grandly idealizes the Aim and therefore Work.

If we would set against the Roman "panem et circenses" […] some corresponding symbol of the North […] it would be the "Right to Work." This was the basis of Fichte's thoroughly Prussian (and now European) conception of State-Socialism, and in the last terrible stages of evolution it will culminate in the Duty to Work.

[Oswald Spengler]
The Decline of the West, Vol. 1, p. 362



Related posts:

The Lie of Life




Something has come to an end.

The Northern soul has exhausted its inner possibilities, and of the dynamic force and insistence that had expressed itself in world-historical visions of the future - visions of millennial scope - nothing remains but the mere pressure, the passion yearning to create, the form without the content.

This soul was Will and nothing but Will. It needed an aim for its Columbus-longing; it had to give its inherent activity at least the illusion of a meaning and an object.

And so the keener critic will find a trace of Hjalmar Ekdal in all modernity, even its highest phenomena. Ibsen called it the lie of life. There is something of this lie in the entire intellect of the Western Civilization, so far as this applies itself to the future of religion, of art or of philosophy, to a social-ethical aim, a Third Kingdom.

For deep down beneath it all is the gloomy feeling, not to be repressed, that all this hectic zeal is the effort of a soul that may not and cannot rest to deceive itself.

This is the tragic situation — the inversion of the Hamlet motive — that produced Nietzsche's strained conception of a "return," which nobody really believed but he himself clutched fast lest the feeling of a mission should slip out of him. This Life's lie is the foundation of Bayreuth – which would be something whereas Pergamum was something - and a thread through the entire fabric of Socialism, political, economic and ethical, which forces itself to ignore the annihilating seriousness of its own final implications, so as to keep alive the illusion of the historical necessity of its own existence.

[Oswald Spengler] 
The Decline of the West, Vol. 1, p. 364



Related posts:

The Coming of Nihilism




Civilisation                            -                      Culture
Mechanism                            -                      Organism 
Part                                        -                      Whole
Barren                                    -                      Fertile  
                   



Modernity - by which we mean the liberal worldview - can be characterised as the negation of traditional bonds, or boundaries. In this sense, Modernity does not offer a positive programme - it only works to dissolve, rather than create. Its only borders are those that preserve the liberal status-quo, which is another way of saying that it prohibits bonds, boundaries and groupings.

'Modernity' is, then, synonymous with 'anti-tradition.'
 



Each of the three [Buddhism, Stoicism, Socialism] buried a millennium of spiritual depth [...] In each case, the ideals of yesterday, the religious and artistic and political forms that have grown up through the centuries, are undone.

Each proclaimed his gospel to mankind, but it was to the mankind of the city intelligentsia, which was tired of the town and the Late Culture, and whose "pure" (i.e., soulless) reason longed to be free from them and their authoritative form and their hardness, from the symbolism with which it was no longer in living communion and which therefore it detested.

The Culture was annihilated by discussion.

If we pass in review the great 19th-Century names with which we associate the march of this great drama - Schopenhauer, Hebbel, Wagner, Nietzsche, Ibsen, Strindberg - we comprehend in a glance that which Nietzsche, in a fragmentary preface to his incomplete master-work, deliberately and correctly called the Coming of Nihilism.

Every one of the great Cultures knows it, for it is of deep necessity inherent in the finale of these mighty organisms. Socrates was a nihilist, and Buddha. There is an Egyptian or an Arabian or a Chinese de-souling of the human being, just as there is a Western.

This is a matter not of mere political and economic, nor even of religious and artistic, transformations, nor of any tangible or factual change whatsoever, but of the condition of a soul after it has actualized its possibilities in full.

Not external life and conduct, not institutions and customs, but deepest and last things are question here - the inward finishedness (Fertigsein) of megalopolitan man, and of the provincial as well. For the Classical world this condition sets in with the Roman age; for us it will set in from about the year 2000.

For Western existence the distinction lies at about the year 1800 - on the one side of that frontier life in fullness and sureness of itself, formed by growth from within, in one great uninterrupted evolution from Gothic childhood to Goethe and Napoleon, and on the other the autumnal, artificial, rootless life of our great cities, under forms fashioned by the intellect.

Culture and Civilization - the living body of a soul and the mummy of it […] Culture and Civilization - the organism born of Mother Earth, and the mechanism proceeding from hardened fabric. Culture-man lives inwards, Civilization-man outwards in space and amongst bodies and “facts."

That which the one feels as Destiny the other understands as a linkage of causes and effects, and thenceforward he is a materialist - in the sense of the word valid for, and only valid for, Civilization – whether he wills it or no, and whether Buddhist, Stoic or Socialist doctrines wear the garb of religion or not.

The feeling of strangeness in these forms, the idea that they are a burden from which creative freedom requires to be relieved, the impulse to overhaul the stock in order by the light of reason to turn it to better account, the fatal imposition of thought upon the inscrutable quality of creativeness, are all symptoms of a soul that is beginning to tire.

Only the sick man feels his limbs.

Life is no longer to be lived as something self-evident - hardly a matter of consciousness, let alone choice - or to be accepted as God-willed destiny, but is to be treated as a problem, presented as the intellect sees it, judged by “utilitarian” or “rational” criteria.

The brain rules because the soul abdicates. Culture-men live unconsciously, civilisation-men consciously. The megalopolis - sceptical, practical, artificial - alone represents Civilisation to-day. The soil-peasantry before its gates does not count. The "People" means the city-people, an inorganic mass, something fluctuating. The peasant is not democratic - this again being a notion belonging to mechanical and urban existence - and he is therefore overlooked, despised, detested. With the vanishing of the old "estates" - gentry and priesthood - he is the only organic man, the sole relic of the Early Culture.

[Faust] is Civilization in the place of Culture, external mechanism in place of internal organism, intellect as the petrifact of extinct soul.

[Oswald Spengler]
The Decline of the West, Vol. 1, p.352-4, 357



A current of thought and a “historiography” exist that represent this process of rebellion and dissolution, or at least its first phases, as having been something positive and as a victory. It is another aspect of contemporary nihilism, whose undeclared basis is a sort of “shipwreck euphoria.”

It is well known that the phases of dissolution, beginning with illuminism and liberalism and proceeding gradually to immanentist historicism (first “idealistic,” then materialist and Marxist), have been interpreted and celebrated as those of the emancipation and reaffirmation of man, of progress of the spirit, and of true "humanism.”

Man, at a given moment, wanted to "be free.” He was allowed to be so, and he was allowed to throw off the chains that did not bind him so much as sustain him. Thereupon he was allowed to suffer all the consequences of his liberation, following ineluctably up to his present state in which “God is dead” […] and existence becomes the field of absurdity where everything is possible and everything is allowed.

This is what Nietzsche called the “tragic phase” of nihilism. It is the beginning of the “misery of man without God.” Existence seems devoid of any meaning, any goal. While all imperatives, moral values, and restraints have fallen away, so have all supports […] Existence is reduced to itself in its naked reality, without any reference point outside itself that could give it a real meaning for man. 

For some time, a good part of Western humanity has considered it a natural thing for existence to lack any real meaning, and for it not to be ordered by any higher principle, arranging their lives in the most bearable and least disagreeable way they can. Of course this has its counterpart and inevitable consequence in an inner life that is more and more reduced, formless, feeble, and elusive, and in a growing dissolution of any uprightness and character.

One also notices that the sporadic experiences of intellectuals and artists of the past become modes of behavior occurring in the natural course of things for certain groups of the younger generation [...] Only yesterday it was a matter of writers, painters, and “damned poets” living on the edge, often alcoholics, mingling their talents with the climate of existential dissolution and with irrational rebellion against established values.

Already after World War I, processes of this type had begun to spread, announcing the final phases of nihilism. At first such harbingers remained at the margins of life, on the frontier-zone of art. The most significant and radical of them all was perhaps Dadaism, the end result of the deepest impulses that had nourished the various movements of avant-garde art.

But Dadaism negated the very categories of art, showing the transition to the chaotic forms of a life deprived of any rationality, any restraint, any coherence; it was not just the acceptance but the exaltation of the absurd and the contradictory, of nonsense and pointlessness taken just as they are.

[Julius Evola]
Ride the Tiger, p. 19-22
 



[...] boomer truth or the boomer truth regime refers to the episteme under which we have been suffering since 1945. 

In this episteme the summum bonum, the ultimate moral good, is something like individual self-expression unmoored from societal constraint. In its most depraved manifestation we might imagine the grotesque defender of the regime, Vaush – a hog-like neck-bearded YouTuber – defending paedophilia and questioning sexual age-of-consent laws. 

The ultimate evil in this regime is represented by the Mid-Century Germans and their terrible monstrous leader Moustache Man.

[Academic Agent]
'About This Substack: On Boomer Truth and Related Issues'      




Turning to a particular point, one can only maintain an attitude of detachment when facing the confrontation of the two factions contending for world domination today: the democratic, capitalist West and the communist East.

In fact, this struggle is devoid of any meaning from a spiritual point of view. The “West” is not an exponent of any higher ideal. Its very civilization, based on an essential negation of traditional values, presents the same destructions and nihilistic background that is evident in the Marxist and communist sphere, however different in form and degree.

[Julius Evola]
Ride the Tiger, p.175-6



Related posts:

Interpretations of History




The Classical spirit, with its oracles and its omens, wants only to know the future, but the Westerner would shape it […] The Socialist - the dying Faust of Part II - is the man of historical care, who feels the Future as his task and aim, and accounts the happiness of the moment as worthless in comparison.

It is well, at this point, to recall once more that each of the different great Cultures has pictured world-history in its own special way. Classical man only saw himself and his fortunes as statically present with himself, and did not ask "whence" or "whither." Universal history was for him an impossible notion. This is the static way of looking at history.

Magian man sees it as the great cosmic drama of creation and foundering, the struggle between Soul and Spirit, Good and Evil, God and Devil - a strictly-defined happening with, as its culmination, one single Peripeteia - the appearance of the Saviour.

Faustian man sees in history a tense unfolding towards an aim; its "ancient-mediæval-modern" sequence is a dynamic image. He cannot picture history to himself in any other way. This scheme of three parts is not indeed world-history as such general world-history. 

But it is the image of world-history as it is conceived in the Faustian style.

It begins to be true and consistent with the beginning of the Western Culture and ceases with its ceasing; and Socialism in the highest sense is logically the crown of it, the form of its conclusive state that has been implicit in it from Gothic onwards.

[Oswald Spengler]
The Decline of the West, Vol. 1, p.363



Related posts:

Explain Away




Within Modernity, the extremes work to negate or destroy the centre. Knowledge of the atomic level undermines the everyday world because we assume that the former is more 'true' than the latter, which then becomes a mere illusion. 'Nothing but' reductionism shifts truth to the extremes, and asserts that the only way to solid ground is by digging ever deeper.

Within Tradition, on the other hand, the extremes work to enrich and deepen the centre. Tradition extends truth to all levels, from the everyday to the Quantum. The extremes are sacred zones, only to be explored by the initiated.

 


Sweet is the lore which Nature brings:
Our meddling intellect
Misshapes the beauteous forms of things: -
We murder to dissect.

[William Wordsworth]
The Tables Turned
 



The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.

[Steven Weinberg]
The First Three Minutes, p. 154
 



Should our only reaction to a diamond be to explain that it is just carbon, and to a rainbow to point out that it is just water […]?

[Mary Midgley]
Science and Poetry, p.70
 



Descartes, the father of modern rationalism, insisted that 'we should never allow ourselves to be persuaded excepting by the evidence of our Reason', and he emphasised specially that he spoke 'of our Reason and not of our imagination nor of our senses.’

The method of reason is to 'reduce involved and obscure propositions step by step to those that are simpler, and then, starting with the intuitive apprehension of all those that are absolutely simple, attempt to ascend to the knowledge of all others by precisely similar steps'.

This is a programme conceived by a mind both powerful and frighteningly narrow […]

[E. F. Schumacher]
A Guide for the Perplexed, p.17
 



Is it, then, possible to imagine a new Natural Philosophy, continually conscious that the ‘natural object’ produced by analysis and abstraction is not reality but only a view, and always correcting the abstraction? […]

The regenerate science which I have in mind would not do even to minerals and vegetables what modern science threatens to do to man himself. When it explained it would not explain away. When it spoke of the parts it would remember the whole. While studying the It it would not lose what Martin Buber calls the Thou-situation […]

Its followers would not be free with the words only and merely. In a word, it would conquer Nature without being at the same time conquered by her and buy knowledge at a lower cost than that of life.

Perhaps I am asking impossibilities. Perhaps, in the nature of things, analytical understanding must always be a basilisk which kills what it sees and only sees by killing. But if the scientists themselves cannot arrest this process before it reaches the common Reason and kills that too, then someone else must arrest it.

What I most fear is the reply that I am 'only one more' obscurantist, that this barrier, like all previous barriers set up against the advance of science, can be safely passed. Such a reply springs from the fatal serialism of the modern imagination - the image of infinite unilinear progression which so haunts our minds.

Because we have to use numbers so much we tend to think of every process as if it must be like the numeral series, where every step, to all eternity, is the same kind of step as the one before.

There are progressions in which the last step is sui generis - incommensurable with the others - and in which to go the whole way is to undo all the labour of your previous journey. To reduce the Tao to a mere natural product is a step of that kind. Up to that point, the kind of explanation which explains things away may give us something, though at a heavy cost.

But you cannot go on ‘explaining away' for ever: you will find that you have explained explanation itself away. You cannot go on 'seeing through' things for ever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it.

It is good that the window should be transparent, because the street or garden beyond it is opaque. How if you saw through the garden too? It is no use trying to ‘see through' first principles. If you see through everything, then everything is transparent. But a wholly transparent world is an invisible world. To ‘see through' all things is the same as not to see.

[C.S. Lewis]
‘The Abolition of Man’, Selected Books, p.428-9




Experience means to us an activity of the intellect, which does not resignedly confine itself to receiving, acknowledging and arranging momentary and purely present impressions, but seeks them out and calls them up in order to overcome them in their sensuous presence and to bring them into an unbounded unity in which their sensuous discreteness is dissolved.

Experience in our sense possesses the tendency from particular to infinite. And for that very reason it is in contradiction with the feeling of Classical science.

What for us is the way to acquire experience is for the Greek the way to lose it. And therefore he kept away from the drastic method of experiment; therefore his physics, instead of being a mighty system of worked-out laws and formula that strong-handedly override the sense present ("only knowledge is power"), is an aggregate of impressions - well ordered, intensified by sensuous imagery, clean-edged - which leaves Nature intact in its self-completeness.

It would never have occurred to a Classical physicist to investigate things while at the same time denying or annihilating their perceivable form. And for that very reason there was no Classical chemistry, any more than there was any theorizing on the substance as against the manifestations of Apollo.

[Oswald Spengler]
The Decline of the West, Vol.1, p. 383, 394




According to one most recent theory, which integrates Einstein's relativity, purely mathematical entities that on the one hand magically spring forth in full irrationality, but on the other are ordered in a completely formal system of algebraic "production,” exhaustively account for everything that can be positively checked and formularized regarding the ultimate basis of sensible reality.

This process was the intellectual background to the atomic era's inauguration - parallel, therefore, to the definitive liquidation of all knowledge in the proper sense.

One of the principal exponents of modern physics, Heisenberg, has explicitly admitted this in his book: it is about a formal knowledge enclosed in itself, extremely precise in its practical consequences, in which, however, one cannot speak of knowledge of the real. For modern science, he says, “the object of research is no longer the object in itself, but nature as a function of the problems that man sets himself”; the logical conclusion in such science being that “henceforth man only meets himself."

Not only has [science] gradually freed itself from any immediate data of sense experience and common sense, but even from all that which imagination could offer as support. The current concepts of space, time, motion, and causality fall one by one, so to speak.

Everything that can be suggested by the direct and living relationship of the observer to the observed is made unreal, irrelevant, and negligible.

It is then like a catharsis that consumes every residue of the sensory, not in order to lead to a higher world, the “intelligible world” or a "world of ideas," as in the ancient schools of wisdom, but rather to the realm of pure mathematical thought, of number, of undifferentiated quantity, as opposed to the realm of quality, of meaningful forms and living forces: a spectral and cabalistic world, an extreme intensification of the abstract intellect, where it is no longer a matter of things or phenomena, but almost of their shadows reduced to their common denominator, gray and indistinguishable.

One may well speak of a falsification of the elevation of the mind above human sense-experience, which in the traditional world had as its effect not the destruction of the evidences of that experience, but their integration: the potentizing of the ordinary, concrete perception of natural phenomena by also experiencing their symbolic and intelligible aspects.

[Julius Evola]
Ride the Tiger, p.135-6
 


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Spirit / Soul




Spirit                                    -                      Soul
Reason                                 -                      Instinct
Cerebral                               -                      Visceral
Outside                                 -                      Inside





Where the old [education] initiated, the new merely ‘conditions'. The old dealt with its pupils as grown birds deal with young birds when they teach them to fly; the new deals with them more as the poultry-keeper deals with young birds - making them thus or thus for purposes of which the birds know nothing.

In a word, the old was a kind of propagation - men transmitting manhood to men; the new is merely propaganda.

[…] They probably have some vague notion […] that valour and good faith and justice could be sufficiently commended to the pupil on what they would call 'rational' or 'biological’ or ‘modern' grounds, if it should ever become necessary […] Let us suppose for a moment that the harder virtues could really be theoretically justifed with no appeal to objective value. It still remains true that no justification of virtue will enable a man to be virtuous.

Without the aid of trained emotions the intellect is powerless against the animal organism. 

I had sooner play cards against a man who was quite sceptical about ethics, but bred to believe that ‘a gentleman does not cheat', than against an irreproachable moral philosopher who had been brought up among sharpers. In battle it is not syllogisms that will keep the reluctant nerves and muscles to their post in the third hour of the bombardment. The crudest sentimentalism […] about a flag or a country or a regiment will be of more use.

We were told it all long ago by Plato. As the king governs by his executive, so Reason in man must rule the mere appetites by means of the ‘spirited element’. The head rules the belly through the chest - the seat, as Alanus tells us, of Magnanimity, of emotions organized by trained habit into stable sentiments.

The Chest - Magnanimity - Sentiment - these are the indispensable liaison officers between cerebral man and visceral man. It may even be said that it is by this middle element that man is man: for by his intellect he is mere spirit and by his appetite mere animal.

[C.S. Lewis]
‘The Abolition of Man’, Selected Books, p. 407



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Stages of the same deviation




[…] when a few people have become conscious of the disorder of these days [...] and when these people try to 'react’ in one way or another, the best means for making their desire for ‘reaction' ineffective is surely to direct it toward one of the earlier and less 'advanced’ stages of the same deviation, some stage in which disorder had not yet become so apparent, and was as it here presented under an outward aspect more acceptable to anyone not yet completely blinded by certain suggestions.

Anyone who considers himself a 'traditionalist' must normally declare himself ‘anti-modern', but he may not be any the less affected, though he be unaware of the fact, by modern ideas in a more or less attenuated form; they are then less easily detected, but they always correspond in fact to one or another of the stages passed through by these same ideas in the course of their development; no concession, even unconscious or involuntary, is admissible on this point, for from the very beginning up to the present day, and beyond that too, everything holds together and is inexorably interlinked.

In that connection, this much more must be said: the work that has as its object to prevent all ‘reaction' from aiming at anything further back than a return to a lesser disorder, while at the same time concealing the character of the lesser disorder so that it may pass as ‘order', fits in very exactly with the other work carried out with a view to securing the penetration of the modern spirit into the interior of whatever is left of traditional organizations of any kind in the West; the same ‘neutralizing’ effect on forces of which the opposition might become formidable is obtained in both cases.

Moreover, something more than mere ‘neutralization' is involved, for a struggle must necessarily take place between the elements thus brought together as it were on the same level and on the same ground, and their reciprocal enmity is therefore no more than an enmity between the various and apparently opposed productions of one and the same modern deviation; thus the final result can only be a fresh increase in disorder and confusion, which simply amounts to one more step toward final dissolution.

As between all the more or less incoherent things that are today in constant agitation and mutual collision, as between all external ‘movements’ of whatever kind they may be, there is no occasion to ‘take sides’, to use the common expression, whether from a traditional or from a merely 'traditionalist’ point of view, for to do so is to become a dupe. Since the same influences are really operating behind all these things, it is really playing their game to join in the struggles promoted and directed by them; therefore the mere fact of ‘taking sides’ under such conditions is necessarily to adopt, however unwittingly, a truly anti-traditional attitude.

[René Guénon]
The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, p.212-4




Accepting the premise that there is an underlying symbiotic relationship between right- and left-liberalism would undermine the deepest commitments of the various sides - in spite of the diurnal spectacle of highly contested politics - to what is ultimately the same project.

[…] what is bemoaned by the right is due not to the left but to the consequences of its own deepest commitments, especially to liberal economics. And […] what is bemoaned by the left is due not to the right but to the consequences of its own deepest commitments, especially to the dissolution of social norms, particularly those regarding sexual behavior and identity.

The "wedding” between global corporations and this sexual agenda is one of the most revealing yet widely ignored manifestations of this deeper synergy.

[Patrick J. Deneen]
Why Liberalism Failed, p.xxi
 


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