Sunday, 10 January 2021 at 20:52
Thought which arises from the usual metaphysical encumbrances which fashion ourday-to-day negotiation of the world cannot be free. This is reflexive thought and leaves us trapped in the dark wood of a mythicised outlook, whether natural or supposedly supernatural. Massimo Scaligero make the case for there being a path to freedom.
In an article entitled Nishida and Living Thought, Scaligero argues that freedom begins where the spirit finds itself alone in sensory experience, deprived of metaphysics, of traditions and of visions, so that it may only know the world from its isolation, even though this is the sensible world, the world of disanimated objectivity. The act with which the spirit knows it is in itself super-sensible; it is the spirit continuing its history, even if it is not aware of it, even if it sees only material, bodies, quantity and multiplicity, the movement of thought in the world is super-sensible movement. In being aware of that super-sensible essence, the spirit experiments with freedom, an experiment which it could not undertake when it perceived the world metaphysically and the metaphysical vision of the world conditioned it.
Thought is the last-born of the spirit, through which, however, spirit begins to enter directly into the world; but it may only enter on the condition that it does not take for the content ofthe world that which rises before it thanks to its activity; the form of the world being already its penetration into it. Only the awareness of this surging entrance into the world can offer the spirit the means of avoiding the mythicising of nature or of the supernatural, and of observing these as contents that it reveals by offering them form.
© John Dunn.
In order for a society to live
Saturday, 9 January 2021 at 21:48
What follows is my attempt to distill my understanding of In Order for a Spiritual Association to Live, Massimo Scaligero’s appendix to On Immortal Love,and apply it more widely to society as a whole. There is much of Giovanni Gentile in Scaligero's writing, this I do know as a student of Gentile.
Spiritual endeavour in society with others only exists to turn us towards a higher reality.
It does not exist to become a body of knowledge and thus eliminate the higher reality that is sought.
Once thinking becomes a thought, it becomes abstract rather than concrete.
In order for a society to live, every day it needs the raw material that justifies its existence: the spirit. When this is lacking, a society canexist only as something that is not the spirit but rather so much dead matter.
This is the most critical aspect of association, because asociety cannot have its roots in the world that exists, but in that which is to come. These roots have to sought out afresh every day: because they are purely inner.
But it always happens that egotisic relations prevail and imitate the spiritual, in order to survive as egotistic states in spiritual clothing: i.e. as the abstract unification which is proper to profane societies.
In a spiritual society, the idea justifies the form otherwise the form is already an alteration of the spiritual.
Profane societies need laws, rules and institutions: they are those laws which, growing old as man progresses, constitute the force of the Pharisees of every age and the reason for the ideal struggle of the few who in each age attempt to renew them, whilst complying with them.
The error of believing that the existing society is true must not be committed, asonly that which is created and still has to be created can be true.
Any society in which its organic nature is real to the extent that it complies with the regulations, so that whoever is in compliance with the regulations is also viewed to be spiritually in order, cannot be true. This pharisaic attitude appertains to those societies that are not interested in people who have an inner life, but instead in those who observe the rules in formal orthodoxy, because they are more useful from the viewpoint of political or worldly interests.
A spiritual society can only be an agreement of souls in accordance with the demands of freedom realised as a living moment of thinking; but even in this case, this is not something that is already achieved, but something that has still to be done. The aspiration towards freedom is a fact that is continuing to take place: it is not an event, or something achieved onceand for all.
© John Dunn.
Act of freedom
Friday, 8 January 2021 at 21:40
Continuing my personal discovery of Massimo Scaligero’s thought as the bridge between Giovanni Gentile and Rudolf Steiner, I have to say how impactfulI found the preamble to Scaligero’s Logos and the New Mysteries, (Publisher: Lindisfarne Books).
The spiritual practitioner must overcome the interminable series of esoteric mirages to realize that initiation has only one source, the Christ 'certainly not the mystical or gnostic Christ or that of religion, but the cosmic Christ, the metaphysical principle of absolute individuality and freedom. In the living moment of thinking, the “I ” (true self) begins to experience the Light of the World, which has overcome the separation. This is the act of freedom’ the ultimate sense of dialectical freedom.I look forward to reading the book, but this preamble turned my thought to my ongoing reading relationship with Gentile’s The Theory of Mind as Pure Act. For example:
To find spiritual reality we must seek it. This means that it never confronts us as external ; if we would find it we must work to find it. discover mind. And if to find it we must needs seek it, and finding it just means seeking it, we shall never have found it and we shall always have found it. If we would know what we are we must think and reflect onwhat we are ; finding lasts just as long as the construction of the object which is found lasts. So long as it is sought it is found. When seeking is over and we say we have found, we have found nothing, for what we were seeking no longer is. Gentile's 'pure act' is Scaligero’s 'freedom'.
© John Dunn.
Knowledge and Liberation
Thursday, 7 January 2021 at 21:54
The following is a quote from Knowledge and Liberation by Massimo Scaligero. In this extract and the wider article are to be found the combined influences of Giovanni Gentile and Rudolf Steiner, making Scaligero an interesting thought amalgam from my personal point of view.
The Western man at this stage of his mental crisis, no longer needs to be directed towards that which presupposes the direct discovery and revelation of truth without intermediaries; what he wants to know is how the spirit begins to live in cognition itself, not in the object that gives rise to it. This indeed is precisely the ultimate content of Taoism Zendic Buddhism, Yoga. This is the ultimate formula of Shiri Aurobindo and of Ramana Maharshi. It is not a method or a discipline, it is not Sastra; it is not the doctrine that awakens man to the metaphysical experience, but the spirit in which a method or discipline is lived; not cognition itself but the activity of cognition set in motion; not the object itself but the inner force for which the object is only a pretext. That final sentence recalls Martin Heidegger and his constant plea that we must fight relentlessly for the truth of Dasein (Being-discovering). This means fighting to extricate ourselves from the grip of the ‘they’ and its mindless chatter.
Truth is not something external to us to be won by following a given tradition; it is something that we create and it is this creation that dignifies us… It is a condition that the common man partakes of unaware, constantly degrading it in the series of trifles of which his existence is woven.
© John Dunn.
Thoughts on love prompted by Rudolf Steiner
Wednesday, 6 January 2021 at 21:36
Steiner was hopelessly in thrall to the Darwinism of his time in the way that he believed human development to be a process of evolution.
There was a time, he believed, when the Divine expressed itself through love in humans.
The gods received the love that pulses through human beings and lived from it.
Man lived on the basis of love e.g. blood ties, ethnic groups etc.
Between sexes, love became a blind drive, a sexuality, blind instinct
The Gods were nourished by this blind instinct
Humans were filled with passions, but with no knowledge as to what drove their desires.
Hosts of Lucifer intervened between between gods and men.
Under influence of the gods alone the human being would have remained without the astral light, without knowledge.
Lucifer had to make up for lost time in development and employed the human being for this purpose
Lucifer had no sensory existence, but used human beings for this purpose.
Gods implanted love in people.
Lucifer seduced those people into seeing it in the light.
Lucifer has a much more intimate relationship to human beings than the gods who reign in love and love alone.
Lucifer opened the eyes of human beings and looked out with us, completing his development with us.
Carried in the womb of the gods we were children of the gods.
Striving with Lucifer we are a friend of Lucifer.
This association was expressed in the legend of how Paradise was lost.
It was expressed too in the supersession of Judaism by Christianity.
The law works from external compulsion, what Christ brought to the world works from inside.
The God of love worked above human beings, within them the light worked.
To reach love one must first become light.
Christ represents the elevation of light to love.
Light can lead to evil, but it must exist if we are to become free.
Law becomes grace as the law is lifted out of the human beings own heart.
Now knowledge can be lifted up to love.
The challenge in all the above, I feel, is to exclude the evolutionary element of Steiner’s mythology and render it down from human beings in general to the immediate individual experience.
© John Dunn.
Monday, 4 January 2021 at 21:52
Ancient man created beautiful cave art in the deepest darkest places that could not be seen.
In modern terms, this was a frivolous and wasteful activity. It was like a child alone at play, expressive of a creativity that does not need an audience.
Measured by the same terms, the creation of the cosmos was a frivolous act.
But is not a frivolous act an intervention in a self-regulating system? It is an act without purpose only in the terms of the self-regulating system itself.
Self-regulating closed systems, i.e. equilibria, do not need minds; do not need man.
The cave painter does not affect the outcome of the hunt, but he asserts his will upon the world and escapes his former animal-like existence as apurposeful functionary within the self-regulating natural world.
Escaping equilibria is the essence of what it is to be human. In terms of the particular equilibrium from which man must escape, humanisation will always be an excess, exuberance and frivolity.
The frivolity is even more marked in the face of death. I do not know where this leads us, but may have something to do with the fact that man is being unto death, whereas animals are being in the present.
© John Dunn.
Clearing in the forest
Sunday, 3 January 2021 at 21:45
My dear loving father had financed the low entry threshold university degree in business, expecting much of me. I formed friendships of convenience in the early exploratory months of my university time, none of which survived beyond the first year. During this brush with an academia of sorts, I walked and read, walked and read, immersing myself without map in the city and rambling suburbs, lost for hours, never ever reading the set books, never ever attending lectures; but this was education, real learning. Classics of English literature, poetry, philosophy, biography, all were on my personal syllabus. This was the first clearing in the forest.
© John Dunn.