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Formless to formed

Sunday, 17 January 2021 at 21:17

Evola painting on Dr John Dunn. Julius Evola, Tendency of Sensorial Idealism, 1916

There is more to explore e.g. Julius Evola’s case for ‘formed individuality’ and its relationship to Theosis. Also, how does Massimo Scaligero’s relationship to Anthroposophy determine, if at all, the direction of his movement to or from oneness.

An essay by Roberto Bacci* moves us forward on the path to dealing with these issues. Bacci examines the essay Maschera e volto dello spiritualismo contemporaneo (1932) (Mask and face of contemporary spiritualism) which was Julius Evola’s criticism of Theosophism and its dissident offshoot Rudolf Steiner’s Anthropositivism amongst others.

Bacci discusses how Evola advocated the idea of consciousness as ‘one’ in the sense that it is unique and specific, the result of a process of individuation; meanwhile he censured Theosophy because it promoted a model of 'oneness' in the sense of a collective entity, resulting from levelling the differences into a homogeneous totality.

According to Evola, Theosophy correctly sets as a goal for the individual the achievement of an ‘independent self-consciousness,’ but then it gets side-tracked by the anti-aristocratic notion of ‘social collective progress’ – a spiritual evolution across the ages involving all human beings indiscriminately – and ends up promoting an ideal of unity understood as immanence of the ‘One Life’ in every being.

Though Evola never said it in so many words, he must have recognised that in its obsession with oneness, theosophy served as a ‘spiritual’ arm of globalism and its two faces, financial and Marxist.

In Maschera e volto dello spiritualismo contemporaneo Evola made the case for the ‘One Life’ being the point of departure and not the arrival in the transmutation of consciousness. The ‘One Life’ is the ‘undifferentiated substrate’, the forest out of which the individual carves out its own clearing of ‘formed individuality’; it is not – as the Theosophists misunderstood it – a final state of perfectionin which distinct individuals dissolve themselves, losing their identity in a pantheistic fusion with the Whole.

The Theosophist cosmography of ultimate Oneness draws upon Platonism, Lurianic Kabbalah and Spinozism. Any sign of individual specificity is erased. In opposition to this view, Evola exalted an ascetic-alchemical teaching which aimed at refining the inner core of individuality as a grain of pure gold. Transmutation – stated Evola – must always proceed from ‘formless universality’ to ‘formed individuality’ and not the otherway around.

It is the latter offering of transmutation with which I agree in my book Child of Encounter, in which I condemn the whole of the accepted western philosophico-literary canon as being malignly influenced by Lurianic Kabbalah and Spinozism into promoting pathways to undifferentiated Oneness.

*In pulling together the above working notes, I am indebted to Roberto Bacci and his essay Transmutationand Homogenization of Consciousness in Italian Esotericism during the Fascist Period: Mario Manlio Rossi’s Spaccio dei Maghi and Julius Evola’s Maschera e Volto dello Spiritualismo Contemporaneo.

© John Dunn.

Salvage the individual

Saturday, 16 January 2021 at 10:22

Stop cartoon on Dr John Dunn. The logic of Gentile’s philosophy of no presuppositions is such that ultimately the staring point, i.e. the individual thinker, must be lost, leaving a situation best described as thinking thought doing the thinking without the thinker.

In trying to salvage the individual, we might at best say that thinking thought has adopted the individual in order to think. And if actual thinking thought is truth, i.e. pure Logos, then are we not looking here at Logos incarnated with all its theological implications.

There is a proactive element to Massimo Scaligero’s adaptation of Giovanni Gentile’s philosophy, which might be expressed as the thinker adopting thinking thought to think and thereby opening a pathway to Logos, Love, God. However, Scaligero is still left with the unanswered conundrum that he inherited from Gentile, and that is - how do you account for the necessarily presupposed starting point in the act of thinking thought, i.e. the individual thinker.

Similarly, how is it possible to avoid the idolatry of establishing the Logos as apresupposition, thereby rendering God as an abstract concept?

I look forward to reading about how, if at all, Scaligero answers the call to deal with the above abstraction conundrums as they apply to man and God, when I eventually read his Logos and the New Mysteries.

© John Dunn.

Logos incarnated

Friday, 15 January 2021 at 09:43

Stained glass on Dr John Dunn. From Massimo Scaligero’s standpoint, is not the thinking ‘I’ an act of reflected thought, i.e. thought thought and therefore an abstraction?

I ask this, because Gentile faced the same paradox. Reflected thought is presuppositional, i.e. abstract. By starting with the ‘I’ that thinks, Gentile did in fact allow a presupposition, an abstraction, there by losing the ‘I’. But if he had started with the pure act* of thinking, hewould have lost the very ‘I’ that was presupposed to have done the act of thinking in the first place. Losing the ‘I’ means that thinking takesplace without the thinker.

What is doing the thinking? Where do the thoughts come from?

If the truth lies in the thinking act, which is autonomous from the ‘I’, then the thinking act is truth, i.e. the Logos.

But are not thoughts uniquely attached to man?

Add Rudolf Steiner into the mix as Scaligero did then a new dimension to the discussion opens up, because whilst Steiner would argue that thoughts are uniquely voiced by man, they do not originate in man.

Does this mean that thinking adopts the individual in order to think? And if thinking is pure Logos, then are we not looking at the Logos incarnated?

'I think therefore I am.'

But what am I?

I am the I am.

In John 8:58,Jesus answered the religious leaders, saying, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am’. This was a clear reference to Exodus 3:14, where God revealed His name to Moses as ‘I AM’.

*Benedetto Croce objected that Gentile's "pure act" was nothing other than Schopenhauer's will.

© John Dunn.

Thought thought on thinking thought

Wednesday, 13 January 2021 at 16:26

Thinker on Dr John Dunn. Massimo Scaligero’s distinction between living and reflected thinking recalls the logic of thinking and logic of thought in the philosophy of Giovanni Gentile. However, Gentile was content to remain within the parameters of Hegelian philosophy, taking it to the outer extremes of idealism, rather than seek any esoteric implications from these extremes.

Scaligero took Gentile’s idea of thinking thought in contrast to thought thought, but broke through the boundaries of idealism to formulate an esoteric foundation, in which the thinking thought, which he called living, taps into an all-encompassing cosmic force that gives man access to the Logos. Similarly, the logic of Gentile ’s thought thought becomes the limit of reflected thought in Scaligero, or rather of a dialectic end in itself which is wholly earthbound. 

Scaligero took Gentile’s pure act of thinking thought and turned it into an interior exercise with an initiatory value, usually translated as concentration, though it seems to me to be somewhere between concentration and meditation.

By contemplating the synthesis of perception and concept in a man-made object, the individual should arrive at the experience of thinking thought, or living experience that would allow him to transcend that dialectic of thought that limits him to the reflection of the world, or to its maya or appearance.

The question for me is - can access to the Logos beyond the limitations of thought thought be opened by personal experiences limited to the self, by acts of will? Or does there have to be an external intervention, an encounter of one sort or another?

© John Dunn.

Poetic human love

Tuesday, 12 January 2021 at 20:27

Alone on Dr John Dunn. I never really understood what feeling alone meant, because always, realising inner loneliness, actually looking for it, I found myself with the inner life of others, so I felt solitude not as an isolation, but an ascetic path to communion with the actual reality of beings. Feeling alone has alwaysbeen a way to serenity for me.

However, we all know that there is a difference between solitude and a condition of loneliness. The latter is related to having no-one to love, more so than being loved. It is akin to being incapable of poetry, not as aesthetic activity, but as a breathless and free spirit. The whole inner climate of the communion with the other must be poetry or it is valueless; it must be an encounter that sinks into a healing harmony. Everyone is called to the restoration of ancient harmony, the original Eden of the human couple, the crystalline marriage. The human condition is to face a world of entangled forces and lusts, ethnic struggles, wars, classist fanaticisms, equal levelling etc. This is related to the faltering of faith and honour in the spirit fighter. A failed spiritual commitment gives calculating and materialist forces pseudo-legitimate powers over the world. Beyond all compromises, overcoming fears and obscure human limitations, we need to bring all this to its end, forcing spirit to rise above what is ordinarily feared. Until such a time loneliness will hold sway. The era is difficult, but heroic and holy. One day the door to sacred and poetic human love will be opened.

© John Dunn.

Know the reality

Monday, 11 January 2021 at 17:58

Steiner on Dr John Dunn. There follows a summary of how Rudolf Steiner might have described man’s position in our epoch. There is only one path open to a description of this type and this is highly metaphorical. However, the descriptive force of the message wrapped in metaphors depends on the reader first knowing the reality of the world.


Overtime it has happened that man has descended, for different degrees of consciousness, to physical thought. He had to carry out an inner activity in which the divine-spiritual beings no longer acted. In ancient times he acted with the imagination and intuition that were given to him by the invisible Masters, the Gods, but later he had to lose this help, in order to win his freedom. Having lost his true inner dimension, he is currently in such a condition that no matter how much he can grasp the whole outside world with his thought of him, he cannot grasp the depth of inner reality. The superficiality of his intellectual level does not allow him to find the Gods, but he finds a being who gives him the answers, gives him the possibility to organise the world, knowledge, the economy, the future, everything that can be understood and organised through fallen thought. The being he finds is the one that Rudolf Steiner defines as the most dazzling intelligence on Earth: Ahriman. At that same level, that of fallen thought, however, man can also encounter Christ. It can be said that at that level man encounters the presence of Christ and the presence of Ahriman on the same level. Of course not because Christ and Ahriman are on the same level, but they are for the man who thinks with the thought of him fallen. Man has the possibility, through Christ, of rediscovering the I as he was originally. However, on the level of reflected thought he finds more easily a force that gives him everything organised: knowledge, physical, mathematical, philosophical knowledge, ethics, logic, administrative capacity, and also politics, the judiciary, medicine, even art, religion, metaphysics and meditation. It is all in the kingdom of Ahriman! Man is put in a position to know this dazzling power, but he also has the ability to perform an act of freedom and reject the easy path of Ahriman, to find the more difficult one of Christ. But he can't find Christ if he first doesn't know the reality of the world.

© John Dunn.

Surging entrance

Sunday, 10 January 2021 at 20:52

Scaligero on Dr John Dunn. Surging entrance

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.

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