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God apart

Friday, 22 January 2021 at 10:15

Scaligero on Dr John Dunn. Eye contact between Steiner and Scaligero

I was pleased when I found God included in the following passage from Massimo Scaligero’s The Logos and the New Mysteries.

The matter of materialism and the Kantian thing-in-itself are the same dead thinking - i.e. divided thought, which sees reality outside it and assumes it as truth apart from itself - matter, essence, God, the physical world, the metaphysical world. (p.20)

Materialists are precisely the ones who prohibit themselves from knowing matter, because, unknowingly, they make a presupposition out of it, essentially valid only as thought, which for them, however, coincides with reality. (p.21)

The reduction of God to the dead thinking of the materialists I represented as idolatry in my book, Child of Encounter. There are many passages from my book that I could quote in relation to Scaligero’s views, but the following two are just a sample. Remember too that Evola was something of an influence over Scaligero.

Remember, shunning idolatry means that God, the Word, Logos, Truth are not to be considered as a pre-existent entities. (Child of Encounter p.231)

In his 1925 work Essays on Magical Idealism, Julius Evola declared that ‘God does not exist. The Ego must create him by making itself divine’. (Child of Encounter p.225)

I also thought that the following quote, a favourite of mine from Angelus Silesius, was worth including in this general context.

I know that without me no God can live; were I brought to naught, he would of necessity have to give up the ghost. (Cherubic Wanderer 1.8)

© John Dunn.

Logos aversion

Thursday, 21 January 2021 at 10:04

Sun on Dr John Dunn. Logos aversion

Developing along the lines of argument in the previous blog, Massimo Scaligero once more turns to that moment of intuition that ‘has the possibility’ of arising independently of the object, as the true ‘I’, which is where, according to him, the pathway to esoteric truth lies. He is, however, once more concerned to point out how that pathway is lost before the first step is taken, which leads us to confront the object as something wholly apart from us and given.

In The Logos and the New Mysteries, Scaligero wrote that first moment of intuition, whilst full of potential for freedom:

. becomes estranged, because it is arrested at the point of manifesting dialectically, by temporarily expressing itself according to the cerebral, neuropsychic, corporeal support.

. does not know its own essence, because it becomes conscious according to the support, and it thinks the essence outside of itself. It sees thereality of the world, exterior and extraneous, powerful in its alterity, as though it had its foundation within itself, and affirmed its appearing in the form of matter.

Scaligero’s main point in the context of the book as a whole is that:

. by eluding the ‘I’, the dynamis of the relation, as a moment of freedom, becomes automatism, instinctiveness, material vision, and aversion to the principle, to the Logos.

© John Dunn.

Faith in the physical

Wednesday, 20 January 2021 at 10:04

Scaligero image on Dr John Dunn. Portrait of Massimo Scaligero, Albino Marcolli

Massimo Scaligero focused on an aspect of Rudolf Steiner’s Philosophy of Freedom and makes it central to The Logos and the New Mysteries.

Steiner had made the case for intuition, in addition to immediate perception, being necessary for a complete and rounded understanding of the object.

This intuition ‘has the possibility’ of arising independently of the object and this, according to Scaligero, is where the pathway to esoteric truth lies.

However, the intuition is independent for but a fleeting moment before becoming tied inseparably to the object in the eyes of the onlooker. The role of the onlooker’s intuition in the full and complete development of the object as it appears to us is lost, leading us to confront the object as something wholly apart from us and given. Scaligero’s argument is that to see the things around us as wholly apart from us and given is to engage in an act of faith.

He wrote:

…we are each the subject of the experience, since the realm of technology and, therefore, of the mechanism, asserts itself thanks to a missing sentiment of truth, which arises in us as intuition. It is not the original intuition, which has the possibility of determination independent of the object, but the intuition that has refrained from recognising itself and, therefore sees the presupposition in outer datum, in the phenomenon, in the fact. It does not recognise it within itself. Thus its movement toward the object becomes conformity, dependence, and mystical submissiveness to reality. Faith rises, but in the lowest form - as faith in the physical fact. (The Logos and the New Mysteries, p.15)

© John Dunn.

Political esotericism

Tuesday, 19 January 2021 at 10:05

Evola painting on Dr John Dunn. Julius Evola, Paesaggio interiore, apertura del diaframma (Inner landscape, aperture), 1921

In my last blog I made the point that Evola stood against Theosophy and its variants because they end up promoting an ideal of unity understoodas immanence of the ‘One Life’ in every being.

Evola believed that the ‘One life’ should not be the end point, but rather the starting point i.e. the ‘undifferentiated substrate’, the forest out of which the individual carves his own clearing of ‘formed individuality’; it is not – as the Theosophists misunderstood it – a final state of perfection in which distinct individuals dissolve themselves, losing their identity in a pantheistic fusion with the Whole.

This esoteric position of Evola’s crossed seamlessly into his political standpoint

I quote from Evola's Fascism Viewed from the Right.

In truth, personality and liberty can be conceived only on the basis of the individual’s freeing himself, to a certain degree, from the naturalistic, biological and primitively individualist bonds that characterise the pre-state and pre-political forms in a purely social, utilitarian and contractual sense. Then it is possible to conceive that the true state, the state characterised by the ‘transcendence’ of the political level that we have discussed, furnishes a propitious environment for the development of personality and true liberty in the sense of virtus, according to the Classical understanding. With its climate of high tension, it issues a continual appeal to the individual to carry himself beyond himself, beyond simple vegetative life.

Freedom is a kind of transcendence. The higher self should transcend the lower self and the state should encourage this impulse. This is the transcendence that results from a rising up out of the vegitative ‘One life’.

There is also a downward self-transcendence where the individual transcends himself in the direction of collectives and demagogic movements. This results in a descent into the ‘One life’ with the concomitant loss of identity - the death of the self.

To use the term totalitarianism correctly, the substantial difference could be briefly expressed by saying that totalitarianism of the Right is ‘anagogic’, while that of the Left is ‘catagogic’, and that only because both are equally opposed to the limited and hollow regime of the bourgeois individual could a myopic mindset think that they have anything in common.

Left and right are totally opposed. They transcend individual bourgeois consumer-based culture but in opposite directions.

© John Dunn.

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.

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