Scaligero bridging two minds
Tuesday, 26 January 2021 at 10:09
Part way through the book, Massimo Scaligero rehearses his understanding of the main philosophical discovery of Rudolf Steiner’s Philosophy of Freedom,i.e. the centrality of thinking to to the complete and full realisation of any entity that would otherwise be insufficiently complete. It is in this context that the individual who has regained the conscious determination of thought can also regain his place at ‘the centre of theworld’s structure’.
The last point made above by Scaligero makes it easy to see how much of hiswork was also influenced by Giovanni Gentile, and it is of genuine interest to me to see just how Scaligero might form an intellectual bridge between Steiner and Gentile. We will see in the quote below that Gentile does more than place the individual at ‘the centre of the world’s structure’, he places him at the centre of time, i.e. all that goes before him and all that follows.
What is real, then, in memory does not come to us from the past but is created in the eternity of our present, behind which there is no past and in front of which there is no future. (The Theory of Mind as Pure Act, Macmillan, 1922, p.152)
I now quote Scaligero below from my slow and considered reading of The Logos and the New Mysteries.
…according to the ancient impulse of non-freedom, or of the submission to revealed truth - we are led to refer to a truth outside us, the world petrified in its alterity, the symbol of the lost power of the “I”. We are led to believe that truth lies in the outer object, in the quantifiable phenomenon, or in the physical-mathematical formula, and not in the thinking that realises its immediate inner connection. The sensory object is always a partial aspect of an entity, whose wholeness is provided by thinking. It is the thinking by means of which the “I” begins to recapture its own lost realm - namely, that of being the centre of the world’s structure. (36-7)
© John Dunn.
Monday, 25 January 2021 at 10:01
It seems that Massimo Scaligero is drawing upon an old theme in The Logos and the New Mysteries, i.e. that from a fall good will come. This is the core reasoning of the Christian tradition known as felix culpa,a Latin phrase which means happy fall, a way of understanding the Fall as having a positive outcome in the redemption of mankind through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Gustave Doré, Adam and Eve Driven out of Eden
As an anthroposophist, ifnot a paid-up member of the society, Scaligero would have been intimately familiar with Rudolf Steiner’s notion of the hindrances placed before man’s evolution by the Luciferic forces. In this context,to reach love one must first become light, and this is what Lucifer brought to man as the friend of man. Light can lead to evil, but it mustexist if we are to become free. Leading life according to an externally given law is tantamount to evil, at least it is a sub-human existence. Law becomes grace as the law is lifted out of man’s own heart. This is the resurrection that Christ brought to man, this is the Christ impulse. After Golgotha, knowledge can be lifted up to love.
In Scaligero, dialectical thought is the external law, it is nature opposed to us. This is the state of felix culpa, the Luciferic hindrance, out of which good will come. ‘Freedom is born of our opposition to our own nature’, as he explains in The Logos and the New Mysteries.
It is legitimate to think that if the original relation had ruled dialectical thought we would have thought truth automatically. We would not have had a nature opposed to us, because within it we would have felt just as we do within our own bodies. The conflict with another person’s truth would not have been possible. Evil would not have existedupon the Earth; yet humans would not have had the possibility of freedom.© John Dunn.
Freedom is born of our opposition to our own nature - primarily to our spiritual nature. If a paradisiacal state was the original state of human beings, it was undoubtedly a poor relation, like a transcendent virtue, which directs the processes of reality through us, Human beings had to avoid such a transcendent realm to become free. (35-6)
Free and moral
Sunday, 24 January 2021 at 10:04
In the middle of his monograph The Logos and the New Mysteries (incidentally, I do not know how the book ends - with the light of the Logos?), Massimo Scaligero breaks out into a few economic and related comments. Even the quite literally uninitiated must recognise the value of these.
The point is that even at the lowest level, that of the production of economic goods, only the highest thinking should act if we are to gain maximum utility in its most rounded sense. The organisation of production should not be left to theoreticians or politicians but, rather, to practical bearers of economic intuition, which the levelling ideology goes on persecuting and eliminating. Why should we be organised in such a manner? Because:
From the mental realm devoid of an original synthetic movement, there arises the naive idea that social justice is attainable through a legal mathematical (if not constrictive) distribution of goods, rather than a free inner process - free and, therefore, moral. It is inconceivable that the distributive mathematics of goods will ever achieve anything - instead, it will worsen the situation that already exists - if, at its core, it does not have inner values such as the autonomy of the individual initiative, the recognition of specific spiritual vocations in every field, the awareness of the absolutely extra-political value ofthe spiritual principle. (p.32)
© John Dunn.
Saturday, 23 January 2021 at 09:48
Scaligero in The Logos and the New Mysteries, does not distinguish between materialist science and so-called ‘spiritual’ variants of Theosophy in his observation of man’s failure toknow how the spirit begins to live in cognition itself, not in the object that gives rise to it.
Truth is not something external to us to be won by following a given formula or tradition; it is something that we create and it is this creation that dignifies us as human beings. It is a condition that the common man partakes of unaware, constantly degrading it in the mindless chatter of which his existence is woven.
Conscious creation and the path to the Logos would seem to go together for Scaligero. Until the two come together, then the ‘mysteriosophy’ of science and mysticism in its various forms will be the result. I quote from The Logos and the New Mysteries.
Matter not penetrated by thought arouses its mysticism in various forms, from the scientific to the religious. Unawareness of the inner content of perception leads to an inadequate experience of the world or to a world devoid of Logos. Indeed this non-perception of the Logos generates the deification of matter, or materialism.© John Dunn.
No different is the case that leads the current revivification of the tradition of mysticism, Theosophy, alchemy, hermeticism, and so on to that subtle form of materialism that is the idolatry of symbols, of names of short prayers, and so on, because it seeks the Logos where it no longer is, in the tomb from which instead the Logos has risen, by being born in the inner life of the soul, as the pre-dialectical life of thought…
…The revivification of mysteriosophy, although it utilises the forms of the Tradition, does not escape dialectical conditioning. (p.22)
Friday, 22 January 2021 at 10:15
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.
Thursday, 21 January 2021 at 10:04
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
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.
…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.