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Disenchantment

Saturday, 30 January 2021 at 17:59

Adam, Eve and serpent on Dr John Dunn. Much of Massimo Scaligero’s writing in The Logos and the New Mysteries seems to draw upon the Christian tradition of felix culpa, or happy fall. It is a tradition that Rudolf Steiner echoed when positing the idea of Luciferic hindrance. Steiner’s description of how human beings came to knowledge depended on Luciferic intervention, the Fall you might say. The Fall came as knowledge was gained. Instead of being driven by laws of external compulsion, the Fall opened the way forpeople to look inwardly for the truth. This was expressed in the supersession of Judaism by Christianity. The law works from external compulsion, but what Christ brought to the world works from inside. We are each ‘obliged to overcome’ the obstacle to truth, i.e. the myth of enchantment that leads us to see the truth ‘only outside of itself’. Scaligero develops these ideas in The Logos and the New Mysteries.

The world that exists on its own thus emerges, without the Logos - the strongest appearance, the everyday hallucination confirmed by the fact that this outer reality exists; it has its ironclad logic. It conditions us. It arrests us. It enchants us. It overwhelms us. It becomes an obstacle for us. Yet, with this, it stimulates our knowing, but it leadsthis knowing to a dead end of the whole mechanism, which knowing is obliged to overcome so as not to cease being the sense of life; so as to find within itself - opposite the error and the continuous inevitable counterfeiting of truth - the pure relation, namely the movement that for now it knows how to see only outside of itself. (42-3)


© John Dunn.

Everyone’s fiction

Friday, 29 January 2021 at 21:20

Scaligero on Dr John Dunn. Massimo Scaligero writes about the errors made by ‘Logicians-dialecticians’, but in reality his remarks might well apply to everyone. Most people act and behave as if the thing outside of them were complete without thought’s pure determination. The truth is that none of us are conscious of the thinking that acts as an original force to create the world that we see around us. We live with the cruel and stultifying fiction that the world is complete and we are simply dropped into it to live our lives.

I quote Scaligero on these points from The Logos and the New Mysteries.

Logicians-dialecticians are unaware of seeing what they think about a thing, since they are included in it. They believe that, without such thinking, the thing outside of them is complete - whether they behold a mathematical formula and believe it to contain the element of truth and not the thinking that moves by means of it, or whether they behold an organism and grasp its inner unity, as if this resulted from sensory notes and not from the immediate unifying thinking within them.

Certainly, it is a non-dialectical thinking - intuitive thinking directly with the“perceiving”, an immediate and thus unconscious thinking expressive of the same original force that connects concepts as a pure relation - even this (relation) is not normally conscious. It is an immediate power of correlation without which the “perceiving” would be the succession of sensory impressions, devoid of connection. (41-2)

© John Dunn.

Matter of faith

Thursday, 28 January 2021 at 18:20

Scaligero on Dr John Dunn. Massimo Scaligero restates his Steinerian definition of freedom by telling us how we fail to achieve it. The inner truth, with which we give to the world we perceive its fully rounded form and content, escapes us to be reflected back to us as an outer truth, in which we have faith. That is, we have faith in a world outside us that we perceive as given to us in completed form, when in fact it is we that have done the completing.

We end up believing in the product of our inner act, whilst remaining blind to thefact that it is an inner act.

We are left believing that the world would be the same without us. We are left to believe in an evolutionary process that exists as a self-contained process with its own laws, when it is not. We are led to believe that trees fall in the forest when we are not there - they do not.

I quote from Massimo Scaligero’s The Logos and the New Mysteries.

Freedom is the moment of thought’s pure determination turned to the calculable, or to the logical-dialectical connection. But it is a moment of fleeting life, because, with the connective power transposed to the “appearing”, reality is identified with the sensory, and the relation becomes merely quantitative, a shadow or semblance of the original relation.

We are free with regard to the semblance. But we are unable to realise freedom, because we transfer the age-old dependence on inner truth to outer truth. Outer truth, in its quantitative one-dimensionality, leaves us free in all residual activities not engaged in the logic of the sensory realm, but it holds us with the unconscious bond of the ancient faith. Faith is transferred to a palpable fact, to proof. Such obscure faith is, within the present-day human being, the mental counterpart of the dependence on instincts. We fail to notice that fact palpates with an inner act. We believe in the product of this inner act, of which we are unaware. (p.39)

It is easy to see why Scaligero wants us to see that materialism, be it a Marxist, scientific or vulgar everyday variant, is in fact a faith-based outlook.

© John Dunn.

Real reality

Wednesday, 27 January 2021 at 17:59

Scaligero on Dr John Dunn. In our relationship tothe cosmos we bring sensory perception and thought. Our full, complete and rounded understanding of any entity is only complete with the thought that the ‘I’ brings to sense perception. Hence the world about us is incomplete without the ‘I’. You could say that it is a product of the ‘I’.

Butthe thought that the ‘I’ brings to this moment of completion is always lost, leaving the completed entity to confront us as a pre-made, given reality.

Massimo Scaligero held on to the fleeting ‘I’-generated thought because it is there that the potential for freedom lies. It is an inner moment of essential reality that is lost when we transfer inner truth to outer truth, as thought turns to the calculable, or is reduced merely to the mode of the logical-dialectical, which is reflected back to the individual as reality. This latter ‘reality’ holds the anti-freedom.

Scaligero develops this theme in The Logos and the New Mysteries:

The freedom that we believe we find outside of us, in events or outer structures, is nothing but a mirage, because it is always a projection of the psychic vehicle - namely, the vehicle that that tends to affirm itself illegitimately as a free impulse. Seekers of freedom must discover that any limit to freedom found outside themselves is a limit that exists within them. Only thinking, or the spirit, can be free. The freedom of a desire, or of an instinct, is the human being’s true prison.

© John Dunn.

Scaligero bridging two minds

Tuesday, 26 January 2021 at 10:09

Scaligero on Dr John Dunn. 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.

Happy fall

Monday, 25 January 2021 at 10:01

Gore on Dr John Dunn 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.

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)

© John Dunn.

Free and moral

Sunday, 24 January 2021 at 10:04

Creative on Dr John Dunn. 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.

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