John Dunn

John Dunn original writing
Book sales
Thought Pieces
Oxford to Cambridge
Something said


Next Entry


Friday, 30 April 2021 at 18:01

Roy Campbell by Wyndham Lewis on Dr John Dunn. Unmasked

The reading of Roy Campbell’s epic poem, Flowering Rifle, continues.

In this passage Campbell exposes the political dichotomy of the Spanish conflict. On the one side is the symbiotic relationship between international finance and communism, as foul and mutually necessary as that between an unhealthy hide and mange, i.e. that which the other side, the Rightist cause would rid Spain of by disposing of the whole Donkey.

So in Red Spain they're fighting side by side
By common desperation both allied,
Both indispensable and no more strange
Than the unhealthy hide is to the Mange-
But on our side such itches cannot grow
Since, with us, the whole Donkey had to go!
For though with lies your hearing they belabour
There’s is the Capital as ours the Labour-
As fat Prieto boasted with a grin
“The Rights are penniless, and cannot win.”
But nature’s elements, except for gold,
Will shun the Yiddisher’s convulsive hold,
And it’s an axiom that mere eyesight yields-
Grass hates to grow on communistic fields!

Whilst Indalecio Prieto, a leading figure in the Spanish Socialist Party and a Soviet Stooge, boasts of his support from international finance in comparison with the ‘penniless’ state of the Rightists, Campbell unmasks the face behind the Leftist cause, claiming his own side’s freedom fromits ‘convulsive hold’, a dependency which, in the grassless metaphor, leaves the Leftist cause dry and barren of life.

The reference to Prieto as fat echos the 'snug fat bourgeois’ reference earlier in the poem. (See Parlour for lawless thrills in 'Thought blog')

© John Dunn.

The flash of lightning that shines

Thursday, 29 April 2021 at 18:43

Lightning Strike on Dr John Dunn. The flash of lightning that shines

At the end of The Logos and the New Myseries, Massimo Scaligero suddenly introduces the concept of ‘determination’.

Sensory experience strengthens thinking, because it leads from the undeterminedto the determination, thanks to which the cosmic power of the undetermined indeed limits itself; yet it penetrates the human. (138)

So it is thanks to sensory experience, which is ‘determined’, that the ‘highest forces’ have descended into humanity, i.e. have incarnated.

It is as though the ‘highest forces’ (one assumes here that Scaligero meansthe Logos, or the Christ), which are ‘undetermined’, needed to be channelled through their opposite to become manifest.

However, all through the book, Scaligero has warned of the danger of getting stuck at the level of the ‘determined’.

We must ‘overcome the limit of the determination, which is dialectics’. Instead we ‘must discover, as living thinking, the power of the undetermined in which flows the real content of the human being’. (138)

Thinking must cognise its own death to restore immortality to the human being. Self-awareness and will have the function of giving the force of its annihilation (i.e.the annihilation of dialectical thinking) to thinking, where the lightning flash of the Resurrection is dynamically inherent. This flash is thinking’s identity with the Logos, from which the power of the undetermined originates within the determination. For this reason, it is the flash of lightning that shines and resolves the materiality of the Earth. (138-9)

‘Thinking must cognise its own death’ - there must be an awakening. How?

Scaligero seems to be saying that we can learn to cognise, for example, through the reading of his book. Once our plight is understood (almost in a scientific way) we can take possession of the dialectical thought to which we are in thrall and control the mental sphere. Once in control, we can open a passage to the Logos which has incarnated into the ‘determined’ world of materiality and dialectical thinking.

Suchan awakening is therefore at once a death; but from awakening and death comes rebirth, a resurrection to thinking’s identity with the Logos, the Christ within.

Scaligero has achieves a resolution.

© John Dunn.


Wednesday, 28 April 2021 at 11:19

Wendy on Dr John Dunn. Sylvia Oakley as Wendy in 'Peter Pan' at the St James's Theatre

by Bassano Ltd
whole-plate glass negative, 29 November 1921
NPG x101325

© National Portrait Gallery London


I rode to Neverland recently on my motorcycle. Below are a few promts to the vlog that I will be uploading to YouTube shortly.

Believe it or not… I’m on my way to see the burial place of Long John Silver and Wendy from Peter Pan!

I’m on my Royal Enfield in lonely corner of Bedfordshire, but there’s already some of the solitariness of the nearby Cambridgeshire fens about it.

I’m heading for Cockayne Hatley where Cockayne Hatley Hall was originally established by Sir John Cockayne in the 14th century.

In the 19th century W.E. Henley was a very well-known poet and a frequent visitor to the Hall.

He’s sometimes remembered for the poems 'England my England' and 'Invictus'.The latter of these poems contains the famous lines "I am the master ofmy fate; I am the captain of my soul."

His ashes, together with his wife's, were buried in the grave of his daughter Margaret, who was buried in the churchyard at Cockayne Hatley before them, aged 5 in 1894. Margaret was the inspiration for 'Wendy' in the story of Peter Pan by J M Barrie.

Henley was a friend of J.M. Barrie. The story goes that Henley used to address Barrie as 'friend', which Henley's only daughter mispronounced as 'fwend' and changed in a childish way to ‘fwendy-wendy’; the latter part of which gave the name of ‘Wendy’, a wholly invented name which became popular for girls following the Peter Pan success in the early 1900s.

There is another literary connection

As a young man Henley suffered from tuberculosis of the bone, which resulted in the amputation of a leg. He was treated in Edinburgh by Joseph Lister, the pioneer of antiseptic surgery, where he also met and befriended Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of Treasure Island. Henley had a wooden leg, and is claimed to have been Robert Louis Stevenson's model for Long John Silver.

Getting to the church means passing through this gateway. I don’t feel comfortable. It feels like trespassing in someone’s garden, albeit a rather large one.

About the church.

The west door of this particular church was originally used as access for the congregation with the north door reserved for the residents of the hall. This is the north door.

The tower has four stages with angle buttresses and pinnacles. The pinnacles are around 20 feet high and added in restorations of the early C19.

There was much rebuilding of this church in the 15th century, probably funded by the Cockayne family who had established the hall shortly before.After all, this church was in their front garden.

And there’s the monument to Long John Silver, …or rather the man who inspired the creation of that famous character, W.E. Henley.

And here is Peter Pan’s Wendy, Henley’s young daughter, …all very poignant.

What strikes me is the unity of the architecture.Those battlements also serve to hold the whole piece together. They are a striking feature.

Are those trees apple trees in front of the Hall? In 1929 a John Whitehead purchased the estate and eventually established the largest apple orchard in England with over one million Cox's Orange Pippin trees, until they were dug up and burned as uneconomic in 1974.

And so... time to leave Neverland...

© John Dunn.

Inside out

Monday, 26 April 2021 at 22:26

Scaligero and Evola on Dr John Dunn. A young Massimo Scaligero and Julius Evola

Inside out

Living thought at one with the Logos, as I believe that Massiomo Scaligero understands it, cannot be achieved by the type of thinking…

…that used to see the Logos outside of itself, but rather that of thinking that draws on the light of life of the Logos within itself, thereby ceasing to be dialectical. (134)

However, Scaligero has returned to the interior Logos very late in this book (The Logos and the New Mysteries). It is as though he is making an attempt to redeem himself in the eyes of his mentor Julius Evola, whilst struggling to maintain a devotion to the Spinoza-infected Rudolf Steiner. He continues:

Thinking that still sees the Logos outside itself is identical to what today sees and thus deifies matter outside itself. (134)

Yes, yes, yes, at last he has said it. The implication of these words is that to accept anything as pre-determined prior to the experiencing of it - be it the Logos, or the material world into which we are born - is nothing short of idolatry.

He has rejected Steiner with this statement and said YES to Evola and Giovanni Gentile instead, but it is only ‘admitted’ in the last few pages of the book.

Massimo Scaligero and a young Giovanni Gentile

I believe that Scaligero is torn between each of his influences by the end of the book. Only on the next page he writes:

In truth, the purpose of the Logos on Earth is not only to lead humanity back to the Divine… but, above all, also to overcome nature within the human being. (135)

Is the Divine something that was there once and is now lost and has to be found again? Even asking the question presents the Logos as something outside of ourselves. It exists to be found again. It is presupposed.

With this in mind, let us move on the Scaligero’s offering up of the Event of Christ as some sort of allegory for the journey the individual must undertake. The Nativity to the Resurrection follows a path of sensory events in which we must discover the suprasensory content, which in turn refers to the cosmic content, described by Scaligero, predictably by now, as…

…the true content, not graspable by dialectical thought, but only by the thinking that overcomes sensory maya, which nevertheless overcomes dialectics, both idealistic and materialistic. (136-7)

Scaligero ends the passage by saying:

True thinking lies beyond the maya of what is normally realised as thought… (137)

For me Scaligero has two pages to extricate himself from his own confusion.For now, we must leave the Logos as a pre-existent entity waiting to be rediscovered, and ‘true thinking’ already lying beyond the maya somewhere.

© John Dunn.

Lightning-bolt Logos

Sunday, 25 April 2021 at 20:45

Lightning strike on Dr John Dunn. Again the theme in Massimo Scaligero’s The Logos and the New Mysteries returns to the overcoming of the human-animal.

No resolution of what in human evil has the power of radicalness except by the…

…lightning-bolt Logos of thinking, whose force on Earth arises from fulfilling the divine task at the roots of the human being - namely, the victory over death, the Resurrection. (131)

One can only assume that by resurrection Scaligero means the victory over reflected or dialectical thought.

The lightning-bolt Logos of thinking is kindled from the death of dialectical thought… (131)

Resurrection as the instilling of ‘living thought’ is linked by Scaligero to the capacity for creation in some way.

Thought’s true being can be experienced as one with the uncorrupted feeling of the soul. From the resurrection of thought, the purity of feeling is restored; creative faith is resurrected. Isis-Sophia, the Virgin of the Light, is reintergated as the burning life of the soul… (131)

Resurrection as now understood bgins as a disentanglement of thought from cerebralism. ‘This disentanglement is an act of freedom’ writes Scaligero.

Until now we have only had a dialectical freedom…

…reiterating, with respect to the sensory, the tendency to depend on past suprasensory revelation. (133)

Whereas real freedom…

…demands the action of the pure individual element - the decision of direct contact within the soul with the source of the initiative and courage. It is a decision for the sake of the human community, since the Logos, through the individual act, surfaces in the world and tears the huan away from animal nature. (133-4)

© John Dunn.

Parlour for lawless thrills

Friday, 23 April 2021 at 23:41

Flowering Rifle on Dr John Dunn. Parlour for lawless thrills

The critical point made by Campbell in this passage is that capitalism and communism are two sides of the same coin. This is not about the Right and Left as we know it today, in reality liberal v liberal.

A continued reading of Campbell’s epic poem, Flowering Rifle.*

As doomed anachronisms, Sire and Son,
Capitalist and Communist make one,
The scrawny offspring and the bloated sire
Sentence by nature to the same hot fire;
So in red Bloomsbury the two are tied
Like gangsters to be taken for a ride-
Smug rebels to society, the tame
Charaders in a dreary parlour game,
Where breaking crockery gives a lawless thrill
And Buffaloes each smug suburban Bill,
Where the Left Fist will pelt you from the fence,
But when you lift a hand in self-defence,
Although it scorns the bourgeois law and state,
Off to the lawyers takes the broken pate,
And at the first sign of lifted quirt
Will cling its Mother Grundy by the skirt-
From every communist you can unsheath
The snug fat “bourgeois” creeping underneath,
And every Babbit is a foxes’ hole
From which a scrawny “comrade” snarls for dole!

To emphasise the point, he turns once more to the effete and decadent pranksters of red Bloomsbury, whose jolly crockery-breaking rebellions against authority serve to mask the snug fat “bourgeois” values that they uphold.

When attacked, these reds turn to the bourgeois state and law as their true home and protector, once more emphasising a sinister symbiosis.

*Preveious readings in Thought blog.

© John Dunn.

Sterile perversity

Thursday, 22 April 2021 at 21:34

Roy Campbell by Wyndham Lewis on Dr John nDunn. Sterile perversity

In the opening of the great poem of the Spanish Civil War, Flowering Rifle, Roy Campbell was keen to establish how the Leftist cause was rooted in the same sterile, slow-rotting parasitism, that he witnessed in inter-war Bloomsbury decadence.

A continued reading of Campbell’s epic poem, Flowering Rifle.*

The fungus that still by decaying grows:
Sleep’s Aegis, save when dealing dirty blows:
Like the raised claw-bunch of an ancient stork:
With cork-screwed fingers, like a crumpled fork,
In a rheumatic ecstasy of hate
Clenched at the world, for being born too late;
This weary fist infests the world entire
As common in the palace as the byre,
As limply fungoid in the idle rich
As when it toadstools from a ditch,
Or, friend to every cause that rots or fails,
Presides in Bloomsbury with tinted nails;

Campbell continues to merge images of the clenched fist, in all its constricted distortion, with sub-human, fungoid life that feeds parasitically off decay.

By no means exclusively a working class phenomenon, the image of Leftist parasitism is conflated with the idle rich. In particular, Campbell picks out the Bloomsbury set in all its sterile sexual perversity.

*Preveious readings in Thought blog.

© John Dunn.

Previous Entries
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
5 8
12 13
20 24
27 30  
March 2021
February 2021
Website design and CMS by WebGuild Media Ltd
This website ©2009-2022 John Dunn