Weininger confronted demons that are ages old, ‘the struggle between good and evil being the essential wheel in the working of things’. And Nietzsche proclaimed the overman as the end goal of man’s internal struggle. In an act of ‘self-overcoming’, we must turn our animal instincts for cruelty against the creature in us.
Siren by Conor Walton
And the wound born by the king of Grail legend is symbolic of the fissure between the divine soul and the animal soul. Whereas the animal soul lives in the belly, the divine soul is the highest soul and lives in the head. This divine soul is not possessed from birth, but takes a long and arduous journey to acquire. (A real education is the undertaking of just such a life-journey). Sofia is the essence of this soul. One can easily lose it. To lose one’s mind is madness - our state of puppethood.In this state of mind there remains one inner voice only.
Madness abounds. Whereas there are two voices most people hear only one, in a state of complete egotism. It means that the animal soul has completely forced out its divine opposite. A constant inner dialogue should be more normal; dialogue because there are two beings. One voice is that of the divine soul, the creator soul, the active soul that has a generative power and makes the truth to be what it is. Another voice belongs to the passive being which lives in the belly and transmits the will of the animal soul.
Dante allegorised the lure of passivity as the siren,* diabolical, beautiful and female, a Weiningerian composite, who will do anything to distract the pilgrim from the true path. Not surprisingly, it was the belly that Virgil exposed when he ripped open the siren’s clothes, waking the entranced pilgrim by the stench of it.
Wagner allegorised the lure of passivity as Kundry, again a Weiningerian composite of good and evil in a woman. Parsifal’s encounter with Kundry marked the moment when the powers of illusion cease to hold the hero of the Grail in a blind innocence.
In both these encounters there is both a moment of sirenic temptation away from the pathway to Truth and also a moment of transformative learning, reflective of the dual nature of the women involved.
The politico-media complex urges us to go with the current, be at peace with the world, leaving the animal soul with a yearning for uniform uniqueness. Populations are psychiatrised and clinicised. He’s fat - it's an illness; he’s lazy - it's an illness; he’s addicted - it's an illness. Explanations can be found on the level of the animal soul. To never transgress and just allow everything to happen, this is an animal level of existence. The journey must begin, but I need more sleep. I need to prepare, but I’m not in the mood, better tomorrow.
The siren screams long and hard, drowning out the divine voice. Deafened at maximum each animal soul has its own methods: music, internet, interminable travelling, meetings, business activities, gregarious chatter, pornography, eating out, cinema, sport, work, alcohol. These are characteristic of our time, but in all epochs evil had one task — to lead the pilgrim away from the path of development, the Hyperborean ascent to the light.
The war between good and evil brings pain. When one side wins the pain stops. The ascent is gruelling, the fall easy. It is too easy to capitulate to evil. No wonder so few achieve the rainbow body; and women? - even fewer, Weininger would have said hardly any. But at the summit man stands in the transfigurative light, his wings open. What is this light, this metaphor of metaphors? It is our awakened mind illuminating everything. It allows man to see clearly and precisely, to see reality as it is. Close your eyes. If you see darkness, your mind is not yet awake.
Perceval went on many a misguided adventure, lost many battles, made wrong turns in the woods, and, certainly, did not ask the ‘what am I?’ question when he had the chance.
The life-journey is nota straight line. We all know about that. Through error and the path of suffering I too came. An evil curse drove me about in trackless wandering, never to find the way to healing. Numberless dangers, battles, and conflicts forced me from my path even when I thought I knew it.
And what was the evil curse? In Wagner’s rendition it was Klingsor. In mine it was Spinozism and its offshoot, Marxism.
* Purgatorio Canto XIX
© John Dunn.