Words of Wisdom #30

“The gardener became angry, changed color and said scornfully: <<I learned this from my master: who uses machines uses mechanisms and his spirit mechanizes. Who has a mechanized spirit no longer possesses the purity of innocence and loses the peace of the soul. I don’t ignore the qualities of this machine, but I would be ashamed to use it>>”.

-Zhuangzi

Positive Technology: simple, silent and light manual tools activated by our physical movement, they are an extension of the human body and require skill and dexterity in their application despite being of simple access and maintenance.

Negative Technology: complex, noisy and heavy tools activated mainly by fossil fuels, man becomes their prosthesis and is limited to assist their work at the expense of the personal experience that diminishes or is null.

All that can be defined as negative technology has been developed, consciously or not, in compensation to our mental and physical degeneration: despite our limits we should always remember it and act accordingly!

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Words of Wisdom #28 & #29

“As a fish that swims in the water and doesn’t understand the nature of the sea, or a bird that flies in the air and doesn’t understand the sky, so man in his finite mind doesn’t understand the infinite. The only reality for the bird is to fly and of the fish is to swim. So, in the same way, the only reality of man is to live: to live the life, to die the death. Living with awareness every instant, accepting not to understand the ultimate meaning, this is illumination”.

-Eihei Dogen

“Time, place and space are illusions, not existing except in the mind of men, which must set limits and bounds in order to understand”.

-Robert E. Howard

The Harmony of Opposites

Heraclitus was an enigmatic Greek philosopher and because of this defined by his contemporaries as “the obscure”, but one thing turns out to be clear from the fragments at our disposal, namely his doctrine concerning the harmony of opposites:

“The opposite concordant and from the discordant beautiful harmony, and everything happens according to contention”.

“The same thing are the living and the dead, the awake and the sleeping, the young and the old: these indeed changing are those and those again changing are these”.

“What is cold becomes hot, what is hot becomes cold, what is moist becomes dry, what is dry becomes moist”.

“Immortal mortals, mortal immortals, living their death and dying their life”.

“One and the same is the path that goes upward and the path that goes downward”.

“The same are in fact the beginning and the end in the circumference of the circle”.

“God is day-night, winter-summer, war-peace, satiety-hunger”.

“Junctions are entire-not entire, concordant-discordant, harmonic-disharmonic, and from all things the one and from the one all things”.

Listening not to me, but to the lógos, it is wise to agree that all things are one“.

-Heraclitus

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Heraclitus understood that the Eternal Law of the Universe, the Logos (intended as “reason”“relation” and “bond”, in reference to the infinite series of relations and bonds generated according to reason by Nature and operating in it through the mediation of opposites that alternate), is the relation of contraposition, complementarity, interdependency and alternation between two opposite concepts (being-becoming, one-many, eternity-time, infinite-finite, death-life, past-future, inhalation-exhalation, cold-hot, etc.) that are apparently in constant conflict with each other, but in reality and at the same time need each other because every essential reality originates from its opposite: the opposites can indeed be defined only for opposition, and they can never be independently determined, i.e. nothing would exist if there was not, at the same time, also its opposite.

Note: here lies the meaning of the symbolic figure of the Androgynous (from Greek androgynos, composed by andros, “man”, and gyne, “woman”), the integral and undivided being best known for its description made by Plato in the Symposium. The symbolism inherent in this figure refers to the coexistence and interdependence of opposites, the underlying unity hidden by their apparent separation and opposition: in biological terms it refers to the restoration of the primordial and absolute unity of the human being. The coincidentia oppositorum (a Latin expression meaning “coincidence of opposites”) is the state of being in which the opposites coincide: for example, at the climax of sexual love occurs a coincidence between man and woman, a momentary emersion of the androgynous state of being, the erotic impulse having its deepest meaning in the reintegration and reunification of the two divided parts of the human being. This biological coincidence, in specific cases and conditions, allows to momentarily experience a purely spiritual and trascendent state, what in philosophy would consist in the culmination of the metaphysical speculation, i.e. the inner realization of the coincidence between the concepts of Being and Becoming, that are therefore two ways of appearing of a single reality, union that results in a single principle, a metaphisical reality that lies beyond the complementarity between opposites, which in it instead coincide: the Universal Reality.

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If night didn’t exist, what would give us the opportunity to define day as such? If winter didn’t exist, what would give us the opportunity to define summer as such? If death didn’t exist, what would give us the opportunity to define life as such? The same on the contrary and for all the opposites that exist: they are two faces of the same coin, bound in the same way as an uphill path seems a downhill path if seen from above.

winter-summer

As it’s evident from the fragments quoted above, Heraclitus thought that everything is destined to pass eternally from one state of the being to another: what is cold and becomes hot will cool down, what is slow and becomes fast will slow down, what is alive and dies will return to life. I’m alive, once again, because I died, and I’m destined to die, once again, to then return to life, once again, in the same way as I’m awake because I fell asleep but I’ll be destined to fall asleep again and then to wake up again. The end of the circle coincides with its beginning, there is no immobility, only an eternal and unceasing metamorphosis, a current without beginning and end, a constant change and transformation: panta rei (“everything flows”) and “no man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river (in its perennial flow) and he’s not the same man (in his perennial becoming)“.

We can affirm that Heraclitus believed in the immortality and eternal rebirth of the individual spirit: if it is possible to be reborn then it is necessary that the spirit exists and that it doesn’t vanish after death, but that instead it continues to exist even outside the body: indeed from what we would return to life if not from it that is eternal and immortal, whereas the body is temporary and mortal?

Anyway, we need both the opposites and there will always be both: their alternation generates harmony and equilibrium and in their constant flux Heraclitus saw the Logos, the Eternal Law of Nature.

Immagine correlata

Words of Wisdom #27

“Knowing that against which nothing can be done and accept it as destiny: here is the supreme virtue”.

-Zhuangzi

Our freedom and will coincide with necessity and destiny, they are two sides of the same coin and one cannot exist without the other. Everything that happens during our existences, i.e. everything that has been established by our blood and spirit, is inevitable and right.

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About Stoicism

Stoicism is one of the most interesting European philosphies, and has as prominent representatives Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius and Seneca. It is often misunderstood due to the fact that it has not, apparently, a specific “technical” language concerning its doctrine: the consequence is that although the texts about stoicism that we have today are quite easy to read and understand superficially, even for the casual reader, a deep and authenic understanding of them is often nonexistent.

The essence of stoicism consists in distinguishing between the things that depend on us and the things that don’t depend on us:

Depend on us:

-Desire or aversion.

-Impulse to action or non-action.

-Positive or negative judgment of our desires and aversions, of our impulses to action or non-action.

These things depend exclusively and totally on us, we have power over them and they can correspond morally to good or evil in relation to their accordance or non-accordance to Nature.

Don’t depend on us:

-The things external to us, on which our will has no power, or in need of fortune to be obtained: work, family, wealth, poverty, health, disease, death, etc.

All the things that don’t depend on us are neither a good nor an evil but something indifferent that must be accepted as it is, in any way it will affect our lives: they should be seen as the work of fate. Anyway stoicism doesn’t say us that we should not worry or that we should give up obtaining or avoiding this sort of things: we should only remember that they don’t depend on us and then act accordingly whatever happens in relation to them.

“Among the things that exist, some depend on us, the other don’t depend on us. Depend on us: value judgment, impusle to act, desire, aversion, and in one word, all those that are properly our affairs. Don’t depend on us the body, our possessions, the opinions that the others have of us, the public positions, and in one word all those that aren’t properly our affairs”.

-Epictetus

“Suppress therefore the aversion that you can feel for all the things that don’t depend on you and transfer it to the things that, among those that depend on us, are contrary to nature”.

-Epictetus

“Impassibility in front of the events that come from external causes, justice in the works generated by a cause that comes from you; impulse and action only in view of a common good: this is for man to act according to nature”.

-Marcus Aurelius

“I am a mixture of body and soul: for the body the sensible things are neither good nor bad, because matter has no power to grasp the difference between them; for the mind, instead, are indifferent the activities not falling within its sphere of action, while those that depend on it are all under its dominion. Even these, however, affect the mind only in relation to the present, because those related to the future and to the past are, in that moment, indifferent to it”.

-Marcus Aurelius

According to stoicism we should have aversion exclusively for what depends on us but isn’t in accordance with Nature, e.g. for what is not not virtuous, moral and honourable. To distinguish the things that depend on us from those that don’t depend on us we have to look at every event, situation, person or thing for what it really is, removing all the represenations of the mind, the instinctive judgments that these events, situations, persons and things may project upon us. If my mind is shocked by the stormy sea in reality it is not skocked by it but by my judgment on it: the stormy sea is not something that depends on me, it is neither a good nor an evil, it is just a stormy sea.

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The judgments we formulate on what doesn’t depend on us are hard if not impossible to remove immediatly but yes, we can remove them after asking ourselves if what we are judging depends on us or not, and if that particular judgment is nothing else than a representation of the mind: at this point we will be able to see that particular event, situation, person or thing for what it really is; therein lies stoicism, in seeing everything for what it really is, without mental representations.

“Therefore train yourself to immediately add to every painful representation: <<you are only a representation, you are not at all what you represent>>. Then examine this representation, and put it to test with the help of the rules at your disposal, in first place and above all of this rule: we have to count it among the things that depend on us or among those that don’t depend on us? And if it is part of the things that don’t depend on us, keep in mind that it doesn’t concern you”.

-Epictetus

“What disturbs men are not the things, but the judges that they formulate on the things. For example, death has nothing fearsome, otherwise it would have seemed such also to Socrates. But it’s the judgment we formulate about death, namely that it is fearsome, to be fearsome in death. Therefore when we encounter difficulties or are troubled or sad, we should not ascribe the responsibility to someone else, but to ourselves, that is to say to our judgments: it is typical of who has not yet been educated to attribute to others the responsibility of his evils; it is typical of who is at the beginning of his education to attribute the responsibility of them to himself; it is typical of who has completed his education to not attribute the responsibility of them nor to others nor to himself”.

-Epictetus

“Look at things as they are, in themselves, distinguishing matter, cause and purpose”.

-Marcus Aurelius

“Therefore don’t go beyond what you see and don’t add anything personal to the immediate impressions you receive from the things or facts, and nothing bad will come to you”.

-Marcus Aurelius

“Many are the superfluous and annoying things that you can eliminate, because they exist only in the opinion that you make about them”.

-Marcus Aurelius

“Throw away the opinion, and you will be safe! Who prevents you to get rid of it?”.

-Marcus Aurelius

Whereby, what disturbs men are not the things or events but the judges that they formulate about these things or events: the proof of this lies in the fact that not all men express the same opinion about the things that don’t depend on us. Not all men are shaken by the stormy sea; not all men are shaken by poverty; not all men are happy of their wealth; not all men are shaken by their disease or by the approaching of their death; not all men are shaken by the premature death of a member of their family, etc.

It means that the things and events can’t be the real cause of our reactions, cause that instead must be searched inside us: our reactions depend on the individual structure of our minds, although it may seem that it’s the thing or event itself to determine our positive or negative reaction towards it. These examples and all the other countless things and events that don’t depend on us should be considered by the stoic man, as he was intended to be, neither a good nor an evil, but indifferently: what is not under our control should simply be judged as something that is not under our control.

On the other hand, concerning the things that depend on us, there is no man that would do something that depends on him, but that is not compliant to Nature, without having the same deep inner awareness of having done something wrong, whether he likes it or not: if you think about it it’s indeed impossible for that to happen. A man must judge the situation he faces and act accordingly using his skills, he must try to survive doing everything that is in his power, and this depends on him, but this doesn’t mean he should blame something that doesn’t depend on him, or project personal opinions on a certain thing or event in relation to his situation: for example, he shouldn’t judge the stormy sea differently only because he is on a boat in the middle of it, the stormy sea doesn’t change in relation to this, it doesn’t become good or bad in relation to its role in a man’s vicissitudes. The stormy sea doesn’t depend on us and it remains always and exclusively just a stormy sea, both for the pilot and the observer who risks nothing.

If you keep in mind these stoic precepts you’ll find new meanings, depths and rigidities in the texts of the philosophers quoted above. Stoicism, as it was intended to be, was much more challenging, demanding and even extreme compared to how it’s commonly perceived, but remains in any case among the most important and suited classical philosophies for the European man!

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Guénon: about the Materialist Man, the subversion of the Traditional Order and the destructive Western diffusion

“Wanting to trace back everything to man’s measure, taken as an end in itself, we have ended up falling, step by step, until the level of what there is of most inferior, and with seeking only the satisfaction of the needs inherent to the material side of human nature; pursuit, after all, really illusory, since it creates more and more artificial needs, that it can’t satisfy: after all, more needs has a man, the more he risks of lacking something and then of being unhappy. Modern civilization aims to multiply the artificial needs and, as we said a moment ago, it will create many more needs than it can satisfy, because, once taken this path, it’s difficult to stop, and there is not even a reason to stop at a certain point. Men couldn’t suffer for not having things to which they had never thought; they instead necessarily suffer if these things will lack after they have known them, since they have become accustomed to consider these as necessary and since these have really become necessary for them. Hence they try by every means to get what can provide them all the material satisfactions, the only ones that they are able to appreciate. It is only a matter of “earning money”, money being what allows them to obtain such things, and more money one has, the greater becomes the need to have of them, because new needs are uninterruptedly discovered; and this passion becomes the only purpose of life”.

***

“But in the world of modern decadence where could still be found the concept of a true hierarchy? There is no thing or person that is in the place where it should normally be. Men don’t recognize anymore any effective authority in the spiritual order, any legitimate power in the higher and sacred sense in the temporal order. The “profane” allow themselves to discuss about sacred things, of these disavowing the character if not even the existence. It’s the inferior that judges the superior, it’s ignorance that imposes limits to wisdom, it’s the error that undermines the truth, it’s the human that replaces the divine, it’s the earth that goes to predominate on the sky, the individual that makes of himself the measure of all things and who insists to dictate to the universe laws all taken from his relative and defeasible reason. Today we can indeed see everywhere blind people that guide other blind people and who will drag them fatally into the abyss, in a common end, if they will not be stopped in time”.

***

“Very singular epoch, this one, in which many allow themselves to be persuaded that the happiness of a people is done by enslaving it, by taking away from it what it has of most precious, that is its civilization, by forcing it to adapt to customs and institutions made for another race and by forcing it to the most painful works to make it buy things that for it are completely useless! It’s like this: the modern West can’t tolerate that some men may prefer to work less and be content with little to live. Since only quantity counts, and since what doesn’t fall under the senses is considered as inexistent, it is believed that he who isn’t stressed out and who doesn’t produce materially is a “slacker”. In such a world, there is no place for intelligence, and so not even for all that is really internal, because these are not things that can be seen and touched, weighed and measured. There is only place for the external action in all its forms, including the most meaningless ones”.

-Réne Guénon

Note: These quotes are taken from a work of the author dated 1927 and the last quote refers to the westernization of the peoples of the Far East like India, China and Japan; personally I consider the ongoing westernization of the world a consequence of Capitalism and the Christian “tradition” to invade and convert: whereby it is certainly appropriate to define this process as a result of the Judeo-Christian modus operandi.

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Evola: about Christianism, Chivalry and the Nordic-Germanic vision of Life

“The power of the tradition that gave its character to Rome revealed itself, towards Christianism, in the fact, that if the new faith managed to subvert the ancient civilization, it couldn’t really conquer the western world as pure Christianism; that where it attained some greatness, it was able to do so by betraying, to a certain extent, itself: it was able to do so more thanks to elements taken from the opposite tradition – thanks to roman and classical pre-christian elements – than thanks to the christian element in its original form. De facto, Christianism <<converted>> the western man only externally; it constituted its <<faith>> in the most abstract sense, while the effective life of this one continued to obey to forms, more or less materialized, of the opposite tradition of action and, later, in the Middle Ages, to an ethos that again had to be marked essentially by the aryan-nordic spirit. Theoretically, the west accepted Christianism, – and that Europe could accommodate, in this way, many themes related to the jewish and levantine conception of life is something that always renews the wonder of the historian – practically, it remained pagan. The result was therefore a hybridism. Even in its attenuated and romanized catholic form the christian faith represented an obstruction, which took from the western man the possibility to integrate his authentic, insuppressible way of being by means of a conception to him congenial of the sacred and of the relationships with the sacred”.

“Catholicism took shape through the rectification of various extremist aspects of the Christianism of the origins, the organization of a ritual, dogmatic and symbolic corpus beyond of the simple mystical-soteriological element, the absorption and adaptation of both doctrinal and organizational elements taken from the romanity and the classical civilization in general. That’s how Catholicism presents sometimes <<traditional>> traits, which however must not induce to misunderstanding: what in Catholicism has a truly traditional nature is very little christian and what in it is christian is very little traditional”.

***

“By having as model the hero more than the saint, the winner more than the martyr; by placing the sum of all values in fidelity and in honour more than in the <<caritas>> and in humility; by seeing in cowardice and in shame an evil worse than sin; by knowing very little of resisting evil and of repaying evil with goodness – intending much more to punish the unjust and the wicked, excluding from its ranks those who literally followed the christian precept of the <<don’t kill>>; by having as principle not to love the enemy, but to fight him and to be magnanimous only after having won it – in all this chivalry affirmed almost without alteration an aryan ethic within a world only nominally christian”.

***

“The life of the ancient nordic-germanic societies was based on the three principles of personality, freedom and fidelity. To it was totally alien both the promiscuous communitary sense and the inability of the individual to valorize itself if not in the context of a given abstract institution. Here being free is, for the individual, the measure of nobility. But this freedom is not anarchic and individualistic, it is capable of a dedication beyond the person, it knows the transfiguring value proper to the principle of fidelity in front of who is worthy of recognition and to whom one subordinates oneself voluntarily. Thus were formed groups of faithful around leaders to which could well be applied the old saying: <<The supreme nobility of a roman Emperor is of being not a master of slaves but a lord of free men, who loves freedom also in those who serve him>>; and the State, almost according to the ancient roman aristocratic precept, had as center the council of chiefs, each one free, lord of his land and in his land, leader of the group of his faithful. Beyond this council, the unity of the State and, in a certain way, the superpolitical aspect of it was embodied by the King, since this one belonged – unlike the simple military leaders – to one of the lineages of divine origin: Amals, the <<heavenly>>, the <<pure>>, was a name of the kings among the Goths. No impersonal <<duty>> and <<service>> existed, everywhere there were free, strongly personalized relationships of command and obedience, of understanding and fidelity. In this way the idea of the free personality remained the foundation of each unity and each hierarchy”.

-Julius Evola

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Words of Wisdom #26

“Fame never fades entirely, when many people spread it around, and it too, somehow, is a deity”.

-Hesiod

This is absolutely true, in the past a noble reputation was what ensured us to be reborn in the bodies of our descendants, and it is the objective to which we should still aspire today: be remembered by figthing for the future of our descendants, ensure that our culture doesn’t vanish definitively and return to be glorious and noble mentally, physically and spiritually!

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We Set Sail!

An interesting and often ignored episode of the Greek mythology is the one where the ship Argo, built to lead the Argonauts to the conquest of the Golden Fleece, passes through the Symplegades, the clashing rocks. The characteristic of these rocks was to clash each other when someone or something tried to pass between them, killing or destroying everything in their grip.

The Argonauts freed a dove to let it pass through the rocks and, while these retreated after having clashed to kill the bird, they made readily and quickly pass their ship in the space that for a short time would have separated them. They came out unscathed, except for the aplustre – an ornamental accessory made of wood and placed on the stern of a Greek or Roman ship, where was believed to reside its life force – destroyed by the following clash of the Symplegades.

An aplustre:
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The difficulty in the passage is a symbolic image that always represents the entry in the realm of the dead, i.e. the grave or burial mound, and falls into a custody function. The same is the case with the Symplegades, they are just another version of the obstacles that threaten and impede the entry into a sacred place.

In any case only the dead could have free access to the realm of death, you had to be one of them to gain access to that sacred place and this is the reason why the ship Argo loses the aplustre, the part corresponding to the life force: in this way the ship “died” and gained the right to enter in the realm of death.

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Finally the Argonauts arrived in Colchis, where Jason has to accomplish the initiation ritual; there are the challenges to overcome, the sorceress or priestess that helps him and the Golden Fleece hanging from an oak guarded dy a dragon.

Risultati immagini per giasone serpente albero

Gold is often present in fairy tales and myths and it is always related with events that take place in the realm of the dead, i.e. the cave or burial mound: some examples are the Golden Bough of Aeneas and – during the labors of Heracles – the Golden Apples of the Hesperides and the Golden Horns of the Hind.

Note: in the European mythologies and folklore the deer (deer’s antlers were used in the Stone Age to dig the entrance of caves), the reindeer (like the reindeer that pull the sleigh of Santa Claus), the horse, the swan and the goose (both are migratory birds connected with waters, i.e. the amniotic fluid, and the migration is a periodic and regular movement associated with the alternation of the seasons and the cycles of death and rebirth) are psychopomps animals in the context of initiatory rituals: they reveal the path that leads to the realm of death.

In all these cases it is not the object that matters but gold itself, being connected to the ancestors as it is an element that never oxidizes with the passage of time, thus being a symbol of eternal life, as well as a solar and regal symbol, in the context of rebirth of the identity and wisdom of the ancestor buried in the cave or burial mound. The hero, i.e. the legitimate descendant, must obtain the golden object in order to conclude the challenge and return from the place where he found it, just like the child that had to face the initiation was tasked to obtain – in more recent times compared to the primordial structure of this ritual – the golden treasures inside the burial mound of the ancestor, in order to accomplish the rebirth and successfully return from the realm of death.

Eternal Regret (Part 1 of 2)

Eternity (the term derives from the Latin locution “ex” (“outside”) and from “ternum” (“triad”), i.e. “outside the triad [of time]”: past, present and future) consists on one side in a perpetual flow of time, without beginning and end, on the other in the atemporal point that we call instant (the Parmenidean being is nothing else than the instant), which is outside time and coincides with the present moment, that we can’t experience. An instant proceeds without interruption towards another instant, they add up over time but they remain elusive for us: it is we who are in motion while the instant is immutable, even if it seems to shift, exactly like the apparent motion of the Sun. So the elusive and uninterrupted flow of instants constitutes the course of time, which is an illusion, since there is nothing but eternity, whereby:

“Time is the moving image of eternity”.

– Plato

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Once we managed to fathom eternity, both as infinite temporal duration and as timelessness, whereas today we are only able to speculate about it, only able to see the door of eternity from a more or less favourable position, with the silly illusion of being able to reach its handle. The same applies to the concept of infinity, we are no longer able to inwardly realize and fathom the infinity of the Universe, and only a finite space is within the reach of our minds.

It’s exactly here that lies the meaning of what Mircea Eliade called “nostalgia for paradise”, this being nothing but the nostalgia for the Golden Age (i.e. the primordial state of being in which we fathomed eternity, since gold is a symbol of the metaphysical concept of the atemporal being that is not subject to the laws of the temporal becoming), the aspiration to regain an existence outside of time, as when men were unaware of it and, consequently, free from the terror and anguish of history. Here lies one of the deeper meanings of all religions, one of their most important functions – achieved by means of initiations, rituals, festivities and ceremonies – being that of creating the momentary illusion for which we would once again be living that lost primordial condition to which we can not help but aspire, as a heartbreaking necessity that, if not satisfied, leads us to despair.

If every now and then you find yourselves immersed in similar thoughts then maybe you will suffer, consequently, a sort of metaphysical vertigo and desperation: it’s the only way you have to find the answers you need, the only way to reawaken yourselves!

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