Auribus Teneo Lupum: Alterity and Ethical Diastasis in the Dyssolving of the Wolf

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Avribvs Teneo Lvpvm:

Alterity and Ethical Diastasis in the Dyssolving of the Wolf[1]

by Nameless Therein

Reposted from Lux Lycaonis

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the face

 

Any crewmen who ate the lotus, the honey-sweet fruit,
lost all desire to send a message back, much less return,
their only wish to linger there with the Lotus-eaters,
grazing on lotus, all memory of the journey home
dissolved forever. But I brought them back, back
to the hollow ships, and streaming tears – I forced them,
hauled them under the rowing benches, lashed them fast
and shouted out commands to my other, steady comrades:
‘Quick, no time to lose, embark in the racing ships!’ –
so none could eat the lotus, forget the voyage home.
They swung aboard at once, they sat to the oars in ranks
and in rhythm churned the water white with stroke on stroke.

Homer, The Odyssey 9.106–117[2]

Auribus teneo lupum: I hold a wolf by the ears. The proverbial expression comes from the Carthaginian-born Roman playwright Publius Terentius Afer, better known as Terence. As one of the originators of European comic drama, Terence’s six comedies are based on Greek models known as “fabulae palliatae,” or “plays in a Greek cloak [pallium].”[3] Among these, we find the expression “auribus teneo lupum” in his fourth comedy Phormio, which is based on the lesser-known play The Claimant by Apollodorus of Carystus.[4] At lines 506-507 in Phormio, Antipho, the son of Demipho, says to the slave-trader Dorio: “auribus teneo lupum: nam neque quo pacto a me amittam neque uti retineam scio.”[5] This can be translated as “I’ve got a wolf by the ears, as they say, can’t let go and can’t hold on.”[6] An alternative translation renders this as “I’m holding the proverbial wolf by the ears. I don’t know how to let go or how to hold on to her.”[7][8]

Indeed, much like the title of the Fenrir journal, the “proverbial wolf” points to a duality present at various levels of complexity, one that deepens its meaning as it returns to a dynamic point of self-reference. Commonly understood, the duality of holding a wolf by the ears is illustrated by a twofold risk: in either case, letting the wolf go or continuing to hold it by its ears will prove fatal. One is thus paralyzed by inaction and yet must act, torn between two polarities that will ensure harm regardless of one’s action.

We can trace this cursory understanding of the aforesaid duality of the wolf to deeper levels of complexity. At one level, we find a similar dynamic paralleled in many of Terence’s plays. As John Barsby notes with respect to Phormio, “As with most of Terence’s plays, the plot is double, involving two fathers and two sons; the two halves are united by the close associations of all of the characters.”[9] Beyond the text, we find this theme paralleled in relation to the Fenrir journal through its allusion to the climate of opposition, emergent potential, and creative momentum that prompted the journal’s revival. At another level, we can trace it to the broader historical horizon of Fenrir as a whole, from past to present. In some sense, this duality has functioned as a healthy catalyst for the journal’s survival, directing it into a domain of opposition that has motivated its reception. At another level, it has served that role with respect to the Order of Nine Angles itself, pointing to the latter’s Labyrinthos Mythologicus. This is not, however, a childish sense of the reactionary. Rather, as a twofold risk resting on primal adversity, we find that the wolf is as beholden to us as we are to it.

More than beholden, the possibility of death from holding the ears of the wolf points to a shift from duality to relationality. We find this shift centered in a long-standing dialogue within twentieth-century Continental thought, most notably in the fields of phenomenology, relational ontology, existentialism, deconstruction, and theology. In the phenomenological and ontological vein, we find figures like Alfred Schutz, Martin Heidegger, Emmanuel Levinas, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Jean-Luc Nancy; in the existentialist vein, Martin Buber has made notable contributions; in the deconstructionist camp, Jacques Derrida explores this issue in terms of the [O]ther or alterity; and in the theological vein, Jean-Luc Marion draws this out in his own way. In an effort to recontextualize this dialogue within the tradition of the Order of Nine Angles, the purpose of this article will be to examine the shift to relationality in the work of Emmanuel Levinas, specifically with respect to his analysis of our relation to the [O]ther[10] as a response to Heidegger’s ontology. Here, as in the work of Levinas, our relation to the [O]ther concerns what is referred to as alterity, which has to do with otherness and the [O]ther in general as something that is in some sense “more” or “other” than the self. For Levinas and in response to Heidegger, this relation constitutes the most fundamental level of human experience, constitution, and identity, one that precedes ontology.

What follows is an examination of some of the dynamics and tensions Levinas brings to light concerning this relation, especially in works like Totality and Infinity. I attempt to illustrate how these dynamics and tensions are operative at the heart of the Order of Nine Angles in a hidden and more or less unexamined way. In hermeneutic fashion and in a spirit appropriate for Fenrir, I center this under a hermeneutic theme I refer to as the dyssolving of the duality of the wolf. That theme involves an interplay between Terence’s “auribus teneo lupum” and the notion of lupus non mordet lupum – how a wolf does not bite another wolf. I attempt to demonstrate how the two can be paired through Levinas’ analysis of relationality and alterity, thereby dyssolving the duality highlighted by Terence and revealing it to be an artificial construction or illusion to begin with. I then center this within the Order of Nine Angles to make visible certain features of a deeper lens of reality at its core, features which remain invisible, hidden, opaque, and unseen.

In drawing out these dynamics and tensions, I would like to note that my approach – in terms of writing, language, and analysis – is consistent with a style of French Continental and hermeneutic thought that was resistant to what is sometimes referred to as parisianism. Parisianism is related to a style of philosophy that emerged from the Annales school of thought in early twentieth-century France. It is characterized by treating argument as a series of assertions and counter-assertions, paired with hyperbolic, fact-based claims pushed to great extremes. By contrast, my approach resists a structured, fact-based argument in favor of hermeneutic analysis, which is meant to illuminate certain truths that are not directly expressible in propositional terms. This hermeneutic approach operates by forming a healthy rather than vicious circle – much like the primordial ouroboros – through a movement beyond strictly logical or rational thought. By drawing out hidden paradoxes and aporias and then using their tension to reveal a hidden resolution, I attempt to disclose the relation to alterity that Levinas brings to light. In this lighting up of world, this savage visibility, I aim to help others make the invisible visible within themselves, within the world, and within the ONA.

Levinas, Ethics, and the Face of the Other

Whether considered in the phenomenological, ontological, existentialist, deconstructionist, or theological schools of twentieth-century Continental thought, the issue of the [O]ther is perhaps most pronounced in the work of Emmanuel Levinas. Levinas was one of the most important French thinkers of the twentieth century and was deeply indebted to the work of Edmund Husserl, the founder of phenomenology, and Martin Heidegger, who worked as Husserl’s assistant for a time. He played a major role in the transition of phenomenology from Germany to France. Having taken courses with Husserl and Heidegger, his first published textbooks were devoted to the work of both these thinkers. With respect to Heidegger, Levinas described Being and Time as “one of the greatest books in the history of philosophy.”[11] With respect to Husserl, the founder of phenomenology, Levinas “[described] himself as a phenomenologist and as being faithful to the spirit of Husserl.”[12][13] Although in early writings like Totality and Infinity Levinas incorporates the ontological language of Heidegger’s Being and Time in order to exceed those ontological categories and overturn ontology,[14] he nevertheless argues in favor of something that is more fundamental than ontology, something which he calls “ethics” – ethics as first philosophy.

Levinas’ use of the term “ethics” differs from its traditional moral sense.[15] Here, ethics “is neither a code of rules nor the study of reasoning about how we ought to act.”[16] Rather, it concerns a fundamental relationship with alterity, a relation to the [O]ther that is more fundamental than ontology, understood as “a relation of infinite responsibility to the other person.”[17] Although ethics for Levinas is not “a theory of justice or an account of general rules, principles and procedures that would allow us to assess the acceptability of specific maxims or judgements relating to social action, civic duty or whatever,” he may have been trying “to give an account of a basic existential demand, a lived fundamental obligation that should be at the basis of all moral theory and moral action.”[18] The point here is that while Levinas’ use of “ethics” does not concern morality or a moral sense, our relation to the [O]ther is so fundamental that it can be thought to serve as a condition for the possibility of all moral theory and moral action. “Ethics” in terms of morality, right and wrong, or normative action – what we should or should not do – is essentially an epistemological domain, which concerns knowledge and the conditions for knowledge. Ontology on Heidegger’s account, which concerns [B]eing, precedes epistemology. It is more fundamental and serves as a condition for the possibility of knowledge.[19] Heidegger’s overturning of the historical priority given to epistemology over ontology is one thing that makes his seminal work Being and Time so important and revolutionary. It is also why Levinas calls it “one of the greatest books in the history of philosophy.”[20] However, Levinas’ thought was just as revolutionary. He demonstrates how “ethics” as a fundamental relation to the [O]ther precedes even ontology. It precedes epistemology and ontology. Thus, if there is any moral sense to Levinas’ use of “ethics,” it is only in terms of our fundamental relation to the [O]ther serving as the potential basis for the formation of any moral theory or moral action as the deepest level of human constitution. My usage of “ethics” regarding the ONA is consistent with this non-moral and constitutive sense. Levinas describes his usage in the following way, which concerns the relation between what he calls the Same[21] or the self and the [O]ther:

A calling into question [mise en question] of the same [or self] – which cannot occur [se faire] within the egoistic spontaneity of the same – is brought about [se fait] by the other [l’Autre]. We name this calling into question of my spontaneity by the presence of the Other [Autrui] ethics. The strangeness of the Other, his irreducibility to the I [Moi], to my thoughts and my possessions, is precisely accomplished [s’accomplit] as a calling into question of my spontaneity, as ethics. Metaphysics, transcendence, the welcoming of the other by the same, of the Other by me, is concretely produced [se produit] as the calling into question of the same by the other, that is, as the ethics that accomplishes [accomplit] the critical essence of knowledge.[22]

Here, ethics as the “calling into question of my spontaneity by the presence of the Other” is tightly linked to what Levinas calls “metaphysics,” which he also uses in an unconventional way. Whereas ethics is the “calling into question,” metaphysics is the “welcoming of the other by the same” or the self. Just as Heidegger overturned a traditional and positivistic model that prioritized epistemology over ontology, so too did Levinas overturn ontology with ethics and metaphysics, defined in relation to the [O]ther so described. Once again, whereas Heidegger shows how ontology precedes epistemology, Levinas shows that ethics and metaphysics precede ontology. As Levinas says, “And as critique precedes dogmatism, metaphysics precedes ontology.”[23] Our relation to the [O]ther, both with respect to the “calling into question of … [our] own spontaneity by the presence of the Other” in the case of ethics and with respect to the “welcoming of the other by the same” in the case of metaphysics, constitutes one of the deepest domains of human identity and reality.

For Levinas, the ethical subject is “an embodied being of flesh and blood.”[24] Ethics as a relation to the [O]ther is thus not an abstraction but “lived in the sensibility of an embodied exposure to the other,” whereby the “deep structure of subjective experience … is structured in a relation of responsibility or … responsivity to the other … [which calls] me to respond.”[25] Levinas’ main idea is that our relation to the [O]ther cannot be reduced to comprehension or understanding. The strangeness of the [O]ther must be preserved in its strangeness without being reduced to the “I” (the self) or what Levinas calls the “Same.” As an ethical relation, it structures the experience of our sense of self or subject.[26] For Levinas, an ethical relation “is one where I face the other person.”[27] In turn, his task to describe a relation to the [O]ther that “cannot be reduced to comprehension” is found in what he calls a “face-to-face” relation. On this point, Levinas says that “[t]he way in which the other presents himself, exceeding the idea of the other in me, we here name face.”[28]

Speaking, Seeing, Silence

For Levinas, this “face-to-face” relation with the [O]ther “is not a relation of perception or vision, but is always linguistic.” That is, “The face is not something I see, but something I speak to.”[29] It is an irreducible relation that “makes possible the pluralism of society.”[30] Levinas thus emphasizes sound over light and sight in this relation. On this point, Derrida notes that “Levinas places sound above light” specifically in the sense in which Levinas views thought as language, one that “is thought in an element analogous to sound and not to light.”[31] Elaborating on the relation between the eye and sight in juxtaposition to Levinas, Derrida quotes an incisive passage from Hegel:

If we ask ourselves now in which particular organ the soul appears as such in its entirety we shall at once point to the eye. For in the eye the soul concentrates itself; it not merely uses the eye as its instrument, but is itself therein manifest. We have, however, already stated, when referring to the external covering of the human body, that in contrast with the bodies of animals, the heart of life pulses through and throughout it. And in much the same sense it can be asserted of art that it has to invent every point of the external appearance into the direct testimony of the human eye, which is the source of soul-life, and reveals spirit.[32]

In contrast to Hegel, Levinas’ emphasis on speaking rather than seeing the [O]ther reveals a potential connection to Martin Buber’s description of “a silence which is communication.”[33] Buber notes that silence can take the form of speaking, where a conversation can be had without a sound or gesture: “[s]peech can renounce all the media of sense, and [yet] it is still speech.”[34] This, he says, is not the “lover’s tender silence” or a mystical silence whereby we “[take our] stand in the reflection of the divine Face”;[35] rather, this silence takes shape as a silence that one “bears … to his neighbour”:[36]

Unreservedly communication streams from him, and the silence bears it to his neighbour. Indeed it was intended for him, and he receives it unreservedly as he receives all genuine destiny that meets him. He will be able to tell no one, not even himself, what he has experienced. What does he now “know” of the other? No more knowing is needed. For where unreserve has ruled, even wordlessly, between men, the word of dialogue has happened sacramentally.[37]

We thus find that the face of the [O]ther is spoken to, not seen; and in speaking, one engages in a relation to the [O]ther that is not a stance “in the reflection of the divine Face”[38] – Levinas is not claiming that the [O]ther is God, but in fact substitutes the [O]ther for God[39] – but a concrete act or practice, where one does not contemplate but converses, focusing on “the particular individual in front of me.”[40] Buber’s account demonstrates how this conversation can occur silently, where silence becomes our way of speaking. In conversing with our neighbor through silence, one comes to “speak” without speaking. Likewise in Levinas, in speaking to the face rather than seeing it, one comes to “see” without seeing. Where no more knowing is needed, as a dialogue happening sacramentally – as “‘expression’, ‘invocation’, and ‘prayer’”[41] – and in the call of the [O]ther to respond, we reach acknowledgement.[42] It is in this seeing without seeing, this speaking without speaking, that we come to speak not just face-to-face but see eye-to-eye. This acknowledgement unfolds primally into empathy, and there the duality of the wolf dyssolves. It dyssolves into a relation. And in the reception of all genuine destiny that meets us, this relation always already was and always already is: Wyrd. No longer do I hold a wolf by the ears. Now lupus non mordet lupum: a wolf does not bite a wolf. We become more than a neighbor to the [O]ther; we become a brother and sister, a father and mother, a son and daughter, extending our dynamic point of self-reference to a relation of infinite responsibility.

Alterity, Diastasis, and Dyssolving in the Order of Nine Angles

In some respects, the Order of Nine Angles has lost touch with this conversation, this sacramental dialogue, impaled on the horns of a dilemma: on the one hand, the irreducible and incomprehensible transformations that Hebdomadry and the Seven-Fold Way are capable of catalyzing connect us through living action to the “speaking or calling or listening to the other” Levinas describes.[43] Even as a solitary path, our “[O]ther” finds its voice in physis, where nature’s solemn triumph becomes the banner upon which that calling occurs – and not as mere reflection or mere abstraction, but as an active and existential engagement in a “non-subsumptive relation.”[44] On the other hand, as a solitary path this engagement resembles the silence Buber describes – a silent communication where the voice of the [O]ther in physis takes on the voice of destiny through Wyrd, and where the silence of our conversation reaches a depth where it cannot help but be spoken and yet cannot be fully heard: Wyrd rather than word describes it, and its utterance is ineffable.[45]

The Wolf, Physis, and Wyrd in the Empire of the Same

The aforesaid dilemma thus rests on a kind of diastasis or separation. Transformation involves a relation between this seeing eye-to-eye without “speaking” (where silence becomes our way of speaking) and speaking face-to-face without seeing (where sound is emphasized over light and sight). However, the two are inadvertently pulled apart with respect to how the ONA engages in conversation. Much like the duality of the wolf described above, where in holding a wolf by the ears we attempt to reduce the wolf to the self (attempting to understand, evaluate, and comprehend what the wolf may or may not do from the vantage point of the self), so too does the ONA create an artificial duality in separating the solitary act of transformation from the ethical act of conversation. In both cases, we attempt to preserve the [O]ther as [O]ther – as an object of knowledge or experience – where that knowledge “is always my knowledge” and where experience is “always my experience.” That object, whether as wolf or physis or Wyrd, “is encountered only in so far as it exists for me,” which immediately diminishes its alterity.[46] In the ONA, there may be conversing but seldom conversation. This is a problem, because conversation as a relationship with alterity, an opening to the enigmatic world, and an acknowledgement of the strangeness of the [O]ther is the condition for all transformation. It is the basis for the self to encounter something other than itself. Along these lines and in contradistinction to the typical usage of terminology within the ONA, we might thus say that the terror of the alienness and strangeness and alterity of the [O]ther – the acknowledgement when face-to-face and eye-to-eye with the wolf that neither she nor the danger she poses can be comprehended or reduced to the self – may be properly called the “sinister” in the ONA; while the sense of “something-outside-everything” as transcendence, exteriority, or what Levinas calls infinity in relation to the [O]ther may be properly called the “numinous.”

Contrary to what is commonly thought in many esoteric traditions, this “pulling apart” or diastasis does not result in dyssolving. It results in an artificial duality. Regardless of whether we attempt to substitute the wolf, physis, or Wyrd for the [O]ther, insofar as they are always an object of my knowledge and my experience, encountered only insofar as they exist for me,[47] we are reducing the [O]ther to the Same (or self). Here, the [O]ther appears as “a temporary interruption to be eliminated as it is incorporated into or reduced to sameness.” [48] The Same essentially attempts to “incorporate … that which lies outside it.”[49] Whereas Husserlian phenomenology “establishes the Ego as the source of all meaning and knowledge,” and whereas in Heidegger the relation of “beings to Being entails the exclusion of anything that might lie outside that relation,” Levinas was working against the idea of philosophy as an “egology,”[50] one that acknowledges the [O]ther only in order to suppress or possess it, “asserting the primacy of the self, the Same, the subject or Being.”[51] Though the ONA also works against this sense of “egology”, so long as the [O]ther is still operating “within the empire of sameness,” there remains a sense in which “the Other is only other in a restricted sense,”[52] as in the case of the wolf, physis, and Wyrd.

Contra Egology: Empathy and Pathei-Mathos as Ethical Relation to the [O]ther

Although the ONA falls victim to the reduction of the [O]ther to the Same in certain respects, at its heart it does attempt to resist this reduction. In its transformative underbelly, its receptivity to nature, its overarching openness, its dynamic malleability, and its emphasis on empathy it attempts to restore that sense of thinking the [O]ther as [O]ther, reaching an acknowledgement and recognizing its strangeness without reducing it to comprehension. Though it does place emphasis on the individual in several respects – individual experience, individual transformation, individual authority, and pathei-mathos as a learning from personal experience – it does so with respect to the cultivation of empathy as a relation to the [O]ther. Empathy is the primary way one relates to the [O]ther in the ONA, and pathei-mathos plays a role in informing how one directs oneself with respect to that relation. This relation is so fundamental that without it there would be no possibility of transformation or even the possibility of a relation to the self.[53] The ONA’s emphasis on empathy aims at “discovering the irreducibility of the alterity of the Other” as the only means through which I can come to understand that “I am neither solipsistically alone in the world nor part of a totality to which all others also belong.” Nothing can precede or take priority over the ethical relation to the [O]ther because it “characterizes human relations at their most basic level.”[54] That the ONA is aware of this, and that empathy steered by pathei-mathos is a crucible upon which so much hangs, points to its underlying core as deeply ethical in nature. It is unfortunate that so many individuals associating with the ONA have misunderstood this point at the most basic level.

Enantiodromia, Dyssolving, Revealing

Here again we find a parallel to the hermeneutic theme of the dyssolving of the duality of the wolf, one that references and deepens itself across a recurrent matrix of meaning. On the one hand, the ONA emphasizes pathei-mathos with respect to the individual and personal experience. But it does so in conjunction with empathy, where pathei-mathos is a form of empathic living.[55] Pathei-mathos thus targets our “separation-of-otherness” or our separation from the [O]ther, and along with empathy attempts to restore our relation to other human beings.[56] David Myatt describes the process of enantiodromia as a revealing of the separation-of-otherness returning to the wholeness or unity it came from.[57] Anton Long describes this as “a type of confrontational context whereby what has been separated becomes bound together again [united] enabling the genesis of a new type of being.”[58] The ONA’s emphasis on the individual and solitary practice thus does not point to a clear division between the self (or Same) and the [O]ther – not a duality – but rather a way of preserving their independence while still maintaining an irreducible and fundamental relation to one another.[59]

Here, we find a deeper esoteric sense of the dyssolving of the duality of the wolf: what “dissolves” is neither the self nor the [O]ther, as the two are not simply annihilated, abolished, or reduced to one another in order to eliminate their duality. Rather, the mystery lies in their coming together as a relation through the dissolution of their exclusive separation. The [O]ther is revealed but not reduced, acknowledged as “the other within the same, in spite of me, calling me to respond.”[60] We find this mystery paralleled in the philosophy of pathei-mathos, where what is revealed by enantiodromia[61] can be connected to the Levinasian acknowledgement of the ethical relation to the [O]ther. The irreducible strangeness of the [O]ther, for example, may be revealed in that acknowledgement rather than comprehended or understood. This connects to Buber’s silent communication, where what is communicated silently may require a revealing rather than understanding or comprehension, involving as it does something that “escapes the cognitive power of the subject.”[62] This connection to Levinasian acknowledgement and Buber’s silent communication points to the depth of the mystery of dyssolving – which, like the dyssolving of the duality of the wolf developed in this article, can neither be understood nor comprehended. It requires a different approach, one which the Order of Nine Angles attempts to explore through a spiritual cartography designed to navigate the unseen, unknown, and unexplored.

Conclusion: The ONA and the Preservation of the Other

Whereas the Western tradition has been characterized by the reduction of the [O]ther to the Same, the ONA is a living example of a tradition that attempts to preserve the enigma of the [O]ther. We can observe many examples of this, both directly and indirectly. One indirect example can be found in the etymological relation between “weird” and “Wyrd,”[63] which hints at a being who is not self-contained but “understood as inseparable from temporality and historicity.”[64] Here, Wyrd marks an encounter with something other than the self (as a “pull” or “push” of fate or destiny “outside” the self), where self-presence is broken out of its imprisonment toward an enigmatic world in all of its strangeness and “weirdness.” In this directedness and “breaking-out-of” toward that which lies outside us, we no longer try to grasp, represent, understand, or comprehend in an effort to return that strangeness to “the hegemony of the Same”; rather, in preserving that sense of “outside ourselves” as “an exit from oneself,” we attempt to acknowledge our relationship with alterity.[65][66]

Much like Levinas’ goal then, the ONA’s rests on the establishment of a relationship between the Same (or self) and [O]ther, one “which does not entail the dissolution of either.”[67] In calling the Same into question and acknowledging the [O]ther in all of its strangeness, we do not simply push for a dislodgment of the primacy of the Same by the [O]ther, where, in Levinasian terms, “infinity abolishes totality.”[68] The difficulty rests on producing a sense in which both self and [O]ther are “preserved as independent and self-sufficient, but in some sense in relation with one another.”[69] Colin Davis notes that “[t]he ontological imperialism of Western thought manifests itself in different forms, but the hidden purpose is always to find a means of offsetting the shock of alterity.”[70] I have attempted to illustrate how the Order of Nine Angles does not want to offset the shock of alterity but acknowledge it. In fact, I claim that it wants to recall it. As Odysseus indicates when he and his men reach the land of the Lotus-eaters described in the opening quote of this article, we must not just speak but shout to the [O]ther – to our other comrades, the rest of the enigmatic world, and our opponents – “so none … [can] eat the lotus, forget the voyage home.”[71] From our forgetting – from a conversation that has by and large been forgotten, reduced to the Same, lost, and distorted – we must recall. That recalling is not the anamnesis of Plato, which “asserts that I already know what I seek to know, all knowledge is already contained within myself.”[72] Our recalling rests on the fundamental relation to the [O]ther, juxtaposed from a self “‘tethered to itself [rive à soimême]’ … trapped and longing for escape.”[73] In conversing and recalling as we make the voyage home, the following questions thus splinter with urgency from their need for resolution: with whom are we conversing? With whom are we having a conversation?

The task now is to break open the ONA’s emphasis on solitary practice and experience toward an openness and relationality that goes deeper than ontology. Although the ONA does reduce the [O]ther to the Same in several respects, these points of tension can reach a productive resolution if re-worked into a relational framework along these lines. I believe Anton Long would be the first to acknowledge some of these limitations, in addition to recognizing the need for ethical conversation so described. What I have written in this article is meant to illuminate some of those tensions with an eye toward their resolution. It is my hope that addressing this in terms of our ethical relation to the [O]ther will offer something of value to the reader in assessing how they approach the ONA, other associates, other people, and the rest of the world.

Levinas endeavored to “protect the Other from the aggressions of the Same, to analyse the possibilities and conditions of its appearance in our lives, and to formulate the ethical significance of the encounter with it.”[74] I believe the Order of Nine Angles and its preservation as a living tradition involves much the same goal, whether we are talking in terms of concrete objects, domains of reality, other life forms, or other people. But preserving this tradition requires more than conversing; it requires conversation. It requires ethical relation. Time will tell whether the ONA’s interior soliloquy has the resolve to evolve into a call – one which, as a living tradition, is “lived in the sensibility of an embodied exposure to the other,” and where the “deep structure of subjective experience … is structured in a relation of responsibility or … responsivity to the other … [which calls] me to respond.”[75] Whether associates will take this to heart or merely keep it in mind remains to be seen. I, however, remain optimistic.

[H]ere we landed, and surely a god steered us in
through the pitch-black night.
Not that he ever showed himself, with thick fog
swirling around the ships, the moon wrapped in clouds
and not a glimmer stealing through that gloom.
Not one of us glimpsed the island – scanning hard –
or the long combers rolling us slowly toward the coast,
not till our ships had run their keels ashore.
Beaching our vessels smoothly, striking sail,
the crews swung out on the low shelving sand
and there we fell asleep, awaiting Dawn’s first light.

Homer, The Odyssey 9.157–167[76]

Nameless Therein
November 23, 2022
2775 ab urbe condita

In loving memory of Allan Holdsworth.

Notes

[1] The term “diastasis” comes from Emmanuel Levinas’ Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence. His use of this word is complex, sometimes used in relation to identity or the “diastasis of the identical,” elsewhere in relation to “temporal diastasis.” The way I use it in this article is meant to suggest a general sense of separation. The title of this article,“Avribvs Teneo Lvpvm: Alterity and Ethical Diastasis in the Dyssolving of the Wolf” refers to diastasis as a separation or breakdown in our relation to the [O]ther. As I note throughout the article, Levinas uses the term “ethical” to describe that relation. His use of the term does not refer to its traditional “moral” or normative sense. That is, it concerns our relation to [O]ther, not what we ought to do or what is considered right or wrong.  For Levinas, ethics refers to a “calling into question of my spontaneity by the presence of the Other [Autrui],” which I describe later in this article. Emmanuel Levinas, Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority, trans. Alphonso Lingis (1969; repr., Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 2007), 43. In turn, alterity refers to this sense of otherness and concerns the [O]ther. If you put these together, you get something like: otherness and the separation, breakdown, or “coming apart” of our relation to the [O]ther, which is indicated and reiterated throughout this article in the form of a paradox or aporia I call “the duality of the wolf.” I see that duality as artificial – something that does not exist, something erected and created in an artificial manner. “Dyssolving” is meant to indicate how that aporia is resolved in the context of the Order of Nine Angles. I develop these themes hermeneutically, which concerns a healthy circle of descriptive and recurrent meaning rather than a fact-based argument involving assertion and counter-assertion.

For more on Levinas’ use of “diastasis,” see Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence, trans. Alphonso Lingis (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1974; Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1991). The term appears in the Kluwer Academic edition on, e.g., pages 29, 30, 34, 36, 42, and 115. For an overview of hermeneutics and my approach to it, see Nameless Therein, “The Star Game, Chess, and the Nine Angles: An Introduction to Chess Hermeneutics,” Lux Lycaonis, Fenrir: Journal of Satanism and the Sinister, April 13, 2022, https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/04/14/chess-hermeneutics/.

[2] Homer, The Odyssey, trans. Robert Fagles (1996; repr., New York: Penguin Books, 1997).

[3] Terence, Terence: The Comedies, trans. Peter Brown (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), xii.

[4] Terence, xii. See also Terence, Terence in Two Volumes, trans. John Sargeaunt, vol. 2 (1912; repr., London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1959), 2-3.

[5] Terence, Terence in Two Volumes, 58.

[6] Terence, 59.

[7] Terence, Phormio, The Mother-in-Law, The Brothers, trans. and ed. John Barsby, vol. 2, Loeb Classical Library 23 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001), 69.

[8]Traduire, c’est trahir,” as Levinas was fond of pointing out. To translate is to betray. See Simon Critchley, “Introduction,” chap. 1 in The Cambridge Companion to Levinas, ed. Simon Critchley and Robert Bernasconi (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 18.

[9] Terence, Phormio, Mother, Brothers, 4.

[10] Regarding my usage of [O]ther throughout this article, Levinas makes a distinction between the personal Other (“autrui”), which is capitalized and which refers to “the you” or another person, and the lowercased other (“autre”), which refers to the other generally and not necessarily to another person. It could, for example, refer to an object such as “the other bookshelf” or “the other glass of water.” The capitalized Other, however, refers to a person. My use of [O]ther throughout this article merges the two; because within the context of the ONA, [O]ther refers to the other person as much as it does to other life forms and objects. I leave it as [O]ther to keep this adaptive and open-ended, taking whichever reference necessary for the context it is found in. See Levinas, Totality and Infinity, 24. The footnote at the bottom of that page explains this distinction.

[11] Emmanuel Levinas, Entre nous: Essais sur le penser-à-l’autre (Paris: Grasset and Fasquelle, 1991), 255, quoted in Colin Davis, Levinas: An Introduction (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1996), 9.

[12] Critchley, “Introduction,” 6.

[13] In contrast to Heidegger and Husserl, Levinas thought the relation to the other person was not phenomenological – “not a phenomenon but an enigma,” and thus “not a matter for [intentional] thought or reflection,” where “intention” in this phenomenological sense refers to an object of consciousness rather than something like a motivation or volitional act. Critchley, “Introduction,” 8. Additionally, though Levinas was familiar with Heidegger’s later work, he was indebted to the early Heidegger – the Heidegger of Being and Time. Critchley, 10.

[14] See Davis, Levinas, 38: “Levinas acknowledges that Totality and Infinity continues to use the language of ontology … even though the arguments advanced in that book aspire to overturn ontology.” Derrida critiqued this in his work, “Violence and Metaphysics.” See “Violence and Metaphysics: An Essay on the Thought of Emmanuel Levinas,” chap. 4 in Writing and Difference, trans. Alan Bass (1978; repr., London: Routledge, 2001). On this point, Critchley notes that “[Derrida] argued that the attempt to leave the climate of Heidegger’s thinking was doomed from the start because Levinas still employs Heideggerian categories in the attempt to exceed those categories. Derrida extended the same argument to Levinas’s critique of Hegel and Husserl.” Critchley, “Introduction,” 17. Critchley additionally points out that Levinas was tormented by the questions Derrida raised in “Violence and Metaphysics.” In response, Levinas acknowledged that he was trying to move away from that ontological terminology in his later work.

[15] I want to emphasize again that the way I am applying “ethics” to the ONA in this article does not involve a traditional moral sense. It has to do with our relation to the [O]ther, with alterity. It is not normative or proscriptive, does not concern questions of right or wrong, and has little to do with the traditional philosophical field of ethics in any straightforward sense.

[16] Davis, Levinas, 35.

[17] Critchley, “Introduction,” 6.

[18] Critchley, “Introduction,” 27-28.

[19] In Heidegger’s language, the mode of being-in-the-world called knowing is anterior to ontological being-in-the-world.

[20] Levinas, Entre nous, 255, quoted in Davis, Levinas, 9.

[21] Though Levinas makes a distinction between the personal Other (“autrui”), which is capitalized in English, and the other generally (“autre”), which is lowercased (see note 10 above), my capitalization of the word “Same” here (used to refer to the self) is a matter of personal taste. Davis, Critchley, and translators of Levinas have their own conventions regarding the capitalization of this term. I have opted for capitalization only as a matter of consistency throughout this article.

[22] Levinas, Totality and Infinity, 43, quoted in Davis, Levinas, 36. Davis’ quote of this passage uses slightly different capitalization for certain words. I have retained the capitalization of the edition of Totality and Infinity listed in the bibliography for this article.

[23] Levinas, Totality and Infinity, 43.

[24] Critchley, 21.

[25] Critchley, 21. Note that Levinas’ departure from Heidegger’s analysis can be illustrated in the following way: “Levinas claims that Dasein’s understanding of Being presupposes an ethical relation with the other human being, that being to whom I speak and to whom I am obliged before being comprehended. Fundamental ontology is fundamentally ethical.” Critchley, 10.

[26] Critchley, 25.

[27] Critchley, 26.

[28] Levinas, Totality and Infinity, 50, quoted in Critchley, “Introduction,” 15.

[29] Critchley, “Introduction,” 12.

[30] Levinas, Totality and Infinity, 291.

[31] Derrida, “Violence and Metaphysics,” 124.

[32] G. W. F. Hegel, The Philosophy of Fine Art, trans. F. P. B. Osmaston (London: C. Bell and Sons, 1920), 1:206-7, quoted in Derrida, “Violence and Metaphysics,” 122-123.

[33] Martin Buber, Between Man and Man, trans. Ronald Gregor-Smith (New York: Routledge, 2002), 3. It should be noted that Levinas had problems with some of the work of Martin Buber and mysticism generally. One must be careful in drawing a connection between their thought, in addition to exploring Levinas’ thought in the context of this article, whose frame of reference he almost certainly would have opposed. His ideas nevertheless cast important implications over a shadow of discourse surrounding the ONA, which could benefit from this line of development.

[34] Buber, Between Man and Man, 3.

[35] Buber, 4.

[36] Buber, 4.

[37] Buber, 4-5.

[38] Levinas is not claiming that the [O]ther is God. Critchley emphasizes this point: “[Nor] is … [Levinas] claiming that the other is God, as some readers mistakenly continue to believe.” Critchley, “Introduction,” 14.

[39] See Davis, Levinas, 40: “So Levinas transforms Descartes’s infinite God into his own Other.” See also Critchley, “Introduction,” 14 and Hilary Putnam, “Levinas and Judaism,” chap. 2 in The Cambridge Companion to Levinas, ed. Simon Critchley and Robert Bernasconi (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 42. With respect to the relation between Descartes’ res cogitans and God, Putnam says: “It isn’t that Levinas accepts Descartes’s argument, so interpreted. The significance is rather that Levinas transforms the argument by substituting the other for God.”

[40] Critchley, “Introduction,” 12.

[41] Critchley, 12.

[42] Regarding acknowledgement, Critchley says the following: “That is to say, there is something about the other person, a dimension of separateness, interiority, secrecy or what Levinas calls ‘alterity’ that escapes my comprehension. That which exceeds the bounds of my knowledge demands acknowledgement.” Critchley, “Introduction,” 26.

[43] Critchley, 12.

[44] Critchley, 12.

[45] And yet we hear it and are called to respond. However, we may have trouble “listening” to that call, because although we sense it intimately its utterance is so ungraspable and incomprehensible that we only “see” its contours – and blindly, at that. We must make out its shape in an impenetrable darkness, one without light or sight. So there is a kind of “hearing” without hearing to go with our seeing without seeing and speaking without speaking. The point is that this relation cannot be reduced to comprehension. It cannot be reduced to the self, to the “I,” to the Same. This is what Levinas means by “a relation that is not a relation,” from which the phrases I am employing here – “seeing without seeing,” “speaking without speaking,” and “hearing without hearing” – are derived.

[46] Davis, Levinas, 41.

[47] Davis, 41.

[48] Davis, 3. The full quote on the same page elaborates on this point: “In Levinas’s reading of the history of Western thought, the Other has generally been regarded as something provisionally separate from the Same (or the self), but ultimately reconcilable with it; otherness, or alterity, appears as a temporary interruption to be eliminated as it is incorporated into or reduced to sameness. For Levinas, on the contrary, the Other lies absolutely beyond my comprehension and should be preserved in all its irreducible strangeness; it may be revealed by other people in so far as they are not merely mirror images of myself, or … by religious experience or certain privileged texts. Levinas’s endeavour is to protect the Other from the aggressions of the Same, to analyse the possibilities and conditions of its appearance in our lives, and to formulate the ethical significance of the encounter with it.”

[49] Davis, 40. On the same page, Davis notes: “The ontological imperialism of Western thought manifests itself in different forms, but the hidden purpose is always to find a means of offsetting the shock of alterity.” See also Levinas, Totality and Infinity, 43: “Western philosophy has most often been an ontology: a reduction of the other to the same by interposition of a middle and neutral term that ensures the comprehension of being.”

[50] A simple way to think of this: my egology is your ontology.

[51] Davis, Levinas, 40.

[52] Davis, 40.

[53] See, for example, Levinas, Totality and Infinity, 40: “Alterity is possible only starting from me.”

[54] Davis, Levinas, 48.

[55] On this point, Myatt says that “[t]he Way of Pathei-Mathos is an ethical, an interior, a personal, a non-political, a non-interfering, a non-religious but spiritual, way of individual reflexion, individual change, and empathic living, where there is an awareness of the importance of virtues such as compassion, humility, tolerance, gentleness, and love.” David Myatt, “I. Morality, Virtues, and Way of Life,” in The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos, 5th ed. (CreateSpace, 2018), https://www.davidmyatt.info/numinous-way-pathei-mathos.pdf.

[56] David Myatt, “III. Enantiodromia and the Separation-of-Otherness,” in The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos, 5th ed. (CreateSpace, 2018), https://www.davidmyatt.info/numinous-way-pathei-mathos.pdf.

[57] Myatt, “Enantiodromia.”

[58] Anton Long, “Enantiodromia: The Sinister Abyssal Nexion,” Lapis Philosophicus (blog), https://lapisphilosophicus.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/enantiodromia-the-sinister-abyssal-nexion.pdf. In the first endnote of the article entitled “The Abyss” in this collection of articles and notes, Long directs us to David Myatt’s essay, “The Abstraction of Change as Opposites and Dialectic,” which details the origin of the term “enantiodromia.” See David Myatt, “The Abstraction of Change as Opposites and Dialectic,” The Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos (blog), https://perceiverations.wordpress.com/change-opposites-and-dialectic/. Long notes how, according to Myatt, the word is “a transliteration of the compound Greek word ἐναντιοδρομίας and which word first occurs in Lives of Eminent Philosophers by Diogenes Laërtius.” According to Myatt, Diogenes is thought to have paraphrased Heraclitus in saying: “πάντα δὲ γίνεσθαι καθ᾽ εἱμαρμένην καὶ διὰ τῆς ἐναντιοδρομίας ἡρμόσθαι τὰ ὄντα,” which Myatt translates as: “All by genesis is appropriately apportioned [separated into portions] with beings bound together again by enantiodromia.” This idea of apportioning or separating into portions “with beings bound together again by enantiodromia” bears some resemblance to the idea of ethical diastasis described throughout this article – the idea of a separation or breakdown in our relation to the [O]ther, then dyssloved through the elimination of an artificial duality (here, the duality of the wolf). Though there are differences between this sense of enantiodromia and Levinas’ ethical relation to the [O]ther, this is a line of inquiry worth exploring.

[59] For Levinas, this refers to the sense in which our ethical relation to the [O]ther plays a defining role in the identity and constitution of the human being. In the ONA, this marks the genesis of a new being. Insofar as the ONA and Levinas find a point of overlap here, it may be that this is not the genesis of a new being but an ancient one. Furthermore, this being may be an ethical synonym for the human being (ethical in Levinas’ sense of a relation to the [O]ther). It would appear then that the adept and human being are not so different after all. Here again we find the theme of the dyssolving of the duality of the wolf. Here again we find the need to engage in ethical conversation. Combined, one begins to see the contours of a different sense of “mundane” when considering that the adept and human being are not so distinct. At their heart, both are striving to speak to the [O]ther, to listen, to hear the call. Here they find an important point of commonality, one that constitutes the core of their identity and reality, even if those differ radically.

[60] Critchley, “Introduction,” 21.

[61] Cf. Myatt, “Enantiodromia.”

[62] Critchley, “Introduction,” 15.

[63] For more on the etymological connection between “weird” and Wyrd,” see Nameless Therein, “‘Where’s Your Will to Be Wyrd’: An Examination of Wyrd in the Anglo-Saxon Religious Imagination,” Lux Lycaonis, Fenrir: Journal of Satanism and the Sinister, March 28, 2022, https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/03/29/will-wyrd/. Also see F. Anne Payne, “Three Aspects of Wyrd in Beowulf,” in Old English Studies in Honour of John C. Pope, eds. Robert B. Burlin and Edward B. Irving (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974), 15. There, Payne says the following about this connection: “The adjective ‘weird’ and the noun slang term ‘weirdo’ describe an event or person whose attributes are suddenly discovered to be outside the bounds of normal expectation and arouse an experience that an observer contemplates with uncomprehending but compelling uneasiness. This combination of attraction and awe in the face of an event in a space whose dimensions are undefined and uncontrollable hovers about the meaning of Old English Wyrd.”

[64] Davis, Levinas, 16.

[65] Davis, 21. On this notion of “an exit from oneself” and “the relationship with alterity,” see Emmanuel Levinas, En decouvrant I’ existence avec Husserl et Heidegger (1949; repr., Paris: Vrin, 1974), 139 and 145.

[66] Indeed, this points to the deeper levels of the mystery of dyssolving in the ONA, in addition to the dyssolving of the duality of the wolf described in this article. Both concern a sense in which dyssolving does not involve the abolishment of self or an annihilation of the aforesaid duality. The key and mystery lie in the opening as an exit from oneself through the acknowledgement of our relationship with alterity. The relationship involved in this sense of dyssolving, or at least what it “opens” us to, can be characterized by a relation between the face-to-face (speaking without seeing) and the eye-to-eye (seeing without “speaking”) described above. Both additionally concern what I have described elsewhere as “making the invisible visible.” See Ariadne and Nameless Therein, “Arcadian Truth & the Instar Emergence: The Task of Outer Representative,” Lux Lycaonis, Fenrir: Journal of Satanism and the Sinister, November 5, 2022, https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/11/05/alea-iacta-est/. Nexion of Ur also develops this point in “Burial Night,” Nocturnal Reflexions, November 11, 2022, https://nocturnalreflexions.wordpress.com/2022/11/11/burial-night/.

[67] Davis, Levinas, 20.

[68] Davis, 41.

[69] Davis, 41.

[70] Davis, 40.

[71] Homer, The Odyssey 9.106–117.

[72] Davis, Levinas, 40.

[73] Davis, 18. The phrase “rive à soimême” is from Levinas, De l’évasion (1935; repr., Montpellier: Fata Morgana, 1982), 87.

[74] Davis, 3.

[75] Critchley, “Introduction,” 21.

[76] Homer, The Odyssey 9.157–167.

Bibliography

Buber, Martin. Between Man and Man. Translated by Ronald Gregor-Smith. 1947. Reprint, New York: Routledge, 2002.

Critchley, Simon. “Introduction.” Chap. 1 in The Cambridge Companion to Levinas, edited by Simon Critchley and Robert Bernasconi. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Davis, Colin. Levinas: An Introduction. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1996. First published 1996 by Polity Press (Cambridge).

Derrida, Jacques. “Violence and Metaphysics: An Essay on the Thought of Emmanuel Levinas.” Chap. 4 in Writing and Difference, translated by Alan Bass. 1978. Reprint, London: Routledge, 2001. First published 1967 by Éditions du Seuil (Paris).

Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. The Philosophy of Fine Art. Translated by F. P. B. Osmaston. London: C. Bell and Sons, 1920.

Homer. The Odyssey. Translated by Robert Fagles. With introduction and notes by Bernard Knox. New York: Penguin Books, 1997. First published 1996 by Viking Penguin.

Levinas, Emmanuel. De l’évasion. Montpellier: Fata Morgana, 1982. First published 1935 as an article.

———. En découvrant I’ existence avec Husserl et Heidegger. Paris: Vrin, 1974. First edition 1949 with additions in 1967.

———. Entre nous: Essais sur le penser-à-l’autre. Paris: Grasset and Fasquelle, 1991.

———. Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence. Translated by Alphonso Lingis. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1974. Reprint, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1991.

———. Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority. Translated by Alphonso Lingis. 1969. Reprint, Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 2007. First published in French as Totalité et infini: Essai sur l’extériorité. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1961.

Long, Anton. “Enantiodromia: The Sinister Abyssal Nexion.” Lapis Philosophicus (blog). https://lapisphilosophicus.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/enantiodromia-the-sinister-abyssal-nexion.pdf.

Myatt, David. “The Abstraction of Change as Opposites and Dialectic.” The Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos (blog). https://perceiverations.wordpress.com/change-opposites-and-dialectic/.

———. The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos. 5th ed. CreateSpace, 2018.

Putnam, Hilary. “Levinas and Judaism.” Chap. 2 in The Cambridge Companion to Levinas, edited by Simon Critchley and Robert Bernasconi. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Terence. Phormio, The Mother-in-Law, The Brothers. Vol. 2, Loeb Classical Library 23, translated and edited by John Barsby. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001.

———. Terence in Two Volumes. Translated by John Sargeaunt. Vol. 2. 1912. Reprint, London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1959.

———. Terence: The Comedies. Translated by Peter Brown. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.


Alea iacta est

Posted: November 5th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Culture, Current Affair, Fenrir, Inner ONA, Labyrinthos Mythologicus, News, O9A, Occultism, Order of Nine Angles, The Sinister Tradition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Alea iacta est

Mimesis and Arcadian Truth in the Theater of Cruelty: The Task of Outer Representative

By Nameless Therein

Reposted from our main site

cruelty

And if Perseus is proud of Andromeda too in the stars, do but cast your eye towards that side of the heavens, where the brilliant Ophiuchos is conspicuous holding up his encircling Serpent, and you will see the circlet of Ariadne’s Crown, the Sun’s companion, which rises with the Moon and proclaims the desire of crownloving Dionysos.[1]

The subject of mimesis casts a rich historical shadow across its diverse roots in ancient Greek thought, literature, narrative theory, art, and avant-garde theater. The word carries an equally rich nest of meanings. It roughly translates as “imitation,” originating from the Greek word, mimeisthai, which means “to imitate.”[2] It is sometimes translated as “representation,” sometimes “re-doubling,” and can occasionally connote a sense of mimicry, replication, and impersonation.[3] In the ancient Greek world, the oldest usages of the root “mim-” seem to have something to do with music, as evidenced in Aeschylus’ lost tragedy Edonians, “where noise-making musical instruments are referred to as ‘bull-voiced […] frightened mimoi’,” in addition to Democritus’ claim that, “just as crafts follow the example of animals, music imitates birdsong.”[4] The Homeric Hymn to Apollo refers to “a choir of maidens who know how to imitate/represent (mimeisthai) men’s voices and castanets.”[5] Both cases demonstrate how musical mimesis transmits an acoustic image created by an animated being in order to trigger a strong emotional effect in the public.[6]

Historically, mimesis had to do with two complementary aspects: artistic imitation, which was associated with representation and re-enactment, and behavioral imitation.[7] In terms of art, mimesis concerned the expression of certain attitudes and emotions, in addition to guiding the representation of the perceptible world and the ideas, ideals, and values that informed it.[8] Evidence for behavioral imitation can be found in various ancient sources, such as Aristotle’s Poetics where he remarks that human beings learn by imitating, or in the work of Democritus who argued that humans imitate animals through crafts.[9] In epic poetry, Socrates distinguished between “narrative (diegesis) as the general aim of the poem and the local imitation (mimesis) of the character’s direct speech,” holding that the emotions expressed in this form of mimesis could be “contagious” and thus occasionally “weaken the soul’s commitment to virtue.”[10] Plato had a similarly troubling relationship with artistic activity, viewing the artist as a kind of deceiver concerned with representing appearances rather than reality itself, one complicit in eikasia, where the artist as a producer of imitations of imitations takes us even further away from knowledge.[11] By contrast, Aristotle, who did not subscribe to Plato’s theory of forms, emphasized mimesis in terms of its “natural … [and] this-worldly [aspects],” both with respect to mimetic art and poetry.[12]

Mimesis thus typically has something to do with imitation. But by the time Aristotle wrote the Poetics, the issue of what works like tragedies or poems were imitating became a philosophical problem. Aristotle’s solution was that they were imitating an action (mimēsis praxeōs). In the twentieth-century, his idea of an imitation of an action or mimēsis praxeōs was taken up in the work of the famous French Continental philosopher, Paul Ricoeur. Ricoeur’s rich understanding of mimesis moved beyond its general sense of “imitation,” “representation,” or what he sometimes referred to as a kind of “re-doubling” into a complex process that can be termed an arc of operations. For Ricoeur, this arc is comprised of three movements, beginning as a symbolic system within a culture, then transforming into a fixed form like a work of literature, and finally re-emerging in a cultural context where the consciousness of the participant or reader is altered as a result. Ricoeur’s understanding of mimesis was thus tightly linked to the concept of mythos or narrative emplotment in Aristotle’s Poetics.

Mythos and mimesis are tethered together. Both involve the ability to permanently transform the inhabitant of a given culture, tradition, or society. For Ricoeur, this tethering serves as part of the basis for the emergence of meaning in human consciousness. One of Ricoeur’s great discoveries about mimesis concerns the way our experience of the world involves an irreducible narrativity: the sense in which that experience always unfolds as a kind of story across time. In this, the individual transformation of consciousness may be said to occupy a broader archetypal domain of myth, one that Freud, Jung, and Joseph Campbell pick up on. Speaking to the power and importance of myth, Campbell says the following:

Throughout the inhabited world, in all times and under every circumstance, the myths of man have flourished; and they have been the living inspiration of whatever else may have appeared out of the activities of the human body and mind. It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation. Religions, philosophies, arts, the social forms of primitive and historic man, prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep, boil up from the basic, magic ring of myth.

The wonder is that the characteristic efficacy to touch and inspire deep creative centers dwells in the smallest nursery fairy tale—as the flavor of the ocean is contained in a droplet or the whole mystery of life within the egg of a flea. For the symbols of mythology are not manufactured; they cannot be ordered, invented, or permanently suppressed. They are spontaneous productions of the psyche, and each bears within it, undamaged, the germ power of its source.[13]

Campbell’s characterization of myth bears a close resemblance to the Order of Nine Angles. From the “formless forming” and weaving of the Wyrdful web that my co-conspirator Ariadne describes in the article below, the hidden and hard-earned Aracadian truths behind the many corridors of the ONA’s winding labyrinth are not static but fluid, cascading and emerging as a canvas of appearances, much like the “instar” stage of a cicada that Ariadne describes. But these appearances are appearances; and many mistake these “moving articulations” as stationary identities, ideas, things, always trying to put a face or a name or something knowable to an irreducible opacity. (How many times have we been warned about “abstractions”?) Nevertheless, as a subculture founded on a wide horizon of mythic imitation, there is something underlying the many difficult and dangerous appearances one inevitably encounters within the labyrinth – not something “beyond” or “within” or “apart” from them, but a deeper invisible layer, something intangible, outstretching, eternal, ubiquitous, conspicuous in its absence, a condition for possibility of all appearance: “always the one, shape-shifting yet marvelously constant story that we find, together with a challengingly persistent suggestion of more remaining to be experienced than will ever be told.”[14]

This tradition is not fixed, nor is it complete. With the ONA’s characteristic efficacy to reach and inspire just the “deep creative centers” Campbell describes, neither can it ever be manufactured: it cannot be “ordered, invented, or permanently suppressed,” because it is a spontaneous production of the psyche, one in which every inhabitant, every associate, every individual that wishes to transform its participatory dead letter into a living word partakes in. Each and every individual here bears within themselves the undamaged “germ power of its source.” But this world, our world, the world of the Order of Nine Angles – it is a theater, one where the appearances we encounter in the labyrinth are constituted, populated, and erected by the very psyche that spontaneously produces them.

What then is the task of the Outer Representative? I have considered this question carefully against the event horizon of tremendous responsibility that it carries. Endorsed by those who, with no pangs of conscience or hesitation, continue to bear the weight of my unconditional admiration and respect without complaint, and whose august presence within our tradition sustains its better nature, it is with deep humility and respect for those individuals, this tradition, and the responsibility of this position that I now rise from a place of immutable honor to acknowledge and accept my role as Outer Representative of the Order of Nine Angles.

What then is my task as Outer Representative to every “brutal and beautiful interconnected sinister soul shared by those ensnared within … [the] Wyrdful web” of this tradition? It certainly is not to manufacture, presume to lead, or even guide. Nor is it to officiate, guard, or gander some thinly veiled Arcadian “truth” guarded by the Minotaur at the heart of the labyrinth! No, my purpose here is simple: to tap into that deep creative center of spontaneous emergence and transmit the “one, shapeshifting yet marvelously constant story” that we find together – one that occupies the ensouled world of our individual narratives as we make our way into the primordial unknown. I will always carry that in my heart; we all will. My role here is to make the invisible visible – not as an appearance or mere appearance, but as something that can permanently alter the consciousness of anyone who encounters it, changing the course of history for that individual, for the ONA, and for our tradition in however infinitesimal or monolithic a way.

Thomas Mann once said that, “The writer must be true to truth,” to which Joseph Campbell remarked: “the only way you can describe a human being truly is by describing his imperfections. The perfect human being is uninteresting…. It is the imperfections that are lovable. And when the writer sends a dart of the true word, it hurts. But it goes with love. That is what Mann called ‘erotic irony,’ the love for that which you are killing with your cruel, analytical word.”[15] Nothing is perfect in the ONA. Least of all myself. There is much room for improvement, much work to do to enact that as a practical reality, and many long years ahead to uproot and undo much of the damage done by the actions and activities of various associates all the way back to the founding of this tradition. But we will see it through before the curtain to this theater closes. As the French artist, surrealist, poet, playwright, and theater theoretician Antonin Artaud described with respect to a “theater of cruelty,” “Those who have forgotten the communicative power and magical mimesis of a gesture, the theater can reinstruct, because a gesture carries its energy with it, and there are still human beings in the theater to manifest the force of the gesture made.”[16] Indeed, in terms of the theater’s value as an “excruciating, magical relation to reality and danger,”[17] the Order of Nine Angles is a theater of cruelty, one that, within its living labyrinth, will often seem as if “everything that acts is a cruelty.”[18] But it is upon precisely “this idea of extreme action, pushed beyond all limits, that theater must be rebuilt.”[19]

This is my task as Outer Representative: to help rebuild this theater of cruelty by making the invisible visible deep within the heart of the labyrinth. I end with a quote from Jacques Derrida who, in noting Artaud’s uncanny ability to do both, describes something that equally applies to the task of Outer Representative: a “passionate, heroic negation of everything that causes us to be dead while alive.” The full quote is as follows:

I do not have to account in his stead for what he has experienced nor for what he has suffered…. I know that Antonin Artaud saw, the way Rimbaud, as well as Novalis and Arnim before him, had spoken of seeing. It is of little consequence, ever since the publication of Aurelia, that what was seen this way does not coincide with what is objectively visible. The real tragedy is that the society to which we are less and less honored to belong persists in making it an inexpiable crime to have gone over to the other side of the looking glass. In the name of everything that is more than ever close to my heart, I cheer the return to freedom of Antonin Artaud in a world where freedom itself must be reinvented…. I salute Antonin Artaud for his passionate, heroic negation of everything that causes us to be dead while alive.[20]

alea iacta est

Nameless Therein
November 4, 2022

Notes

[1] Nonnos, Dionysiaca, trans. W. H. D. Rouse, vol. 2, Books 16-35 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1940), 261.

[2] Andrew M. Colman, “Mimesis,” in A Dictionary of Psychology, 4th ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015).

[3] William H. Gass, “Mimesis,” Conjunctions, no. 46 (2006): 192.

[4] Thomas G. Pavel, “Mimesis,” chap. 16 in Literature Now: Key Terms and Methods for Literary History, ed. Sascha Bru, Ben De Bruyn, and Michel Delville (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016), 215.

[5] Pavel, “Mimesis,” 215-216.

[6] Pavel, 216.

[7] Pavel, 215.

[8] Pavel, 215.

[9] Pavel, 215.

[10] Pavel, 216.

[11] Simon Blackburn, “Mimesis,” in A Dictionary of Philosophy, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).

[12] Pavel, “Mimesis,” 217.

[13] Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1993), chap. 1, EPUB.

[14] Campbell, Hero, chap. 1.

[15] Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth (New York: Anchor Books, 1991), chap. 1, EPUB.

[16] Antonin Artaud, The Theater and Its Double, trans. Mary Caroline Richards (New York: Grove Press, 1958), 81.

[17] Artaud, Theater and Its Double, 89.

[18] Artaud, 85.

[19] Artaud, 85.

[20] Jacques Derrida and Paule Thévenin, The Secret Art of Antonin Artaud, trans. Mary Ann Caws (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1998), vii.


THE INSTAR EMERGENCE: Mimesis, Mythos, and Recalling

By Ariadne

ο Μίτος της Αριάδνης

instar

Saturn’s waning acted as a harbinger for a distinct and rejuvenating shift in the tenor and tone of my path. As the first chilled breaths of the season’s cool first glance from the eye of Winter lands into my lungs I feel warmed by the comprehension of what exactly is waning and waxing. However, in parallel, I am aware of a war that rages on – in forms both kinetic and cold. There is a war with bullets and there is a war with narratives, stories, and mythos.

I bring these different forms of warfare to your attention with the intention to remind my reader that wielding narrative itself can be – and often IS – ACTION. At the least, it is itself a will to action. My writing here is a kinetic action that I take with consciousness and vital responsibility, due to a passion so large that it cannot help but extend beyond my self.

Your time in this world, as far as we know, is limited.

Your impact, your legacy, what you leave behind, is what you choose to make it. Your words, your narrative, your role in the dialectic, your mythological contribution, is larger than any fist. A myth can be an even more powerful and lasting tool than a nuclear missile. More than that, the limitations of your word extend no further than your own ability to use it.

That is because mimesis (μίμησις) acts in funny ways.

Like the name of this website suggests, it is a subject I have interest in seeking out new ways of understanding.

The name of this website betrays a great deal to those who know what they are looking at. Indeed, to some, my intentions are transparent, and it has come to my attention that the time has come for this to be worth exploring.

An “instar” is a stage in the development of an insect, like a cicada, before it emerges from the earth. Much like the cicada, a myth can be in a similar stage of emergent development, recalling itself through a living, kinetic force of nature before it arises in the form of action or replication from those through which it inspires yet another spark of kinetic energy – a transmutational fire.

See, we do not exist in a vacuum. Nor do our words, nor do our myths. Somebody is reading this and it is meaningful. Ideally, inspiring them to write/say something that MATTERS. Somebody is inspired to the action of expression by my Will to share my own expression.

This concept is deeply moving to me.

Somebody else is reading this and rolling their eyes. Either way – spending time inside my writing, having tea with my words, this is how you are choosing to spend your time – within what I have woven.

Sincerity and originality are always able to be conveyed, even in a mimetic replication of a myth – such as that of Theseus and Ariadne’s journey through the Labyrinth and back. If you possess an ounce of creative kinetic energy, or think you might with a little practice, the written word is one of many worthy acts in and of itself.

In such a stage, “mimesis” is sort of that real kinetic energy passed along, and the kinetic inspiration from which it is recalled and to which it unfolds.

The mythos grows through its instar phase to The Emergence, at which time it unfolds – except, it is no linear process. It is always unfolding – it is only up to the individual who is touched by that kinetic spark to unfold in turn, the process of mimesis – replication, recalling, becoming through nonsensuous similarity – to unfold with it.

To Emerge in ACTION – through the mythos, from the mythos, to the mythos.

I recently had a conversation with my close and dear associate – and far more articulate and well-read philosopher – Nameless Therein, who wrote of mimesis:

‘Mimesis’ is one method of aeonic magick that has come down over the centuries,” involving the imitation of “some aspect of cosmic/Earth-based movement/working, and then either following the natural pattern or slightly altering that pattern to bring about a subtle change.” Additionally, given that it is this “alteration” that “forms the basis for ‘black’ magick” it is quite telling that so few “Satanists” have a sense of what that means. In an attempt to remedy this, and as a practical way of encouraging others to develop the faculties required for advanced magickal applications […] I will be introducing a series of chess hermeneutics”

– Nameless Therein, An Introduction to Chess Hermeneutics – CHESS HERMENEUTICS: SHAPESHIFTING, SATANISM, AND MIMESIS

That recent dialogue I had with Nameless Therein on the subject was a myriad of illuminations, including among them, a mutual reverence for that observation of The Emergence of the mimetic, phenomenological heart in those who carry the mythos of the tradition we inhabit within them. That tradition and mythos has been in its phase of necessary incubation – much like the instar phase of the cicada – before the recalling of its emergence as something much more than it has ever been.

We are experiencing it within our own Emergence. It is my humble belief this change is palpable and present in every meaning-starved recalling of the living mythos – now finally ready to emerge and evolve far beyond what it once was.

The mimēsis praxeōs of our living, Wyrdful, active mythos has been undergoing a great and painstaking time of much-needed, decisive growth, just beneath the surface of the world we both inhabit. It is a garden that hungers and thirsts and has been trampled by those who choose poison over water. The low humming of its arrival is growing to a fever pitch and the entirety trembles in kinetic excitement with its vibration.

A lesson for those who believe traditions die and myths exist only as faerie-fables: The Emergence lies in wait, always, just beneath the crust of the Earth.

For The Emergence to successfully bloom, it only needs a small yet passionate, emboldened, and authentic few. Those who care enough for that myth that grew them to grow it back in return. It needs only those few to be inspired once more, to tend the garden to grow, re-grow, and become much more than it ever was.

The Emergence lives by mimesis and duration, only enriching itself in a new, unique iteration. In this iteration, it will grow with the intentions of introducing the honor it has lacked, the creative and original spirit that it has sustained with pretension, and the sincerity and earnestness brought only by those who have been touched by the brutal and beautiful interconnected sinister soul shared by those ensnared within its Wyrdful web.

Mimetic emergences such as the Insidious Way and Antithesis Press are such examples of the creative force of life extending beyond, through, and surpassed within that web. They are the low hum energizing those who can feel the harbingers of a new game.

We ARE that pure Telos of Duration – that “supreme end of man’s endeavor” – that n/ever unfolding end-goal – that mythological beginning and end, itself, alpha and omega. We are the ever-unfolding and our myth is written BY us, FOR us – OR without us. We are duration itself, unfolding and SURVIVING itself. It is truly an exciting time to be ALIVE.

[Henri] Bergson, Sorel tells us, asks us to consider ‘the inner depths of the mind and what happens during a creative moment’. Acting freely, we recover our Selves, attaining the level of pure ‘duration’ that Bergson equates with ‘integral knowledge’. This new form of comprehension was identified as ‘intuition’, a form of internal and empathetic understanding, and it was precisely this form of intuitive understanding that Sorel believed was encompassed by his category of myth.

Reflections on Violence, Jeremy Jennings on Georges Sorel

It is a coward who willfully chooses the mad and mindless escape of meaningless disregard. It is a coward who chooses to reject their divinity and its emergence in their own unfolding physis of their very being. It is only that coward who would willingly inhabit that bland, dysteleological limbo, day in and out, in pursuit of ever more flailing, cynical hysterics about the Nigh End with no regard for the time one possesses in life TODAY.

To enact one’s true passion and sincere creative will, TODAY, is to seize our age by the balls and LIVE – in spite of what age it may be.

This living myth, this endless end, this mimetic duration, is worthy of vitality. And YOU possess it – HERE AND NOW.

Tell it. Live it. Act it. Re-create it. With passion and zeal for this one life you have.

Until such an end arrives, for better or worse, our world continues ever-onward with us, alive and vital. We welcome it with gratitude in our hearts for this Wyrdful opportunity to create and explore our days and our years to come, pressing onward together.

We welcome new games and new ways to play them. Afterall, we have but one life in this world of infinite depth and opportunity. We have one divine, powerful existence. Why limit ourselves to the same tired jape? Why not laugh? Why not create?

If your lines of dialogue run cycles around the same inevitable sewage drain, ask yourself:

  1. What is my aim in speaking at all?
  2. What narrative am I recalling?
  3. What are the myths I am reenacting?

It is boring to echo the same eschatology of putrefied, fermented dysteleological, aimless rot. That end-time cynicism and hate that adds its tone deaf voice to the chant of collapse for no purpose but to sit back on wherever it arbitrarily identifies a symbolic “winning side” from its limbic mind – that is truly the primordial impotence of the coward of every age.

See, that pickled myth of decay belongs to those afraid of REALLY LIVING, such that they rather defecate in the face of sincere insight than face their own shadow.

To recall Reflections on Violence once more: there is harm to the progress of an idea when objections brought against it arise from the incapacity of the official representatives rather than the principals of the doctrine itself.

As Sorel stated: “It is the myth in its entirety which is, alone, important.

To be duration, the formless forming, the weaving and the web, that is evolutionary. No one person can represent all of that for any one other, let alone many. Even so, Nameless Therein is, as a wise person recently stated, “actually qualified” to “transmit, evolve, and presence” our subculture as we see it. As that person also said, that Lapis Philosophicus will presence differently for all. If this living tradition deserves the new life the few of us who embrace and embody it are willing to breathe into it, and should it find that what it needs is a new spin to its living mythos, a new song for its telosic transmutation, a new “official representation” or rather, Outer Representation, it seems clear that Nameless Therein holds that mimetic tetrahedral fire it has hungered for, and has found that for himself.

It will always be up to the individual following the path, that individual alone, to BE The Emergence, the unfolding, the teleological life-force, for his/her Self, by his/her Self. We are capable of great deeds and great causal legacy.

Rather than cast aside your divinity – LIVE.

SURRENDER to your own unfolding.

Take DECISIVE aim at your goal, load the pistol, and shoot that motherfucker like your life depends on it – because it DOES.

Mimesis has kept our myth alive. Whatever it may mean for you or I, it is what we now hold, and its meaning can be defined only by you. Live for it. Authentically, decisively, passionately, creatively. Empathetically.

Like the instar, tunneling to the surface\n
We must shed our own circumferences;\n
Find the divinity within and emerge.

In allegiance. For hope, for vitality, for the coming phase.

Ariadne 2022 e.v.