Modern Man Believes in Nothing: Modernity in Contemporary Satanism and the Order of Nine Angles

Posted: May 4th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Church of Satan, Culture, Fenrir, Inner ONA, Michael Aquino, Nihilism, O9A, Occultism, Order of Nine Angles, Temple of Set, The Sinister Tradition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Modern Man Believes in Nothing: Modernity in Contemporary Satanism and the Order of Nine Angles

Cole_Dream_med

– Thomas Cole, The Architect’s Dream, 1840[1]

Reposted from Lux Lycaonis:

https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/05/04/modern-man-believes-in-nothing/

Modern Man Believes in Nothing:

Modernity in Contemporary Satanism and the Order of Nine Angles[2]

by Nameless Therein

Many years ago, I had the pleasure of studying with a former and well-respected Harvard professor, a man who later became a mentor to me and shaped my spiritual and intellectual worldview. Armed with Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, Richard Tarnas’ The Passion of the Western Mind, and some of the most important texts in the Western tradition, we critically examined the relationship between faith and reason in Western thought over the last two thousand years of intellectual and religious history. In clarifying the context of our modern perspective through the clash between faith and reason, we came to a deeper understanding of how that relationship shaped our entire worldview. Contrary to my own view at the time, I learned that faith was not a belief in something without good reasons, nor was it a euphemism for “religion” or the opposite of reason. Rather, as Wilfred Cantwell Smith notes, faith is not belief but the essential human quality, one “constitutive of man as human,” where “that personality is constituted by our universal ability, or invitation, to live in terms of a transcendent dimension, and in response to it.”[3] Van Austin Harvey elaborates on this distinction as follows:

In the history of Christian thought, two general tendencies concerning the concept of [faith] may be observed: (1) [faith] is regarded more nearly as belief or as mental assent (assensus) to some truth, whether about the nature of God (supernatural truth) or about the past (historical truth). (2) [Faith] is understood to be the basic orientation of the total person that may include belief but is best described as trust (fiducia), confidence, or loyalty.[4]

Faith in this sense is not a fideistic blind belief, but a dynamic mode of knowledge as a descriptive relation of being. It is what bridges the gap between the known and unknown, the rational and the empirical, the idealistic and the materialistic. In one sense, it involves a form of mental assent; but it also involves the total orientation of a person toward the transcendent.

Contrary to the modern tendency to reduce faith to a religious worldview, modernity itself embodies a powerful kind of faith in its belief in nothing. Our post-Enlightenment faith in reason as a talisman for “real” knowledge, in the relativity of meaning, in empirical science as a dogmatic means to objective truth, and in the conviction that religion is an anachronistic and outdated mode of thinking all point to our uncritical confidence in a myth that has now become modern canon. David B. Hart describes this in the following way:

As modern men and women – to the degree that we are modern – we believe in nothing. This is not to say, I hasted to add, that we do not believe in anything; I mean, rather, that we hold an unshakable, if often unconscious, faith in the nothing, or in nothingness as such. It is this in which we place our trust, upon which we venture our souls, and onto which we project the values by which we measure the meaningfulness of our lives. Or, to phrase the matter more simply and starkly, our religion is one of very comfortable nihilism.[5]

As modern individuals, many of us are unaware what this “nihilism” actually entails, given our lack of understanding regarding the historical, cultural, and intellectual roots that comprise our modern perspective. This lack of awareness is reflected in the superficiality of nearly every so-called contemporary “Satanic” or left-hand path tradition, and is additionally operative in the Order of Nine Angles. David Hart elaborates on what this entails in a powerful way:

We live in an age whose chief moral value has been determined, by overwhelming consensus, to be the absolute liberty of personal volition, the power of each of us to choose what he or she believes, wants, needs, or must possess; our culturally most persuasive models of human freedom are unambiguously voluntarist and, in a rather debased and degraded way Promethean; the will, we believe, is sovereign because unpromised, free because spontaneous, and this is the highest good. And a society that believes this must, at least implicitly, embrace and subtly advocate a particular moral metaphysics: the unreality of any ‘value’ higher than choice, or of any transcendent Good ordering desire towards a higher end. Desire is free to propose, seize, accept or reject, want or not want – but not to obey. Society must thus be secured against the intrusions of the Good, or of God, so that its citizens may determine their own lives by the choices they make from a universe of morally indifferent but variably desirable ends, unencumbered by any prior grammar of obligation or value … Hence the liberties that permit one to purchase lavender bed clothes, to gaze fervently at pornography, to become a Unitarian, to market popular celebrations of brutal violence, or to destroy one’s unborn child are all equally intrinsically “good” because all are expressions of an inalienable freedom of choice. But, of course, if the will determines itself only in and through such choices, free from any prevenient natural order, then it too is in itself nothing. And so, at the end of modernity, each of us who is true to the times stands facing not God, or the gods, or the Good beyond beings, but an abyss, over which presides the empty, inviolable authority of the individual will, whose impulses and decisions are their own moral index.[6]

In its emphasis on its own moral index, its advocacy of precisely this kind of “inviolable authority of the individual will,”[7] its emphasis on extremism as a substitution for meaninglessness or “nothingness,” its dogmatic weariness of all things “abstract” at the expense of long-term practical strategy, and in the erroneous substitution of brutal violence for its muliebral virtues of compassion and empathy due to an avalanche of misinterpretation on the part of its associates, the Order of Nine Angles has not just become mundane; it has become distinctively modern.

This is nothing new. In fact, this lack of awareness regarding the roots and pitfalls of our modern perspective is operative in nearly every contemporary “Satanic” and left-hand path tradition, rendering the majority of them inoperative. We saw this years ago in the Church of Satan, as the death throes of LaVey’s naturalistic animism substituted the mystery of Satan for hedonistic atheism in the form of a voluntarist symbol. We saw this again in the Temple of Set, who, in positing Set as an “isolate intelligence,” failed at the outset to understand or account for the significance of Edmund Husserl’s phenomenological dissolving of the traditional distinction between subject and object, both as a response to the long-standing problem of the self-contained Cartesian subject and as an important part of his theory of intersubjectivity and temporality.[8] (Far from a trivial theoretical issue, this point calls into question the entire epistemological framework of the Temple of Set.) And we see this currently in contemporary groups like the Dragon Rouge, who, despite their motivations to establish a trail along the narrative of truth, nevertheless fall victim to a hidden reductionism in their attempt to reconcile their magickal system with a modern perspective.

That so many groups, traditions, and initiatory orders get this wrong at even the most basic level points to the urgency with which we need to correct this tendency within the Order of Nine Angles. In the last decade, we have seen a shift from that tendency toward one of misunderstanding, misinterpretation, bigotry, infighting, extremism, racism, prejudice, and violence. Less and less, we see a grappling with the ideas that have shaped the modern world, let alone a critical examination of the ideas that now threaten the extermination of the ONA as a tradition that barely managed to live out the twentieth century. Nothing new or worthwhile can be offered by a tradition that is not aware of its own perspective, nor can it rightly be called a “tradition.” The Order of Nine Angles is sadly no exception.

Despite these bleak prospects, there is hope. But before we can correct the mistakes of the past, it will be necessary to first critically examine the perspective that comprises the modern world. Only then will it be possible to collectively renegotiate the direction and context of the ONA as a tradition located squarely within modernity, despite its ancient influences and claims to the contrary.

With this, I return to my discussion of the aforesaid seminar with my former Harvard professor. The lens of interpretation we used to examine modernity’s place in the context of the Western tradition involved many important texts and thinkers. The one that left the deepest impression on me, however, was Richard Tarnas’ seminal work, The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas That Have Shaped Our World View. This text eloquently surveys the ideas that shaped the Western tradition, beginning with the ancient Greeks and moving through post-modernity. On the cover of the 1991 Ballantine Books edition, Joseph Campbell describes the text as, “The most lucid and concise presentation I have read, of the grand lines of what every student should know about the history of Western thought. The writing is elegant and carries the reader with the momentum of a novel … It is really a noble performance.”[9]

Whether in The Passion of the Western Mind, his later work Cosmos and Psyche, or in his November 2007 lecture on The Art of Writing at the Pacifica Graduate Institute,[10] Tarnas has had a powerful influence on my own thinking and writing. Like my former professor, Tarnas was a Harvard graduate in addition to being the previous director of programs at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. His understanding of the Western intellectual tradition is comprehensive, deep, and unrivaled in most academic circles.

Though Tarnas has nothing to do with the Order of Nine Angles (and in fact would be appalled at being mentioned in the context of the ONA), his work provides a foundation for coming to terms with modernity as a necessary lens through which to view the ONA. With that in mind, the following lectures provide an introductory overview to some of the ideas covered in his texts.

1. “The Evolution of Consciousness from the Primal to the Postmodern”

This brief lecture provides a concise overview of Tarnas’ distinction between what he terms the primal worldview and the modern worldview in Cosmos and Psyche.[11] An article that I have been recently developing concerns the way the Order of Nine Angles attempts to restore the primal worldview against modernity; though whether it can and will be successful in this largely depends on whether it can come to terms with its place within the modern perspective.

2. “A Brief History of Western Thought, part 4 of 5”

This lecture addresses the post-modern, picking up where the previous lecture leaves off. Both lectures segue into the important post-secular examination of disenchantment, which connects to my above discussion about the role of faith and reason in modernity.

On a personal level, I will say that a post-secular lens of faith illuminated more depth and meaning with respect to what Satanism really is than did my two decades of committed Satanic practice through contemporary left-hand path groups claiming that title. In my experience, the ONA touches on that deeper post-secular sense of the Satanic in its broader and beautiful spectrum of the sinister and sinister-numinous. However, much work needs to be done before the ONA will be equipped to address this. Part of that work will involve an understanding of the post-secular context of disenchantment, which is what the next lecture addresses.

3. “Disenchantment, Misenchantment, and Re-Enchantment”

Tarnas’ overview of the post-secular topic of disenchantment in the introduction of this lecture is an excellent introduction to the topic. This examination helps deepen the context of modernity in terms of the relation between the primal and modern worldviews – a relation that the ONA attempts to address.

4. “The Great Initiation”

This final lecture provides an additional overview of some of the aforesaid modern phenomena within an initiatory context. In addition to other relevant points, Tarnas’ account of the relation between the masculine and the feminine in terms of the astrological context of the sun and moon can deepen the ONA’s explication of the masculous and the muliebral at the core of its philosophy.

In closing, two points are worth emphasizing with respect to the final lecture listed above on “The Great Initiation.” The first concerns the way in which Tarnas’ characterization of modernity equally applies to the current climate of the Order of Nine Angles; and this is no coincidence, given what I have said above. Here, Tarnas quotes Woody Allen, whose comments highlight a tension that the ONA has been facing for over a decade (and now more than ever). Tarnas says the following:

The New York Jewish philosopher Woody Allen put his finger on this with his customary Schopenhauer-like clarity … in a speech he gave to the graduates some time ago: “More than at any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other [path], to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly. I speak, by the way, not with any sense of futility, but with a panicky conviction of the absolute meaninglessness of existence which could easily be misinterpreted as pessimism. It is not. It is merely a healthy concern for the predicament of modern man.”[12]

The second point worth emphasizing is a quote Tarnas cites from Jung’s The Undiscovered Self. In addition to characterizing modernity, the following comments by Jung find a powerful voice in the current struggle of the ONA. As a meditation on what I have written in this article, I will end with this quote:

[A] mood of universal destruction and renewal … has set its mark on our age. This mood makes itself felt everywhere, politically, socially, and philosophically. We are living in what the Greeks called the καιρός – the right moment – for a “metamorphosis of the gods,” of the fundamental principles and symbols. This peculiarity of our time, which is certainly not of our conscious choosing, is the expression of the unconscious man within us who is changing. Coming generations will have to take account of this momentous transformation if humanity is not to destroy itself through the might of its own technology and science.[13]

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
May 4, 2022

NOTES

[1] For more information on the significance of this painting and why Richard Tarnas chose it for the cover of The Passion of the Western Mind, see 4:21 of the following lecture: https://youtu.be/2B3zm8R0dEo?t=261

[2] The phrase “modern man believes in nothing” was inspired by David B. Hart, “On Being Modern,” First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life (October 2003).

[3] Wilfred Cantwell Smith, Faith and Belief: The Difference between Them (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 1998), 129.

[4] Van Austin Harvey, “Faith,” in A Handbook of Theological Terms (New York: Macmillan, 1964).

[5] Hart, “On Being Modern,” 47.

[6] Ibid.

[7] In fact, the over-emphasis on the authority of individual judgment without any critical examination of the historical and intellectual context of modernity has given rise to a democratizing of individual opinion, thereby mistaking it for knowledge. In some respects, the need to critically examine the ideas that have shaped our modern perspective are condemned as an “abstraction” rather than being recognized as an attempt to reconcile our daily mode of operation at the most practical level. This has done great harm in the ONA as the need for this critical examination has shifted to ruthless and vacant extremism in light of the substitution of opinion for knowledge, resting on a gross misunderstanding of what the ONA actually is.

[8] Interestingly, I recall Michael Aquino himself acknowledging his lack of understanding regarding Husserl’s philosophy on a 600 Club forum post many years ago. I have not since been able to locate that post since the site closed down, but it appeared to be authored by him. Nevertheless, I sensed this fatal flaw at a young age, given that much of the Temple of Set’s philosophy rests on a metaphysical distinction between subject and object – a distinction phenomenology largely did away with in the early twentieth century. In some respects, the ONA’s distinction between “acausal” and “causal” risks a similar danger; and though I will not elaborate further here, it is a topic that I may investigate in the future. Regardless, it is something to be aware of, particularly in the dogmatic and often uncritical repetition of such terms on the part of the ONA’s associates.

[9] Richard Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas that Have Shaped Our World View (New York: Ballantine Books, 1991).

[10] This all-day workshop was recorded and previously available on DVD by Depth Video. See Richard Tarans, “The Art of Writing: An All-Day Workshop Presented Nov. 17, 2007 at the Pacifica Graduate Institute” (Santa Barbara, CA: Depth Video, 2007). The description on the rear of the DVD summarizes the workshop as follows:

This landmark workshop, the fruit of 30 years of writing and teaching, was given before a sold-out audience at the Pacifica Graduate Institute in November 2007. In these lectures, Richard Tarnas provides an in-depth look at writing not just as an intellectual or artistic discipline, but as a spiritual path. Because we live in a time of extraordinary urgency, when we must contemplate the future of the Earth community, it is essential that those with relevant information speak and be heard, received, and understood. Writing in the service of such a goal involves the development of certain skills, disciplines, and knowledge, as well as other less tangible but perhaps even more important capacities. These lectures illuminate the writer’s path with both practical tips and a larger vision of the writer’s noble calling.

[11] See, for example, Richard Tarnas, “Forging the Self, Disenchanting the World,” in Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View (New York: Viking, 2006).

[12] Tarnas appears to be referencing Woody Allen, “My Speech to the Graduates,” New York Times, August 10, 1979, https://www.nytimes.com/1979/08/10/archives/my-speech-to-the-graduates.html

[13] Carl Jung, The Undiscovered Self, trans. R.F.C. Hull, rev. ed. (1990; repr., Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010), 60.


Contemplation, Logos, and Faith: The Role of the Vita Contemplativa in the Politics of the Order of Nine Angles

Posted: March 14th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Culture, David Myatt, Fenrir, Inner ONA, Islam, News, O9A, O9A Nine Angles, Occultism, Order of Nine Angles, Order of the Nine Angles, paganism, Politics, The Sinister Tradition, The Sinisterly Numinous Tradition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Contemplation, Logos, and Faith: The Role of the Vita Contemplativa in the Politics of the Order of Nine Angles

What follows is a draft of an article for inclusion in the upcoming edition of Fenrir on the subject of politics and extremism in the Order of Nine Angles. While the upcoming edition explicitly moves away from politics and extremism, the article attempts to clarify what a “movement away” involves. In unveiling some of the deeper Hellenic influences at the ONA’s roots and examining the way these inform the relation between action and contemplation, it is hoped that the content presented here will impart a new perspective on a very old dialogue, in turn opening new lines of communication and inspiring a few individuals along the way.

The Death of Socrates

– Jacques-Louis David, The Death of Socrates, 1787

Contemplation, Logos, and Faith: The Role of the Vita Contemplativa in the Politics of the Order of Nine Angles

[Posted here: https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/03/18/contemplation-logos-faith-o9a/]

The upcoming edition of Fenrir’s movement away from extremism and politics marks a return to the ONA’s roots in esotericism and scholarship – esotericism with respect to the hidden nature of experiences attainable through this tradition, and scholarship with respect to both the Aristotelian role “for contemplation of a larger order as something divine in us” [1] and the ancient Hellenic role of the vita contemplativa[2] or the contemplative life. While the ONA has roots in extremism and politics, it may be helpful to clarify what is meant by Fenrir’s “movement away” from these in relation to the lesser-known Greco-Hellenic influences that form a large part of the ONA’s foundation.

Contemplation played an important role in the ancient Hellenic world. While many historical shifts occurred during that time, one of particular significance was the shift from the vita activa or active life to the vita contemplativa or contemplative life. Hannah Arendt, a notable student of Heidegger,[3] analyzes these in detail in her influential work, The Human Condition. She describes how the three activities of the vita activa – labor, work, and action, respectively – have specific conditions and contexts. Arendt notes that the condition of labor is nature, whose domain has to do with providing the necessities of life. The condition of work is world or worldliness, which contrasts with labor in terms of the human-made things it pertains to and carries a sense of artificiality. (Labor, by contrast, concerns the phenomena of nature.) For Arendt, labor in relation to nature illustrates our relation to other animals, whereas work in relation to worldliness is distinctively human.

Action as the third activity of the vita activa takes on a special significance. Arendt identifies action as the prerogative of the human being, where the condition of action is plurality. For Arendt, “[p]lurality is the condition of human action because we are all the same, that is, human, in such a way that nobody is ever the same as anyone else who ever lived, lives, or will live.”[4] Arendt draws our attention to the fact “that men, not Man, live on the earth and inhabit the world,”[5] where action is “the only activity that goes on directly between men without the intermediary of things or matter.”[6] Action is thus important in several respects: it “has the closest connection with the human condition of natality”[7] insofar as it pertains to the way birth brings with it the potential for what is new; natality in relation to action has some bearing on Arendt’s discussion of mortality; and – most importantly for our purposes – action is political in nature and is connected closely to the domain of the political.[8]

Through a major historical shift that marked “perhaps the most momentous of the spiritual consequences of the discoveries of the modern age,”[9] Arendt notes how action and the political were overtaken by the vita contemplativa, the contemplative life. As the highest and purest type of action, it became the highest rung of human activity, and this lasted for some time. The trial of Socrates in ancient Greece played an important role in this shift,[10] where philosophers began to distance themselves from and distrust the political following the execution of Socrates. On this point, it is important to note that the primacy of contemplation did not equate to the primacy of thought over political action, as Arendt makes a clear distinction between contemplation and thought.[11]

Arendt observes that “the enormous superiority of contemplation over activity of any kind, action not excluded, is not Christian in origin.”[12] Contemplation can be found, for example, “in Plato’s political philosophy … [and in] Aristotle’s … articulation of the different ways of life … [which is] clearly guided by the ideal of contemplation (theōria).”[13] She describes how the philosophers of the ancient Greek world added “freedom and surcease from political activity (skholē)”[14] to the “ancient freedom from the necessities of life and from the compulsion by others,”[15] whereby the “later Christian claim to be free from entanglement in worldly affairs, from all the business of this world, was preceded by and originated in the philosophic apolitia of late antiquity.”[16] Thus, “[w]hat had been demanded only by the few was now considered to be a right of all.”[17] In this, we find a close parallel to what David Myatt, in “Classical Paganism and the Christian Ethos,” refers to as an “ancient paganus spirituality,” or “paganus weltanschauung” present in the Greco-Roman worldview.[18] From Arendt’s analysis, we find a clue and possible answer to Myatt’s question, “Is the fundamental difference between such a paganus spirituality and Christianity (past and present) simply the difference between λόγος (logos) understood as ‘reason’ and λόγος understood as faith and belief and thus as the Word of God?”[19] As we have seen, the difference rests heavily on the shift from the vita activa to the vita contemplativa in the ancient Greek world, where contemplation becomes the highest human activity. Understanding this shift may thus help us better understand the complex relation between the ancient Greeks and Christianity, and thus between logos and faith.

As a more substantive response to Myatt, I will note that Pope Benedict XVI addressed this very question – the relation between logos and faith – in his September 2006 address at the University of Regensburg, entitled “Faith, Reason and the University: Memories and Reflections.”[20] The Pope states that “[t]he encounter between the Biblical message and Greek thought did not happen by chance.”[21] From the vision of Saint Paul, for example, “who saw the roads to Asia barred and in a dream saw a Macedonian man plead with him: ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us!’,”[22] we find a line of interpretation that points to the necessity of a “rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek inquiry.”[23] Though in the late Middle Ages there is evidence of certain theological trends “which would sunder this synthesis between the Greek spirit and the Christian spirit,”[24] the dialogue between the ancient Greeks and the early Christians – and thus between faith and reason – was more than a conversation: it took place as a kind of communion, one that has had a lasting influence on the modern world.[25] In fact, the “dehellenization” of the Christian worldview did not emerge until the sixteenth century with the “postulates of the Reformation,”[26] where Reformers were responding to a system of scholastic theology that appeared as “an alien system of thought” – one where “faith no longer appeared as a living historical Word but as one element of an overarching philosophical system.”[27] This was in contrast to the principle of sola scriptura, which “sought faith in its pure, primordial form, as originally found in the biblical Word.”[28] Even after the dehellenization of the Reformation, we find the convergence between the ancient Greeks and Christianity carried through the Enlightenment and into the modern world as a powerful impulse. Immanuel Kant, one of the most important thinkers in Western history, “stated that he needed to set thinking aside in order to make room for faith,” where he “anchored faith exclusively in practical reason, denying it access to reality as a whole.”[29]

In response to Myatt’s question then, we find that the complex relation between faith and reason has a similarly complex history with respect to the ancient Greek worldview and Christianity. In that history, the demarcation between logos as reason and logos as faith becomes blurred, which undermines its role in distinguishing the ancient Greek worldview from its Christian counterpart. On this point, Pope Benedict XVI says the following:

[D]espite the bitter conflict with those Hellenistic rulers who sought to accommodate it forcibly to the customs and idolatrous cult of the Greeks, biblical faith, in the Hellenistic period, encountered the best of Greek thought at a deep level, resulting in a mutual enrichment evident especially in the later wisdom literature. Today we know that the Greek translation of the Old Testament produced at Alexandria – the Septuagint – is more than a simple (and in that sense really less than satisfactory) translation of the Hebrew text: it is an independent textual witness and a distinct and important step in the history of revelation, one which brought about this encounter in a way that was decisive for the birth and spread of Christianity. A profound encounter of faith and reason is taking place here, an encounter between genuine enlightenment and religion. From the very heart of Christian faith and, at the same time, the heart of Greek thought now joined to faith, Manuel II [Paleologus] was able to say: Not to act “with logos” is contrary to God’s nature.[30]

Thus, in many respects the ONA is a response to a very old and long-standing dialogue between faith and reason, directed through the ancient Hellenic role of the vita contemplativa as the highest human activity, one that directly informs action. To return to the aforesaid question concerning a “movement away” from the ONA’s roots in extremism and politics with respect to Fenrir, it should be noted that this emphasis on contemplation is not meant to replace the three activities of the vita activa; it is meant to inform them by restoring a direct line of communication between how the transformative and ecstatic experiences of the ONA – such as those catalyzed by the Grade Rituals of the Seven-Fold Way – shape the way we inhabit and interact with the world.[31] With respect to the ONA, contemplation is specifically meant to inform plurality as the condition of action, where plurality and action also inform contemplation. Attempting to exclude one over the other is to misunderstand this relation, which sadly continues to occur both within the ONA and by its opponents. Insofar as action as the condition for plurality is political, so too are the ONA and Fenrir in this respect. However, Fenrir’s “movement away” from politics concerns a movement away from the substitution of action for contemplation, which involves a breakdown of the relation between the vita activa and the vita contemplativa. We find this breakdown in almost every major socio-political outlet in the world, which fail to take this complex historical shift into account – a shift that has made possible various developments in the modern world.

With respect to Fenrir’s movement away from extremism, Pope Benedict XVI’s comments regarding the topic of violent religious conversion ring true here. In a dialogue between “the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam,”[32] the Pope recounts how:

The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. “God,” he says, “is not pleased by blood – and not acting reasonably (σὺν λόγω) is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats… To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death…”[33]

In closing, one should recall that Fenrir remains – and will remain for the foreseeable future – a journal of Satanism and the Sinister; and this should, at the very least, give one pause in considering how to interpret what has been said here: that the outer boundaries demarcating the true nature of the Order of Nine Angles are deeply hidden, complex, and discoverable only through years of difficult ordeals, careful navigation, and – most importantly – contemplation informed by plurality and action. The upcoming edition’s underlying themes of alterity, empathy, and practical sinister magick speak to this in a powerful way.

Home! and with them are gone
The hues they gazed on and the tones they heard;
Life’s beauty and life’s melody: — alone
Broods o’er the desolate void, the lifeless word;
Yet rescued from time’s deluge, still they throng
Unseen the Pindus they were wont to cherish:
All, that which gains immortal life in song,
To mortal life must perish!
– Friedrich Schiller, “The Gods of Greece”

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
Sun in Pisces, March 13, 2022
2775 ab urbe condita
 

NOTES

[1] Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007), 27.

[2] Hannah Arendt identifies the vita contemplativa with the ancient Greek bios theōrētikos. See Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, 2nd ed. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1958), 14. Regarding the role of contemplation in the ancient Greek world, Arendt characterizes it as follows: “and the life of the philosopher devoted to inquiry into, and contemplation of, things eternal, whose everlasting beauty can neither be brought about through the producing interference of man nor be changed through his consumption of them.” Arendt, Human Condition, 13.

[3] Hannah Arendt’s history with Heidegger is complex and will not be explored here. See, for example, Antonia Grunenberg, Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger: History of Love, trans. Peg Birmingham, Kristina Lebedeva, and Elizabeth von Witzke Birmingham (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2017). What is important for our purposes is that in addition to having studied under him directly, Heidegger had a profound influence on Arendt’s thought. Lewis and Sandra Hinchman note, for example, that “[r]eading Arendt’s few comments on Heidegger, one would scarcely imagine what a vast, pervasive influence he had upon her.” They add that “[t]he stamp of Heideggerian thinking is especially noticeable in three elements of Arendt’s work: the status of her elaborate system of distinctions and concepts, her approach to language, and her interpretation of action as self-revelation.” Lewis P. Hinchman and Sandra K. Hinchman, “In Heidegger’s Shadow: Hannah Arendt’s Phenomenological Humanism,” The Review of Politics 46, no. 2 (April 1984): 196.

[4] Arendt, Human Condition, 8.

[5] Ibid., 7.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid., 9.

[8] This is consistent with the fact that the condition of action is plurality, since it is the plurality of human beings that constitutes the domain of the political.

[9] Arendt, Human Condition, 289. The full quote is as follows:

Perhaps the most momentous of the spiritual consequences of the discoveries of the modern age and, at the same time, the only one that could not have been avoided, since it followed closely upon the discovery of the Archimedean point and the concomitant rise of Cartesian doubt, has been the reversal of the hierarchical order between the vita contemplativa and the vita activa.

[10] See Arendt, Human Condition, 12: “The term vita activa is loaded and overloaded with tradition. It is as old as (but not older than) our tradition of political thought. And this tradition, far from comprehending and conceptualizing all the political experiences of Western mankind, grew out of a specific historical constellation: the trial of Socrates and the conflict between the philosopher and the polis.”

[11] Arendt does not address contemplation at length in The Human Condition, as she is interested in the historical shifts that have to do with labor, work, and action. However, regarding the shift from the vita activa to the vita contemplativa, in addition to the difference between contemplation and thought, the following comments may be helpful:

With the disappearance of the ancient city-state—Augustine seems to have been the last to know at least what it once meant to be a citizen—the term vita activa lost its specifically political meaning and denoted all kinds of active engagement in the things of this world. To be sure, it does not follow that work and labor had risen in the hierarchy of human activities and were now equal in dignity with a life devoted to politics. It was, rather, the other way round: action was now also reckoned among the necessities of earthly life, so that contemplation (the bios theōrētikos, translated into the vita contemplativa) was left as the only truly free way of life. (Arendt, The Human Condition, 14)

[12] Arendt, Human Condition, 14.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid., 14-15.

[17] Ibid., 15.

[18] David Myatt, “Introduction,” in “Classical Paganism and the Christian Ethos,” 2nd ed. (self-pub., 2017).

[19] Myatt, “Introduction.”

[20] See Pope Benedict XVI, “Faith, Reason and the University: Memories and Reflections” (speech, Aula Magna of the University of Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany, September 12, 2006). A transcript of the speech can be found at www.vatican.va.

[21] Pope Benedict XVI, “Faith.” Interestingly, Pope Benedict XVI also addresses faith and reason with respect to the relation between Christianity and Islam. Recalling part of a dialogue carried on “by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam,” he notes “the truth of both,” adding that:

It was presumably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than those of his Persian interlocutor. The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur’an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship between – as they were called – three “Laws” or “rules of life”: the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur’an.

[22] Cf. Acts 16:6-10

[23] Pope Benedict XVI, “Faith.”

[24] Ibid.

[25] With respect to the convergence between the ancient Greek world and Christianity, Pope Benedict XVI observes the following:

This inner rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry was an event of decisive importance, not only from the standpoint of the history of religions, but also from that of world history – it is an event which concerns us even today. Given this convergence, it is not surprising that Christianity, despite its origins and some significant developments in the East, finally took on its historically decisive character in Europe. We can also express this the other way around: this convergence [between the ancient Greek world and Christianity], with the subsequent addition of the Roman heritage, created Europe and remains the foundation of what can rightly be called Europe. (Pope Benedict XVI, “Faith”)

[26] Ibid.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid.

[31] The question of how we interact with others in the world, particularly with respect to the relation between plurality, action, and community, is a theme relevant to my forthcoming article for the upcoming edition of Fenrir, which concerns alterity (our relation to the other).

[32] Pope Benedict XVI, “Faith.” The Pope notes that this dialogue may have occurred in 1391, “in the winter barracks near Ankara.”

[33] Ibid.


Wonder, Alterity, and the Immemorial as Devotional Candor in the ONA

Posted: March 10th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Acausal Theory, Alchemy, David Myatt, Fenrir, Inner ONA, O9A, O9A Nine Angles, Occultism, Order of Nine Angles, The Sinister Tradition, The Sinisterly Numinous Tradition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Wonder, Alterity, and the Immemorial as Devotional Candor in the ONA

Visitation

– Jacopo da Pontormo, Visitation, c. 1528-1529

Wonder, Alterity, and the Immemorial as Devotional Candor in the ONA

[Posted here: https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/03/18/wonder-alterity-and-the-immemorial-as-devotional-candor-in-the-ona/]

Much like the Order of Nine Angles, the ideas that have shaped the Western tradition are characterized by what Aristotle identified as wonder. This sense of dispositional awe in the face of an incomprehensible mystery – what Rudolf Otto, in one of the most widely read German theological works of the twentieth century,[1] famously characterized as mysterium tremendum et fascinans, “a mystery that inspires dread and fascination simultaneously”[2] ­­– marks an enduring response to the way we inhabit and orient ourselves in the world.

This “solitary and silent ‘residence’ of wonder”[3] finds shelter in a wide history of Western thought. In the Theaetetus, Plato describes wonder (thaumazein) “as the beginning or archê of philosophy.”[4] Aristotle describes this with respect to the way we begin (archontai) by wondering (thaumazein) whether things are as they seem.[5] We find these “beginnings” reiterated powerfully in the Renaissance Platonists, who were “[h]eirs to late ancient and medieval Christianity” and stressed “the epistemological or ontological status of miracles, thus exploring the cognitive side of amazement and the metaphysical side of any sort of spiritual intervention”;[6] in works of the early thirteenth century, such as those of the English nobleman Gervase of Tilbury, who outlined “three categories of wonderful things”;[7] through the exploration of magic in the Middle Ages and early modern period as an “enquiry into the wonderful”;[8] and in many other major Western figures, such as Plotinus, St. Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Pascal, Thomas Hobbes, John Milton, Malebranche, Spinoza, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Kant. In fact, it was Kant who famously remarked how two things fill the mind with wonder: the starry sky above and the moral law within.[9]

All of these explorations of wonder share in common an “attitudinal change which occurred in the European history of ideas,” one in which “a radically new way of approaching reality evolved.”[10] In a similar spirit, we are witnessing a radical new way of approaching reality in terms of the ONA’s evolution. In addition to an attitudinal change in the ideas that have shaped the tradition, one can sense a change in the climate that informs the ONA’s praxis. From the flashpoint of the “noise,”[11] gossip, and interpersonal infighting that have occurred for decades at its outskirts, we now find reflected in its collective exoskeleton what has always remained hidden in its esoteric heart: a relationality or plurality that becomes “visible” when this sense of wonder comports one utterly beyond rational comprehension, one that is acknowledged in our fundamental relation to the other. In the ONA, this relation is embodied in transformative action through empathy; and in such a way that it cannot be reduced to the self or comprehension.[12]

Through wonder and in the face of modernity, the ONA attempts to explore “what was lost in the destruction of our capability to be astonished and perplexed.”[13] As Jacques Taminiaux notes, this wonder or thaumazein is enduring,[14] driving the way the ONA’s philosophy informs its praxis and how this carries over into concrete experience. As one embarks on a journey leading to radical transformation with respect to the incomprehensible alterity or otherness of the world, one discovers what David Myatt, in reference to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, cites as a “wordless-awareness,” which he connects to empathy in the Corpus Hermeticum.[15] Myatt’s point regarding “a mortal apprehension that Being, and certain beings, are not or cannot be subject to, nor explainable, in terms of causality”[16] is analogous to the fact that our fundamental relation to the other through empathy cannot be reduced to comprehension. Rather than comprehended or understood, it is acknowledged or “apprehended” through the practice of simple but difficult primordial experiences leading to transformation. Thus – and this point is sometimes overlooked – in addition to its philosophy, the ONA also requires practice.

As that which directs this wordless-awareness in relation to empathy as a fundamental relation to the other, we find that wonder is not just enduring but what Jean-Luc Nancy calls the immemorial: a kind of excess or overflowing that resists memorialization or being made into a monument. As a vital collective presence spanning a plethora of ancient and modern traditions, the ONA exceeds itself, having neither definitive leadership nor singular authority. In some respects, its enduring wonder “never commemorates”[17] – it is not a monument to the past, nor does it memorialize. And yet, what Nancy says of the immemorial equally applies to the ONA from its past to present day: it is “what is infinitely ancient and thus definitively present.”[18] In its cathartic practice and tragic revelation, the ONA speaks to something timeless and yet concretely present in the world. The mysteries it promises are systematically attainable through practical action. And while they remain intimately hidden and out of reach as an irreducible opacity – something ungraspable, even to the self – they are nevertheless not beyond the world but “present right here.”[19] In the value of what it reveals, in its timeless mystery, and in its solemn yet enduring visitation, the ONA is “what is never to be seen or said, but toward which one does not cease to move – and that is the immemorial.”[20] In much the same way that the immemorial frees itself from memorialization through its own excess, so too does wonder free the ONA from becoming yet another internet relic, one crystalized in history as a blueprint for what could have been, lost to future generations as a curious irrelevance. With the changing seasons and as we look from earth to sky for guidance, I remain optimistic that what Nancy says of the immemorial may serve as a kind of ongoing augury for the future of the ONA: “[that it is] always to come again like the return of a past more ancient than any past, its visitation always reprised in a movement in which the surface itself rises up, billowing and leaping out.”[21] Whether this “billowing and leaping out” will prove to be a hex or a haruspex remains to be seen.

In closing, I would like to note that it is this spirit of wonder that will motivate the upcoming and future editions of Fenrir, the ONA’s journal of Satanism and the Sinister. This article will be published in slightly revised form in the upcoming edition and is meant to serve as an introduction to some of the themes that will be addressed in more detail there – themes such as alterity, empathy, and sinister magick. As editor of the journal, I should also note that I have an important announcement, which will be revealed in the very near future. I would like to conclude with an excerpt from a message I recently wrote to a friend and well-known ONA associate, one that I think will prove timely, relevant, and interesting for our best and brightest:

[…] whether running Fenrir or having a wide influence on the ONA in a public capacity, one cannot let transparent emotions inform the opaque intentions motivating what others say. The ONA is beyond personal affectation or judgment, beyond you and I, beyond even its founders. Over the last decade of involvement with the ONA and the Seven-Fold Way, I have witnessed some of the most painful and transformative experiences of my life shape something radically ineffable, melancholic, cathartic, serene. In that “something,” which is utterly intangible and yet directs everything we do, I found a presence worth dying for; and, more importantly, worth living for – authentically and with integrity. It is my hope that […] you see the value in devotional candor, in submitting to something beyond the self, something absolute and incomprehensible.

Four Witches

– Albrecht Dürer, The Four Witches, 1497

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
Moon in Gemini, March 9, 2022
2775 ab urbe condita

NOTES

[1] Todd A. Gooch, The Numinous and Modernity: An Interpretation of Rudolf Otto’s Philosophy of Religion (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2000), 1. The text referred to here is Otto’s Das Heilige: Über das Irrationale in der Idee des Göttlichen und sein Verhältnis zum Rationalen (1917), commonly known by its shortened English title, The Idea of the Holy.

[2] Ibid., 2.

[3] David Bollert, “The Wonder of the Philosopher and the Citizen: Plato, Aristotle, and Heidegger” (PhD diss., Boston College, 2005), 2.

[4] Ibid., 3. The reference to wonder in Plato’s Theaetetus occurs at 155c-d.

[5] Ibid., 93. See Aristotle’s Metaphysics, 983a12-13.

[6] Elisabeth Blum and Paul Richard Blum, “Wonder and Wondering in the Renaissance,” in Philosophy Begins in Wonder: An Introduction to Early Modern Philosophy, Theology and Science, ed. by Michael Funk Deckard and Péter Losonczi (Cambridge: James Clarke & Co, 2011), 1.

[7] Koen Vermeir, “Wonder, Magic, and Natural Philosophy: The Disenchantment Thesis Revisited,” in Philosophy Begins in Wonder, 45. These three categories are characterized by “things we consider unheard of,” sometimes through variations in nature, “at which we marvel”; by things whose cause is unknown and thus “inscrutable to us”; and by “customary experiences” that differ from others.

[8] Ibid., 51. Vermeir here lists two philosophers of this period with respect to the relation between magic and wonder: the Protestant philosopher Heinrich Alsted (1588-1638), who wrote that “magic is the art which is concerned with wondrous effects [apotelesmas], commonly known as incredible”; and the Jesuit scholar Gaspar Schott (1608-1666), who defined magic as “whatever is marvellous and goes beyond the sense and comprehension of the common man.”

[9] Dennis J. Schmidt, “Thank Goodness for the Atmosphere: Reflections on the Starry Sky and the Moral Law,” Research in Phenomenology 50 (2020), 370.

[10] Péter Losonczi and Michael Funk Deckard, “Introduction,” in Philosophy Begins in Wonder, xvii.

[11] Despite a few interesting ideas and an appetite for vital experience, I find Crowley’s writings and way of thinking problematic on a number of grounds. That said, something he wrote in Magick without Tears is relevant here: “You ask me what is, at the present time, the greatest obstacle to human progress. I answer in one word: NOISE.” Aleister Crowley, Magick without Tears, ed. Israel Regardie (St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 1973), 125. See chapter 14, “Noise.”

[12] Part of the mystery of this esoteric dynamic lies in the twofold sense in which the relation to the other arises from the ONA’s emphasis on the individual as a means to empathy, and how this acknowledgement actualizes itself at the level of transformative experience (which occurs individually but exceeds the individual).

[13] Losonczi and Deckard, “Introduction,” xxv.

[14] Bollert, “The Wonder of the Philosopher,” 3.

[15] David Myatt, “Chapter Two,” in “Classical Paganism and the Christian Ethos,” 2nd ed. (self-pub., 2017). See the section, “An Appreciation of Acausality” in addition to the subsequent section, “A Mortal Wordless-Awareness.” The reference here is specifically to “the activity of theos … [as] a wordless-awareness.” His reference to empathy in connection to this worldless-awareness pertains to tractate VIII of the Corpus Hermeticum.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Jean-Luc Nancy, “Visitation: Of Christian Painting,” chap. 8 in The Ground of the Image, trans. Jeff Fort (New York: Fordham University Press, 2005), 108.

[18] Ibid., 116.

[19] Ibid., 109. On pp. 108-109 Nancy says: “On this side of or beyond the memorial, that is, beyond or on this side of the self and of what can be subjectivized: the hereafter or the other world (death, in that sense), not outside the world but present right here.”

[20] Ibid., 111.

[21] Ibid., 118.