Pierre Grimes on “The Unity and Synchronicity of Meditation”

Posted: July 27th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Culture, Occultism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Pierre Grimes on “The Unity and Synchronicity of Meditation”

Socrates_Pio-Clementino_med

Reposted from Lux Lycaonis: https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/07/27/pierre-grimes-meditation/

During a long meditation session recently, I recalled a thinker who I thought may be of interest to some of you: a philosopher in the pre-Socratic and ancient Greek tradition named Pierre Grimes.

Once upon a time, Pierre Grimes gave a series of lectures at the Philosophical Research Society. The Philosophical Research Society was interestingly founded by the famous scholar and Freemason Manly Palmer Hall, who authored the “encyclopedic tome”[1] known as The Secret Teachings of All Ages.[2] Aside from having one of the largest wisdom-literature libraries in the world, PRS offers an interesting synthesis between Eastern and Western thought from a variety of traditions.

Pierre Grimes presents one such synthesis. He describes himself as a practitioner of “philosophical midwifery,” which derives from Plato’s dialogue the Theaetetus. Grimes notes that “Socrates refers to his art as midwifery because he assists in the delivery of men who are pregnant with either true ideas or false beliefs.” He adds that “Socrates calls it an art because it is the application of a knowledge that benefits the subject. It is a purely rational method of pursing questions, a dialectic, that uncovers false beliefs, traces them to their origins, and by understanding their roots and influence on one’s life — deflates their influence.”[3]

What I found interesting about Grimes’ approach was his use of Socratic dialectic as a mode of psychotherapy, which I haven’t seen before. The lecture I wanted to share exercises the dialectic with respect to deflating a compartmentalized false sense of self through formal meditation. Though a lot of Grimes’ lectures are worthwhile introductions to pre-Socratic, neo-Platonic, and ancient Greek philosophy generally (I particularly enjoyed this lecture on the obscure philosopher Proclus and this one on Plotinus, for example), the following lecture left an impression on me at a young age. Much like the work of Christopher Hyatt, this is one that I’ve returned to multiple times in my youth. One idea here that left an impression on me back then was the act of studying one’s tangents during a simple meditative exercise as one begins to drift into a daydream – how the narrative themes those tangents take reveal something about this compartmentalized false sense of self. Food for thought; and perhaps someone else viewing this will find something to digest.

Nameless Therein
July 27, 2022

[1] In the “Foreword” to the Diamond Jubilee Edition of this work, Henry L. Drake, the then vice president of the Philosophical Research Society, remarked how: “This volume reveals that the lore and legendry of the world, the scriptures and sacred books, and the great philosophical systems all tell the same story. Human ambition may produce the tyrant; divine aspiration will produce the adept. This then, seems to me to be the significant message of Manly P. Hall’s encyclopedic tome.” Manly Palmer Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages: An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy, Being an Interpretation of the Secret Teachings Concealed Within the Rituals, Allegories and Mysteries of All Ages, Diamond Jubilee ed. (1988; repr., Los Angeles: Philosophical Research Society, 2000), 2.

[2] In the “Preface” to the same edition and regarding the significance of this work, Manly Palmer Hall said the following:

I felt strongly moved to explore the problems of humanity, its origin and destiny, and I spent a number of quiet hours in the New York Public Library tracing the confused course of civilization. With a very few exceptions modern authorities downgraded all systems of idealistic philosophy and the deeper aspects of comparative religion. Translations of classical authors could differ greatly, but in most cases the noblest thoughts were eliminated or denigrated. Those more sincere authors whose knowledge of ancient languages was profound were never included as required reading, and scholarship was based largely upon the acceptance of a sterile materialism.

[…]

To avoid a future of war, crime, and bankruptcy, the individual must begin to plan his own destiny, and the best source of the necessary information comes to us through the writings of the ancients. We have tried to select the most useful and practical elements of classical idealism, combining them into a single volume. The greatest knowledge of all time should be available to the twentieth century not only in the one shilling editions of the Bohn Library in small type and shabby binding, but in a book that would be a monument, not merely a coffin.

It is our sincere hope that this book will endure into the twenty-first century and continue to make available the contents of countless books ad manuscripts that have been destroyed by the ravages of war. This volume is not devoted to my own opinions but is a tribute to the memories and labors of the noblest of mankind.

[3] “Pierre Grimes & Philosophical Midwifery” (website), The Noetic Society, Inc., last modified January 22, 2013, https://www.noeticsociety.org/pierre-grimes.


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.