Humility and Grace

Posted: September 17th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Alchemy, Culture, Current Affair, Fenrir, O9A, Occultism, Order of Nine Angles, paganism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Humility and Grace

Humility and Grace

By Nameless Therein

Reposted from Lux Lycaonis

Metamorphosis

– Salvador Dalí, Metamorphosis of Narcissus, 1937[1]

As we make our way into autumn, new changes bear old faces, reflected in the many moods of nature. As death makes way for life, change is all around. From the fallen tree to the dying leaf and the setting sun behind the clouds, we find mirrored in our own mood a shift at once familiar and new: a shift in season.

Things have been quiet in the ONA lately. Though autumn’s mark of silence can be felt, one can sense something else – a restlessness and exhaustion, a neutral disinterest and quiet anticipation, a dispirited silence from the need to be heard. Having experienced big changes in my own life recently, I have observed these qualities in myself over the last year, emerging in and through the psyche and receding into the unconscious like an ocean tide. I suspect others have found a similar canvas of emotion in themselves.

These qualities have concerned me. But as said changes in my life began to show signs of the death of many things I had trouble letting go of, what remains of these qualities has been cast into the open to be more closely examined and then discarded.

This is never a straightforward process. It can take years and sometimes a lifetime of patient, careful observation, work, and self-reflection. It requires a certain sensitivity, compassion, a level of humility, and what David Bentley Hart might term grace.[2] The quality that concerns me most, both in myself and in much of the ONA, is the need to be heard. I would like to share some thoughts on what this entails from a vantage point I believe now has some of the necessary space and silence to witness this tenacious quality begin to lose its hold. It is my hope that such observations might gently encourage others to identify, confront, and in time work to overcome this quality if and where present in themselves. As one may have discerned from my approach to the ONA, I think this is much more productive than castigating, japing, or attacking such individuals for a quality they may not even be aware of.

The Temptation to Be Heard

Much like the title of the Romanian nihilist Emil Cioran’s work The Temptation to Exist, there is a quality I would term the temptation to be heard. Though it is perfectly natural to want to be heard, acknowledged, and validated by one’s peers in some capacity, the emphasis on “temptation” points to a recurring spectrum of pathology commonly characterized by various degrees of compulsion. This quality can be characterized by an unhealthy need: the need for validation regarding one’s work or accomplishments, the need to be recognized as somehow different or unique from the rest of society, a hyper-sensitivity to what others think masked by a façade of false and callous indifference about the opinions of others, and an inflated sense of individuality regarding one’s importance within their societal niche. I emphasize “spectrum of pathology” because these characterizations can manifest in tangible or subtle ways depending on the psychological constitution of the individual. Such characterizations are sometimes visible in a person’s appearance, in their means of dealing with conflict and confrontation, in their ability to cope with stress, and in their way of interacting with others. When I say this is a recurring spectrum of pathology, I mean that it is both operative throughout the psyche and operative in a way that is rarely transparent or “visible” to the individual, who more or less takes its occurrence and existence for granted. Ultimately, this temptation rests on a need to control, whether as resistance to change beyond one’s control, a need to assert dominance out of a consistent lack of control in one’s past or present, or a resistance to being controlled, whether real or imagined.[3]

The temptation to be heard resembles certain unhealthy qualities in what Clarice of Nexion of Ur previously noted as an Enneagram Type Four personality. More to the point, I think Cioran characterizes this type of temptation accurately when he says that:

Certain peoples … are so haunted by themselves that they pose themselves as a unique problem: their development, singular at every point, compels them to fall back on their series of anomalies, of the miracle or the insignificance of their fate.[4]

The posing of the self as a unique problem to draw attention to, then inflated by an ongoing compulsion to do so – this lies at the heart of the temptation to be heard, in whatever shape or variety. We all fall victim to it from time to time, sometimes in subtle ways. In the ONA, it seems reasonable that such a private and personal quest of transformation, growth, and self-realization sometimes carries the need to share such experiences with others who may appreciate their value. But I think there is a difference between the need to convey meaningful experiences with others who might appreciate them, relate to them, and use them to guide their own experiences, and the looming, often hidden compulsion to continuously validate one’s identity in the eyes of others. The latter rests on creating the conditions for a “hidden war” with the other person in order to resist, and then attempt to control, their objectification or reification of the self.[5] The ongoing and recurrent compulsion to create those conditions in any form is what I am referring to here as “temptation”; and the “temptation to be heard” has to do with a compulsion to control the way one is objectified or reified by their peers by resisting that objectification in order to validate a distorted or inadequate sense of self.

Confusing Self-Immolation and Self-Esteem

The temptation to be heard can be thought of as a confusion between self-immolation and self-esteem. The former has to do with clearing a kind of opening for the unconscious and self to form a cohesive bridge across the psyche through the gradual but radical dissolving of the egoic resistance structures that attempt to control these processes. The latter has to do with how these forces in motion across and beyond the individual psyche manifest and then come to constitute an individual’s identity and sense of self-worth, both as an individual and in relation to others. Confusing one with the other can be disastrous, and many of us fall victim to this confusion at some point in our lives, myself included. The key, I think, is learning to identify certain hidden patterns and signs that briefly emerge into conscious experience in a variety of ways, much like a shapeshifter. This requires the cultivation of certain faculties such as empathy (the ability to identify the appearance of these patterns and signs in other people and vice versa), a heightened sensitivity (being attuned to those appearances as they emerge), and formal tools for studying these appearances (phenomenology, meditation, and various formal psychological models are a few examples). One can then take steps to trace the potential origins of these patterns and signs in the unconscious in order to slowly diminish their effects on our lives. The danger is letting these go unnoticed until the aforesaid confusion gives way to a need and that need to a temptation: commonly, the temptation to be heard.

The Harmony of Grace

Interestingly, that temptation can work the other way as well: when one identifies the temptation and gradually takes practical steps in the real world and in their life to diminish its hold on their psyche, on their identity, on their interpersonal relations, and on their family life, they may begin to see that temptation become merely a need. As that need itself diminishes its hold, it may become a healthy attunement toward others as a balanced desire to share meaningful experiences and ideas that can then shape their lives in a constructive way; or that need may disappear almost entirely, being replaced by a sort of wordless and outstretching contentment across one’s being, a tremulous and living epiphany of great grief and melancholy settled in the heart as a work of ongoing art, validated by the life lived and those it had an impact on, as one’s tragedy finally gives way to a comedy after so much pain, as the wounds of the past erect joy rather than misery from no longer needing to control or resist, as one loses desire for more things and possessions and finds they want for very little, having always been the source for everything they need – not as something self-contained, but as a living embodiment of nature’s many moods within the world. A harmony: their body and being have become a work of music. This is what I refer to here as “grace.”

Conflict, Struggle, Assimilation: The Final Harmony

Whatever the ONA was or is or shall be one day, it is precisely this kind of harmony that systems like the Seven-Fold Way aim to achieve. The simple acts of kindness at the heart of the ruthless spiritual predation found in the genuinely Satanic, the metamorphosis of the narcissist into a being of tremendous joy, the tensions of the flesh sculpted through powerful and pagan physical ordeals into spiritual transformation, ecstasis, and elation, the letting go of all desire into nocturnal love, the hidden sun, the Kingdom of Ends as an eternal beginning, the wisdom of falling, of letting go … I would go so far as to draw a connection between the harmony that results from this constructive movement away from the temptation to be heard and the spiritual harmony the Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis describes in relation to Christ’s temptation in The Last Temptation of Christ. In describing the tension between the flesh and the spirit, Kazantzakis says:

Every man partakes of the divine nature in both his spirit and his flesh. That is why the mystery of Christ is not simply a mystery for a particular creed: it is universal. The struggle between God and man breaks out in everyone, together with the longing for reconciliation. Most often this struggle is unconscious and short-lived. A weak soul does not have the endurance to resist the flesh for very long. It grows heavy, becomes flesh itself, and the contest ends. But among responsible men, men who keep their eyes riveted day and night upon the Supreme Duty, the conflict between flesh and spirit breaks out mercilessly and may last until death.

The stronger the soul and the flesh, the more fruitful the struggle and the richer the final harmony. God does not love weak souls and flabby flesh. The Spirit wants to have to wrestle with flesh which is strong and full of resistance. It is a carnivorous bird which is incessantly hungry; it eats flesh and, by assimilating it, makes it disappear.[6]

It is this conflict, struggle, and assimilation – under whatever name and through whatever esoteric framework – that I think the ONA has attempted enact, explore, and provide a rough-and-ready guide for individuals to achieve over the course of its history, all with an aim toward this final harmony. Exploring the means to achieve this harmony, and if unachievable learning to regulatively enhance it to the highest degree possible – that is a large part of what lies at the core of the ONA.[7]

Two Faces of the Same Passage

And so, over the course of many years and the last year in particular, I have come to realize the importance of the temptation to be heard as a test of self-honesty and a necessary rite of passage. Sadly, this test is one that many people continue to fail or refuse to take at all; one that I’ve failed – and continue to fail! – many times. But failing has helped to resolve an important disparity for me, one that I think is helpful for all of us to keep in mind: the disparity between the public face of the ONA on the one hand, and the movement toward the aforesaid final harmony on the other, one that goes on out of sight among a loose network of serious practitioners. In my opinion, the public face of the ONA was more or less meant to be a collocation of the experiences, observations, ideas, and techniques encountered or developed while working toward that final harmony by sincere and advanced practitioners of the tradition. That is my goal for the future of the Fenrir journal. In terms of the public face of the ONA as it currently stands, this goal has unfortunately been overshadowed by the temptation to be heard on the part of many individuals who, while bearing the right spirit of enthusiasm, perhaps have some work to do in diminishing the power of this temptation in their lives.

Conclusion: What the Future Holds

The real work toward this final harmony will continue to go on behind the scenes, either privately or in small groups of individuals bound by pacts of loyalty and committed self-sacrifice, pacts which make possible their patient progression into the difficult and shadowy landscape ahead. Meanwhile, the public face of the ONA will take on whatever organic form required to attract and deflect, bewitch and misdirect, or enchant and mislead a new generation of budding adepts, one brave enough to brave the elements and courageous enough to examine these dynamics in the world and in themselves: with humility, with grace, and with love.

Narcissus,
in his immobility,
absorbed by his reflection with the digestive slowness of carnivorous plants,
becomes invisible.
There remains of him only the hallucinatingly white oval of his head,
his head again more tender,
his head, chrysalis of hidden biological designs,
his head held up by the tips of the water’s fingers,
at the tips of the fingers
of the insensate hand,
of the terrible hand,
of the mortal hand
of his own reflection.
When that head slits
when that head splits
when that head bursts,
it will be the flower,
the new Narcissus,
Gala—my Narcissus

– Salvador Dalí’s accompanying poem to Metamorphosis of Narcissus

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
September 16, 2022

Notes

[1] “The ancient source of this subject is Ovid’s Metamorphosis (Book 3, lines 339-507). It tells of Narcissus, who upon seeing his own image reflected in a pool, so falls in love that he cannot look away. Eventually he vanishes and in his place is a ‘sweet flower, gold and white, the white around the gold.’” Beth Harris and Steven Zucker, “Salvador Dalí, Metamorphosis of Narcissus,” Smarthistory: The Center for Public Art History, accessed September 16, 2022, https://smarthistory.org/salvador-dali-metamorphosis-of-narcissus/.

[2] Hart offers the following insight on grace: “Christian theology taught from the first that the world was God’s creature in the most radically ontological sense: that it is called from nothingness, not out of any need on God’s part, but by grace.” David Bentley Hart, “Christ and Nothing,” First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, October 2003, https://www.firstthings.com/article/2003/10/christ-and-nothing.

[3] At a deeper ontological level, we can observe this need to control as an inability to accept our own mortality – a refusal to acknowledge that we will one day die, which is related to what Heidegger characterizes as the “inauthentic.” This can take the form of attempting to control death or resist being controlled by it. We find that impulse in many surface-level interpretations of religion, spirituality, and even in the ONA to some extent, with its recurrent emphasis on immortality.

[4] Emil Cioran, The Temptation to Exist, trans. Richard Howard (Paris: Librairie Gallimard, 1956; repr., Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 65. Citations refer to the University of Chicago Press edition.

[5] This is related to what Jean-Paul Sartre calls “the glance,” which is well-characterized in his play No Exit.

[6] Nikos Kazantzakis, “Prologue,” in The Last Temptation of Christ, trans. P. A. Bien (New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2015), 1-2.

[7] Over the course of intense Satanic devotion and practice throughout my life, I have found that this conflict, struggle, assimilation, and final harmony is also what lies, in part, at the heart of genuine Satanism. One may sense this, for example, in the potential relation between Vindex as opfer and the temptation of Christ so described. I should note, however, that this is a personal conclusion I have arrived at through my own experiences via the evolution of my own system of Satanism, one I suspect would not be widely accepted or possibly even acknowledged as “Satanism.”


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.