The sixth (+1 day) anniversary of my first post with this project. An image that captures what I hope to keep producing…Doorways to mysterious places…
Archive for the ‘freemasonry’ Category
7 June, 2010, Paris, France
And so, what became of my peripatetic attempt to understand the Cathars? Well, fairly little. But perhaps I have come, as much as it’s possible, to understand all outsiders a bit better. So much of the human character tends towards the social — people want to succeed, in the sense they understand that word, within a given relational paradigm. To excel in the eyes of their peers, to be loved, admired, etc., etc…To, in essence, “fit in”.
But not everybody’s built that way. Some challenge the assumptions of their world as if by instinct. They are oft labeled “anarchists” but in truth they’re just outsiders. These were the Gnostics, who insisted on ideas outside the developing doctrine of the Roman church; a permutation of this view was witnessed with the Cathars, who wanted to live in peace in their mountain realm, inured to church and emerging state, more interested in eros and the ideals of romantic love, suspicious of the perfect deification of a clearly corrupt and flawed creation.
These were also the Knights Templar, who because of their battles with the French crown were forced to wall themselves up in Paris proper, before being scattered to the four winds by greedy nobles. I write this as I sit with my back to the old wall of the Templar enclosure, looking over the Templar Square (Carreau du Temple), now an old abandoned warehouse of sorts. The city seems so disinterested in doing anything here. Is it because all states know that clear and rigorous limits must be placed on any anarchic, independent, nominally organic form of social and cultural life? Lest it get out of hand? Is this why the managed, mechanized and controlled creation of “synthetic” life forms is such an abomination, an affront to the unyielding, unchained aspect of spirit, human or otherwise?
Earth, 2010; Huge megacorporations in cooperation with authoritarian governments control a docile, vain and hedonistic populace through overt power and subtle, insidious machinations. War is widespread and good for business, misunderstanding and hatred are universal, and environmental and social breakdown are proceeding apace.
Billionaires, industrialists, culture mavens, corrupt politicians, Fundamentalist radicals, devout atheists, corporate lawyers, Russian nethackers, pseudo-intellectuals, misguided idealists, occultists and New Agers, angry street people, vapid celebs, buffed millionaire athletes, environmentalists, disgruntled academics, Zionists, Scientologists, UFO cultists and YOU!
Object of the Game:
Escapism, self-delusion and fun!
It’s not yours yet…
What ya got?
More costly than you can possibly imagine.
Term notably more charged than the conventional academic descriptor; counter-Enlightenment. But the author of a new book on notions of anti-Enlightenment, Zeev Sternhell, is a leftist and Zionist, not known for lukewarm political commitments. He’s written extensively about the history of Fascism. A recent review of The Anti-Enlightenment Tradition (published by Yale University Press) in Tablet suggests Sternhell misses important subtleties in the topic, instead oversimplifying and boostering for the cause of Enlightenment.
The reviewer argues that in condemning the anti-Enlightenment (closely associated with Burke and Herder) for laying the foundation of right-wing nationalist movements in the 20th century, Sternhell is overstating his case. In particular, Sternhell overlooks how post-Enlightenment responses (which one can call counter- or anti-) were a critical stance on the emergence of all the overly rationalist and scientistic aspects of modernity. Concepts like romanticism and vitalism, then, need to be viewed as sophisticated responses to the general universalizing trend of Enlightenment. The Frankfurt School, after all, saw the culmination of Enlightenment’s “instrumental rationality” in the darkly efficient Nazi regime. Clearly Enlightenment is something of a straw man.
In any event, dynamic new historical visions of the Enlightenment are emerging, challenging conventional readings. Scholars now talk of “Super-Enlightenment”, a fascinating synthesis of standard and esoteric paradigms. Many thinkers deny it’s possible to actually disassociate Enlightenment from its other.
What can’t be denied is the way debates about the legacies and meanings of Enlightenment are never separated from contemporary political commitments. In many ways, it remains a historical concept charged with ideology…
Originally by way of Arts & Letters Daily.