Saturday, March 30, 2013

Richard Wagner on 'the degrading power of money over the image of God'

Richard Wagner
Many aspects of this website are about the decline of the rule of the sacred and the rise of the rule of money.

It was the fateful historical collapse that the Church Councils of the Middle Ages attempted and failed to arrest. It was the avarice that crept out of the pores of society to corrupt the Catholic Church and the monster Luther saw on the horizon, about to engulf society in the years of the profane ahead.

The hope of a return to the sacred lived on in hearts that burned intensely with a hatred of the corrupting power of money.

One such was Richard Wagner - and here he is writing about 'the degrading power of money over the image of God'.

John Dunn.
Here is what Wagner wrote in the Fatherland Union Paper
And when all who draw breath in our dear German land are united into one great free people, when class prejudices shall have ceased to exist, then do you suppose we have reached our goal? Oh, no; we are just equipped for the beginning. Then will it be our duty to investigate boldly . . . the cause of misery of our present social status, and determine whether man . . . can have been destined by God to be the servile slave of inert base metal. We must decide whether money shall exert such degrading power over the image of God — man — as to render him the despicable slave of the passions of usury and avarice. The war against this existing evil will cause neither tears nor blood.

In the coming contest we shall find that society will be maintained by the physical activity of individuals,and we shall destroy the nebulous notion that money possesses any inherent power. And heaven will help us . . . dispel the false halo with which the unthinking mind invests this demon money. Then shall we root out the miseries engendered and nourished by public and secret usury, deceptive paper money and fraudulent speculations. This will tend to promote the emancipation of the human race . . .

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Frithjof Schuon on Luther, Calvin and protestant liberalism

Frithjof Schuon
I read the following piece by Schuon earlier today. It corroborates my own thinking on Luther, set out in my essay entitled Martin Luther and the new paideuma. Luther’s critique of the Papacy was from a medieval perspective. His horror at the turn of events triggered by the Reformation was from the medieval standpoint too, in contrast to Calvin’s. Schuon’s footnote* too is a telling comment on Luther with which I wholly agree.

John Dunn.

In my essay I wrote

In his fear of the sacrilegious and socially corrupting power of money, Luther was socially conservative, whereas the second generation reformer, John Calvin, was a force for radicalism. Calvin assumed an economic organisation that was relatively advanced as far as the power of money was concerned, and expounded a social ethics on the basis of the seemingly inevitable future. Thus Calvin stood in marked contrast to Luther and the medieval theologians who proceeded him.

Luther did not live to see anything even approximating to the full fruition of the social change wrought by the Reformation his actions had triggered. He was aware, however, of the direction of travel and, as can be seen in his later writings, it left him in despair.
Here is the excerpt from Frithjof Schoun’s The Question of Evangelism, taken from the collection of essays entitled Ye Shall Know the Truth: Christianity and the Perennial Philosophy, World Wisdom Books, 2005.
Viewed in its totality, Protestantism has something ambiguous about it: on the one hand it is inspired sincerely and concretely by the Bible, but on the other hand it is bound up with humanism and the Renaissance. Luther incarnates the first aspect: his perspective is medieval and so to speak retrospective, and it gives rise to a conservative and at times esoterizing pietism. In Calvin, on the contrary, the tendencies of humanism, hence of the Renaissance, mingle with the movement rather strongly, if indeed they do not determine it; no doubt he is greatly inspired in his doctrine by Luther and the Swiss Reformers, but he is a republican in his own way—on a theocratic basis, of course—and not a monarchist like the German Reformer; and it can be said on the whole that in a certain manner he was more opposed to Catholicism than Luther was.*
*As for Protestant liberalism, Luther eventually foresaw its abuses, and he would in any case be horrified to see this liberalism as it appears in our time—he who could bear neither self-sufficient mediocrity nor iconoclastic fanaticism.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Garaudy and the religious dimension

Roger Garaudy
I followed a recommendation that Imran Hosein made in one of his speeches, which was to read R. H. Tawney’s Religion and the Rise of Capitalism,first published in 1922. As Hosein pointed out, this little book by Tawney does indeed cover the post-reformation retreat of religion from all things economic. Tawney describes how economics became a morality free zone, a place where usury ceased to be prohibited by religious leaders and common decency and where decision making was founded on economic expediency alone. I’m reminded by this of how Julius Evola described the modern world as the era in which the religious idea became dissociated form any transcendent interest, and thus used to sanctify any temporal achievements such as social work, ‘progress’ or even profits. Materialism appears to have killed off any possible return to a tradition which in a large, universal, unanimous way encompasses every form of life and of light. In short, there appears to be no way back to a guiding unitary spirit. So remote is the possibility that any movement for such a return would be truly revolutionary. It was with this thought in mind that I came across a short piece of writing by Roger Garaudy in Bernard Moitessier’s final book and autobiography, Tamata and the Alliance. I thought others might wish to read it. The Garaudy quote reads...

“The concrete, practical consequences of this unshakable affirmation of transcendence are essentially revolutionary.

Theonly possible revolutions are those which don’t exclude mankind’s transcendent dimension; which don’t exclude the divine; which are founded on this article of faith; that the basic foundation of reality is an act of the creative freedom which is called God.

To be a revolutionary is to be a creator of that reality, to participate in divine life.”

The full Garaudy quotation can be read by clicking here.

The point Garaudy makes is that whilst the current expansionist cycle of materialist liberal-democracy has yet to run its course, the only revolutionary alternatives to its continuance are those which have religious and transcendent dimensions.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Worst Form of Slavery

Julius Evola
What is taken for the political right today? There are two common misconceptions. Firstly, that the right stands for proponents of free enterprise and the free market – as opposed to leftists who advocate state intervention in economic and other aspects of life. Secondly, that extreme nationalists are on the right, advocating white supremacism as opposed to multiculturalism.

Criticisms of these two positions from the left might be that:

1. The market cannot be left to its own devices. Spending by the state is required to avoid the worst of recessions. Proponents of the free market are devoid of ethical principles. State intervention is required to protect essential services such as healthcare for everyone. Social security is required for the losers in the system. State intervention is needed to ensure fairness and equity, for example, in the education system.
2. Extreme nationalism is equated with fascism. Proponents are intolerant of people with differences of nationality, race, creed and sexual orientation. (Criticism of religious intolerance is problematic to the left, given its tendency to wards atheism.) Intolerance and discrimination are considered by the left to be unethical.

Both the free market and nationalism are believed to be historically spent ideals.

But where might another critique of the nationalist right wing perspective come from? The Elovian right. The traditionalist right. The perennialist right.

A traditional society consists of individuals who each affirm their individual identities through adherence to superior principles and interests. Personality is not abolished, but is integrated through participation in a society in which ‘every individual, function, and caste acquire their right place and reason for being through acknowledgement of what is superior to them and their organic connection with it’. (Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, p.338)

The acknowledgement of a common spirituality and a common active propensity towards it is such that each and every action by an individual becomes a rite and the fulfilment of a role. Through this fulfilment, the individual gives a law and form to his own nature. He is sure and certain of his purpose – which is sacred.

The roots of tradition lie in the distant past, but emanate most typically in religions and systems of caste. Such is the depth of these roots of tradition that adherents refer to them as perennial, in the sense that they have always existed in one form or another and always will.

In the Middle Ages there was widespread adherence to the perennial tradition. As a result, whilst nationalities existed, nationalisms did not.

Whilst individuals conformed to this or that nature, language or exoteric religious emanation of the tradition, the social principles of caste were articulated across all nationalities. ‘Hence, the possibility for members of the same caste who came from different nations to understand each other better than the members of different castes within the same nation.’ (Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, p.339) 

With the loss of tradition, the need for a new type of unity was increasingly felt. Modern nationalism offers an artificial and centralising unity for individuals stripped of religious certainties, living out lives as commodities in a state of pure quantity, as one of the masses.

Nationalism acts upon these masses through myths and suggestions that are likely to galvanise them, flatter them with the perspectives and fancies of supremacy, exclusivism and power. (Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, p.339)

Nationalism emerged as a collectivising force. The nation, the homeland became primary as an entity that required from the individual belonging to it an unconditional declaration, as if it were a moral and not merely a natural and political entity. It led to a mentality of ‘my country, right or wrong’.

Even when nationalism parades its traditions up and down, it is living out a myth of fictitious continuity based on a minimum common denominator that consists in the mere belonging to a given group. Celebration of the nation really means the upholding of anti-tradition. The leaders of world subversion see in nationalism a way of disposing of the tradition. Turning this contingency into a science, Marx felt able to affirm ‘all that is sacred melts into air’.

Now for the nightmare vision of the kali yuga.

Today there is a trend towards universal brotherhood, reflected in ‘multiculturalism’, which is really ‘uniculturalism’. Far from abolishing the nationalist spirit and its pseudo-traditions and pride, its supreme form as the nation will be called mankind. The tradition, on the other hand, manifested most typically as religion, especially in the Muslim world, will be regarded as the enemy.

The individual will barely attain the status of a cog in the all-consuming global enterprise and lose all self-differentiation from the masses. In losing all sense of law and form of his nature, the individual will lose all sense of personality. The individual will be crushed.

Since the modern view of life in its materialism has taken away from the single individual any possibility of bestowing on his destiny a transfiguring element and seeing in it a sign and a symbol, contemporary"slavery" should be reckoned as one of the gloomiest and most desperate kinds of all times. (Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, p.109)

Once the global enterprise has been established, there will be no escape; no Guenon-like refuge in a traditional culture beyond its borders.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ezra Pound on those barbarous texts

Here is a telling observation by Ezra Pound on the ‘revival’ of the Old Testament at the time of the Reformation. Until this time, Christianity had been based largely on Jesus and the cross. The return to the Law in the beginnings of a covenantal Calvinism was a development that Luther would come to regret intensely. (Reproduced here with Pound's idiosyncratic note style and spelling.)

John Dunn.
Nothing cd. be less civil, or more hostile to any degree of polite civilization than the tribal records of the hebrews. There is not a trace of civilization from the first lies of Genesis up to the excised account of Holophernes. The revival of these barbarous texts in the time of Luther and Calvin has been an almost unmitigated curse to the occident. But Leo X. and the Hegxis of catholicism during the Renaissance left a void into which this beastliness poured.
(From Guide to Kulchur by Ezra Pound.) 

Ezra Pound by Gaudier-Brzeska