Monday, March 31, 2014

An extension of the money-based rule of quantity reduced pagan concepts of time to a memory held in the names of the months and the days of the week.

St Augustine
However, an extension of the money-based rule of quantity reduced pagan concepts of time to a memory held in the names of the months and the days of the week. With the dominance of money came the final victory of Judaic linear chronology, a current of thought introduced into the mainstream of Christian thinking by St Augustine in The City of God. With the stripping of the altars in the Reformation went the stripping of the year of its festivals and saints days. From John Dunn's new book. Time became ruthlessly linear with an indifference to its contents; a simple irreversible order of consecutive events; its parts mutually homogeneous and therefore measurable in a quantitative fashion. The emphasis from now would be upon progression, and woe betide anyone who might step into the path of progress.



Man’s very appreciation of the space around him suffered a similar diminution and homogenisation. In antiquity, as Evola described, every direction corresponded to given influences, out of which, for example, came ‘the doctrine of the sacred orientations in the arrangement of the temples’. This continued into the Christian era in ‘the art of the orientation of the cathedrals that was preserved in Europe up to the Middle Ages’. Writing from John Dunn. There were, of course, degrees of sacredness even within the consecrated buildings themselves, which were wholly dependent on spacial arrangements and location.

Extracts from John Dunn's forthcoming book. Details will be posted later this year. See www.drjohndunn.com


Thursday, March 20, 2014

For we must love not only occasionally, for a moment, but forever.





Fyodor Dostoyevsky:
 

Every day and every hour, every minute, walk round yourself and watch yourself, and see that your image is a seemly one. You pass by a little child, you pass by with ugly and spiteful words, with wrathful heart; you may not have noticed the child, but he has seen you, and your image, revolting and godless, may remain in his defenceless heart. You don’t know it, but you may have sown an evil seed in him and it may grow, all because you were not careful before the child, because you did not foster in yourself a careful, actively benevolent love. Brothers, love is a teacher; but one must know how to acquire it, for it is hard to acquire, it is dearly bought, it is won slowly by long labour. For we must love not only occasionally, for a moment, but forever.
 

Source: The Brothers Karamazov, as quoted in The Gospel in Dostoyevsky

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Luther and Calvin





Under the new and progressive urban conditions, the rules were turned upon their head. Whereas to strive for personal enrichment had once seemed incomprehensible, for the Calvinist there was nothing wrong with good honest profit, as he understood it, derived from diligence and industry. Usury became respectable, where it has previously been condemned as immoral. Calvin and his followers assumed credit to be a normal fact of life; and the financier was not a pariah, but a useful member of society.

Luther believed that anyone could reach salvation as long as he had faith. This belief is expressed in his famous statement ‘justification by faith’, wherein one did not have to be chosen to have faith. In contrast, Calvin preached that those predestined for salvation were defined by their virtuous lives, and they were referred to as ‘the elect’. Also, the elect could be determined by their economic and material success. Under this doctrine, good works, whilst not a way of attaining salvation, become indispensable as a proof that salvation has been attained.


From www.drjohndunn.com

Monday, March 10, 2014

Leo Tolstoy’s understanding of art and history was almost Heideggerian

Leo Tolstoy  
Leo Tolstoy’s understanding of art and history was almost Heideggerian.

To be the instrument rather than the shaper of historical forces has parallels with thinking as the opening of aletheia, the unconcealment which Martin Heidegger posited as the source of both being and thinking.

Tolstoy (pictured) did not believe in invention in art. The author, he considered, should not egotistically impose himself on his material. Likewise, in his use of history, he discounts the Nietzschean notion of great men dominating and shaping events. History, as he sees it, is a kind of cosmic soap-opera, an emanation of the collective consciousness which is played back to edify, instruct and entertain.

In War and Peace, it is the Russian general Kutusov who, as Tolstoy portrays him, allows himself to be the instrument, rather than the shaper, of historical forces, whereas his opponent, Napoleon, exemplifies the ego striving (vainly, as it turns out) to assert itself in domination over men and events. In such a conflict, Tolstoy indicates, Kutusov was bound to win – life being stronger than any ego, however puffed up.

This ego versus life-force dichotomy is the deeply philosophical core at the heart of War and Peace.

It also exemplifies just how much Heidegger was in the tradition of an existing undercurrent of anti-Cartesian resistance.

Just testing a thought...

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Enough of liberalism and a society run on the basis of Mammon-worship and money.

St Augustine

Enough of liberalism and a society run on the basis of Mammon-worship and money. I'm for a society run on the basis of love and kindness, for good rather than evil, for God rather than the Devil.

St. AUGUSTINE ON HOW TO RECOGNISE THE CHILDREN OF GOD

By this it may be seen who are the children raised for God and who are the children raised for the devil. Whoever does not do right is not of God nor he who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:10)

It is love which distinguishes between the children of God and the children of the devil. It is only by charity that the children of God are distinguished from the children of the devil. If you do not have any other qualities but this, you have fulfilled the law.

Love is that pearl of the gospel which the merchant is said to have searched for and sold everything he had to buy it (Matt.13:46)

You could say, "I have not seen God". But surely you cannot say to me, "I have not seen a human being". If you love people whom you have seen, you will at the same time be loving God, because you will be seeing love itself, and it is in love that God dwells.

(St. Augustine, Commentary on 1 John 5,7.)


Sunday, March 02, 2014

Did not the Pharisees genuinely believe that they were the good and the just?


Photograph - Nietzsche in 1872
Did not the Pharisees genuinely believe that they were the good and the just?

Jesus berate them, saying:
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are. (Matthew 23:15)

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)

Spake Zarathustra...
O my brethren, have ye understood with whom lieth the greatest danger to the whole human future? Is it not with the good and just?
O my brethren! BREAK UP, BREAK UP, I PRAY YOU, THE GOOD AND JUST!

***

From THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA By FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE
Third Part, LVI OLD AND NEW TABLES, sections 26 and 27
 

26
 O my brethren! With whom lieth the greatest danger to the whole human future? Is it not with the good and just?—

—As those who say and feel in their hearts: "We already know what is good and just, we possess it also; woe to those who still seek thereafter!

And whatever harm the wicked may do, the harm of the good is the harmfulest harm!

And whatever harm the world-maligners may do, the harm of the good is the harmfulest harm!

O my brethren, into the hearts of the good and just looked some one once on a time, who said: "They are the Pharisees." But people did not understand him.

The good and just themselves were not free to understand him; their spirit was imprisoned in their good conscience. The stupidity of the good is unfathomably wise.

It is the truth, however, that the good MUST be Pharisees—they have no choice!

The good MUST crucify him who deviseth his own virtue! That IS the truth!

The second one, however, who discovered their country—the country, heart and soil of the good and just,—it was he who asked: "Whom do they hate most?"

The CREATOR, hate they most, him who breaketh the tables and old values, the breaker,—him they call the law-breaker.

For the good—they CANNOT create; they are always the beginning of the end:—

—They crucify him who writeth new values on new tables, they sacrifice UNTO THEMSELVES the future—they crucify the whole human future!

The good—they have always been the beginning of the end.—

27
O my brethren, have ye also understood this word? And what I once said of the "last man"?—

With whom lieth the greatest danger to the whole human future? Is it not with the good and just?

BREAK UP, BREAK UP, I PRAY YOU, THE GOOD AND JUST!—O my brethren, have ye understood also this word?

***

Personally, I feel that this is a passage that would have been very much appreciated by both Kierkegaard and Heidegger. - John Dunn.