Amerika

Posts Tagged ‘nominalism’

Pagan Christianity

Monday, June 19th, 2017

The Right desperately needs to get right with God.

Perhaps not in the way most would think, this need arises from the confusion about the role of religion in the Right. Some want it to be the basis of the Right and to install a de facto theocracy; others see it as irrelevant; still others argue that conservatism is not based on a single method, as ideology is, and that religion is one part — perhaps not for all people — of a bundle of methods that together make a solution but are not in themselves solutions.

These seem to be prerequisites that can be accidentally made into ideologies. For example, racial and ethnic homogeneity is necessary for a thriving society, but in itself it is not a whole solution, only part of one. Similarly, deposing democracy and equality is a partial solution. Together these and other methods make up a complete society.

For that reason, it makes sense to view religion as not a solution in itself, but also something that at least many of us need. This gets us away from the theocracy that forces us all to become believers, and instead points to rule by culture, which requires strong nationalism to establish.

This takes us in turn to the question, which religion?

Varg Vikernes makes a compelling point for avoiding Christianity. It leads to Leftism, and conspired against our people in the past, not to mention creates the “personal morality” conditions which encourage virtue signaling. In his view, as in Nietzsche’s, it is entirely too pacifistic and fatalistic of a religion.

Onto this we might add one other shining elephant in the room: at least geographically — the Christianity Identity folks have some interesting input here on the origins of Biblical Jews — it is foreign, or simply put not European. The names are not in our languages, nor are the locations, or presumably many of the customs and values.

To this it is important to add that Christianity is also at least from a surface reading, which over time in the hands of large groups is what it will be streamlined to be, it is dualistic, or posits another world where the rules are more real than the rules in this one. In other words, logic is not logic; there is a different logic, more like a human logic, which is actually real.

DARG adds another failing of Christianity, which relates to the personal morality it champions:

The beginning of this is a clarification on the terms sacred and profane. Christianity has made [humans] believe that the sacred is themselves, and equivalent to “tolerance and love” (towards what they define as permissible, of course) and “feeling nice and warm”, and that the profane is everything that opposes that. How convenient. The more historical and philosophical stance, on the other hand, sees in the every-day world, and all that it holds, benign of malignant, as profane; and sees in the world of the exceptional, of man going beyond the merely human, the sacred.

The personal morality of Christianity, and its exoteric nature or tendency to behave like an ideological system more than a deep-learning skill, make it a mixed bag when it comes to religions. It is the great unifier, but that also means it simplifies the message.

Pagan faiths, on the other hand, are monistic — they believe there is no alternate set of rules for the universe, and that all that we need to know can be found in nature, science and logic — and esoteric, or formed of cumulative self-directed learning in which some are naturally gifted to go farther than others. Exotericism is inherently egalitarian; esotericism is innately hierarchical.

In fact, pagan faiths more resemble a philosophy and folkway with metaphysical implications than a religion, or organized spiritual dogma for the sake of shaping mass behavior:

This effort of combining all non-Christian religions under one umbrella was, in fact, a clever strategy by the early Christians to remove the “pagan” faiths altogether. Using the Norse traditions as an example, the Vikings of the early medieval period had no true name for their religious following. In truth, the word religion would have been an unknown, foreign term to them. The Nordic tribes preferred the word “customs” as—like the Greeks and Romans—their rituals, beliefs, and traditions were undefined and fluidly interpreted, orally passed down rather than rigidly studied. There was no all-encompassing word for the belief in the Aesir and Vanir, and the various other beings and deities the ancient Norse worshiped, and there was no written text discussing their practices until the Christian author Snorri Sturluson wrote their mythology down in the 13th century.

Now, the picture gets more complex because Christianity is mostly Pagan. It is clearly a derivative, or rather a compilation and synthesis of the indigenous faiths of lands the Jewish scribes were in contact with, featuring the Greeks whose philosophy they loved above all else. This means that there are Greek, Nordic, Hindu and other faiths retold in the Bible.

There was a reason why formerly “pagan” communities switched to Christianity, namely that it was both mostly familiar and more effective for manipulating herds of people. The exoteric nature of Christianity means that its symbols can be directly adjusted to cause people to behave one way or another. Some of this was positive, namely getting people to leave behind previous antisocial habits.

However, this displacement of the original faiths also led to cultural erasure. When a simpler and more easily understood version of a tradition comes along, especially one that is written, people simply adopt the new and forget the old, which most importantly contains the roadmap to understanding the reasons for the beliefs.

What this means however is that there is a bridge between pagan faiths and Christianity, and that for this reason, we can have faith that is not strictly entrenched in either one, only expressed through it, and that over time, this may change to the simpler and more internal, informal and naturalistic pagan ideation. Consider the Perennial nature of spirituality:

It also makes sense to have some form of metaphysical outlook, perhaps of a Perennialist nature:

At the core of the Perennial Philosophy we find four fundamental doctrines.

  1. The phenomenal world of matter and of individualized consciousness — the world of things and animals and men and even gods — is the manifestation of a Divine Ground within which all partial realities have their being, and apart from which they would be non-existent.
  2. Human beings are capable not merely of knowing about the Divine Ground by inference; they can also realize its existence by a direct intuition, superior to discursive reasoning. This immediate knowledge unites the knower with that which is known.
  3. Man possesses a double nature, a phenomenal ego and an eternal Self, which is the inner man, the spirit, the spark of divinity within the soul. It is possible for a man, if he so desires, to identify himself with the spirit and therefore with the Divine Ground, which is of the same or like nature with the spirit.
  4. Man’s life on earth has only one end and purpose: to identify himself with his eternal Self and so to come to unitive knowledge of the Divine Ground.

If we distill religions to their core and take the intersection, we see a basic starting point that does not necessarily need formalization and, if kept informalized, loses its “human” projection and interpretation, and starts to resemble more the pagan faiths and even older Indo-European religion that our pre-Greek ancestors adopted.

This takes us away from religion as an external constraint that we adopt in order to shape ourselves and become a mass of people acting toward some goal, and reverts it to its original form, which is an observation about the nature of reality that reveals hints of the metaphysical embedded within nature:

As that great non-church and heterodox Christian Rudolf Steiner said: to disbelieve in God is to be, in a real sense, insane; in other words, it is to disbelieve any possibility of coherence, meaning and purpose – which is to regard all of life as a delusion.

…And to deny God within us and the world is to live earthly life in a state of detachment – since we can only observe and never actually participate in reality: we can never know.

In other words, religion is rediscovered by those with clarity of mind who can observe nature; this is the essence of transcendentalism, in which joy arises from understanding the nature of the world and seeing it in logic, therefore wisdom, and therefore beauty and a positive intention toward those of us caught in it, which in turn implies a life-like force to the universe, which per German Idealism — also found in Hinduism — is thought-like, dream-like or composed of thought or information.

In this way, we can see how for the West to rediscover the divine, Christianity must converge on the less formal and more intuitive forms of religious faith, which are the folk customs and existential search of the inner self that produces our classically reflective outlook.

Already we see signs of this. The Orthosphere-style thinkers tend either to embrace Catholicism, or outward-in, religious thinking, or to go the other way and embrace transcendentalism with discipline. This leads to a more naturalistic interpretation of religion that is naturally less obsessed with personality morality and its means-over-ends analysis.

Pagan Christianity, in addition to the Perennial Philosophy traits mentioned above per Aldous Huxley, also has a different map of the cosmos and metaphysical. At its core, this represents a shift from three paths (Father, Son, Holy Ghost) to four:

  1. Information-Space
  2. Godhead
  3. God
  4. Gods

In this mythos, the natural order of a universe comprised of information comes first, and with it the notion that we each have a role to serve determined by our logical placement within this order. Natural law and logic come first, and within them there are other spaces.

Godhead is the animating force of all that we know and the most essential tendencies of the universe. This works within the information-space, shaping us toward the divine and influencing the birth of the gods.

At the top, there is an all-encompassing God which represents holiness itself and less of an active personality than a tendency, like gravity or rain, to order the universe into beauty by balancing darkness and light so that existence itself can prevail. Since the universe is relative, darkness is necessary to emphasize light, much like death gives significance to life.

Below that are the gods, or animistic forces with distinct personalities. These are manifested forces which act according to their own interest, which means that we can respect them without expecting them to judge us or treat us according to some moral standard of our own. They simply do what they do, but they reflect the spirit of godhead, and so are divine while bridging to the profane world of the mundane.

At the bottom are the creatures of Earth and beyond, including humans and plants, who exhibit spirit of their own. These are able to partake in divinity by seeking transcendence and avoiding hubris, but will never fully know what is on the other side because they are limited to a perspective of the physical and individualized.

Perhaps that is enough of a start for now. We have seen how Christianity and Paganism are not that much different, how they share a core, and how we can rediscover that core by starting from reality itself. As with all esoteric things, that represents a doorway opened, and a path upon which each of us will journey a different distance, often down different tributaries.

On Nominalism — Or, As I Call It, Individualism

Friday, November 25th, 2016

Malcolm Pollack acts like a magnet, moving through sand and attracting bits of shiny metal. His most recent post concerns Richard M. Weaver’s Ideas Have Consequences, a statement of transcendental realism if there ever was one.

Mr Weaver traces the cracking open of the abyss all the way back to William of Ockham and the birth of nominalism — the idea that there is nothing more to the things in this world than the things themselves. In this, Weaver argues, our culture began a move from the transcendent to the particular; from the purpose of labor to the fruits of labor; from the eternal to the merely present; from a lofty hierarchy of order, with its apex in Heaven, to undifferentiated rubble on a darkling plain.

The practical result of nominalist philosophy is to banish the reality which is perceived by the intellect and to posit as reality that which is perceived by the senses.

…The most portentous general event of our time is the steady obliteration of those distinctions which create society.

… The very possibility that there may exist timeless truths is a reproach to the life of laxness and indifference which modern egotism encourages.

The world of the sense is the opposite of the world of the intellect, but the world of the senses does not challenge us. The intellect knows that it can be wrong, and therefore, it seeks to avoid challenging questions. Material facts and sensations are not challenging if one interprets them as reasons in themselves, and not evidence of an underlying pattern that is the actuality of reality. For this reason, nominalism is the pre-emptive defensive act of the individualistic ego against the risk of being wrong present in the intellect processing a world where effect does not resemble its cause. Interesting stuff.

Nominalism and the Destruction of the Islamic World

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

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Graaaaaagh1 recently appeared on Mike Enoch’s podcast2 discussing a common topic on the show, the Judaic spirit embodied by the Old Testament and the possible origins of Moses. Particularly, both men recommended the book Moses the Egyptian by Jan Assman.3. It argues that nominalism, the philosophy that universals do not exist and that denies the unity behind material forms, initiated the collapse of Western Civilization through great evils such as iconoclasm, the Enlightenment, the Reformation and Progressivism.

Graaaaaagh argues, essentially correctly, that iconoclasm and anti-intellectualism in the Christian faith are the result of its periodic reversions to the practical tribal elements of the materialistic philosophy within Judaism. This philosophy, which Assman calls the “Mosaic distinction,” forces hostility to outsiders by reducing moral concerns for their welfare. It removes religion from the clouds where it concerns itself with moral thought experiments and returns it to hard reality, where defense of the realm is more important than worrying about what theory will justify it.

Graaaaagh believes that such a reversion is a necessarily recurring function of Christianity, generally, and here I disagree. A firm hierarchy and elites with an esoteric understanding of Christianity will see that in fact that wisdom of that religion is that it balances Jewish practicality with pagan transcendental beliefs. Transcendentalism does not say that because universals exist outside of man, we should abandon man; rather, it suggests that universals point man to a path that leads toward success. The point is union of man with divine order, not replacing one with the other, although in the absence of a firm hierarchy and quality elites it rapidly degenerates to that stage.

Prior to nominalism, the theological philosophy that dominated in continental Europe was Scholasticism, which emphasized a unity between humans and heavens in a traditional, meditative order. Scholasticism is famous for some of its more puzzling debates, such as the number of angels which could dance on the head of a pin, and many modern students therefore dismiss it as the silliness of medieval schoolmen. But what is less known is that Scholasticism was a hearty and deep philosophical strain that produced incredible thinkers such as Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure.

This was the period of the Ghibelline Middle Ages, feted by Julius Evola as the closest Europe had come in this dark age to achieving something approximating Traditional governance. This was also the period of the Germanization of Christianity, of the building of great Cathedrals and of crusades, the re-emergence of spiritual männerbunden in the orders of holy knights.

Scholasticism, or an Islamic variant of it, had also been ascendant in the various Islamic states of the Mediterranean for centuries before the University of Bologna opened its doors. Probably its greatest enunciator was Ibn Sina, who articulated a coherent philosophy that reconciled neo-Platonism and its logical and rational creator with Islam. This philosophy was continued with Ibn Rushd, who translated and expounded upon Aristotle, while continuing and propagating the idea of a God who operated by rational laws and a logic that was knowable. This philosophy left open the possibility of science and material advancement, as well as mystical and metaphysical advancement through understanding the divine system. Although this state of affairs could not endure for long, considering Islam’s deeply Judaic character, it managed to maintain itself for centuries because the intellectual elite of the Islamic world supported it.

But then the nominalism reared its ugly head. Al Ghazali was a nominalist in the most crude sense; his ultimate insistence, and the bill of particulars he wrote against of Averroes, was naked occasionalism, which holds that material cannot cause events; all events come from God alone. His book, the Incoherence of the Philosophers, argued that phenomena were not the result of system or greater truth that could be discovered, but rather individual, immediate acts of an omnipotent God. God, of course, is not bound by systems, principals, or discoverable things. He could turn upside down the rules of nature at a whim; gravity goes up; magnetism can be reversed; atomic particles break apart and reform the next day. Many were convinced by this initially; but more importantly, occasionalism took on the trappings of a pious affirmation. After all, Allah is also Al-Qadeer, the omnipotent. How could you claim to be a Muslim and deny God’s supremacy at every moment?

Averroes tried to respond, and his book he penned in response to Al Gahzali, Incoherence of the Incoherence, is an Aristotelian masterwork. But the battle had been won, and the pious fulminations had already set in motion the closing off of the issue. Perhaps this was inevitable, but it set off centuries of inbreeding and savage anti-intellectualism lead to rapid and disastrous decline. Averroes (a Spaniard) and Al Ghazali (a Persian) were not Semetic Arabs; they were exemplary thinkers, embodying the straightforward and questing Aryan intellectualism that mirrored the high churchmen of Europe. With the religious sanction firmly in place, the blood and expression of the Aryans, already thin, all but vanished within the Islamic world. What remained in Persia had to go underground and hide, and mask its Indo-European mysticism in Islamic clothing.

The lesson reactionaries can draw from the decline in Islamic thinking is this: the elites must understand the nature of reality and be concerned with asserting it. This includes suppression of the populist philosophies like occasionalism (dualism) and materialism which please people because they make life convenient, instead of a quest for intellectual rigor. Obviously this does not apply to outgroups; and no, allowing so-called “freedom of speech” for prole-tier people is not to be encouraged. But amongst the designated hierarchy, the quest for civilization, principles and the true and good must be allowed to continue. Once shut, some doors are impossible to reopen.


[1] www.graaaaaagh.com

[2] http://therightstuff.biz/2015/03/26/between-two-lampshades-graaaaaagh/

[3] http://www.amazon.com/dp/0674587391/?tag=amerika.org-20

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