Category Archives: Ancient World

Lampedusa

The hardest thing for any man to achieve is worldliness: getting past his own anxieties, injuries, petty ingrained prejudices, vanity, sentimentality and seeing the world as it is, with a keen eye for what endures and hides under shifting forms.

The worldly man stands apart from popular crazes and fashions. He is neither reactionary nor progressive. Least of all is he an “activist” of any kind, being perfectly aware that changes come of their own accord and for reasons that their ardent promoters themselves cannot fathom.

He knows that trying to “change the world” is as much of a fool’s errand as trying to prevent it from changing. The world has its own reasons and it employs fools to achieve them.

Validation

The empirical validation of some fragmentary remnant of tradition always comes too late and counts for very little. This is because the truth of tradition is eternal, i.e. outside duration, invariant, primordial, whereas empiricism is always bound by the limited interval of observation and can never prove or disprove any principle that operates in cycles of a breadth that exceeds that interval. The modern conceit is that whatever resides outside the possibility of phenomenal observation is unknowable. It ignores and devalues faculties receptive to other, and superior, forms of knowledge. Consequently, there is something childlike about the enthusiasm that greets the occasional scientific validation of some truth that tradition understood implicitly, as if tradition had all these millennia been waiting for modern science to come along and give it a proper grounding. For instance, one can only be amused by the importance currently assigned to the scientific validation of sexual difference, a validation utterly trivial when compared to the vastly richer knowledge of sexual difference and its implications available to the ancients.

The wisdom of tradition is not amenable to empirical validation. Today, this wisdom can only reveal itself negatively, via the dismal consequences of what has replaced it.

Animal

From the dawn of human society, humans have sought to model themselves on animals. Something more than a totemic relationship was involved. Animal idolatry was an antidote to the self-conscious artificiality of the human, which if permitted to completely take over leads to a kind of madness.

The nobility of the animal offered a means to honor what in the human is inhuman, unconscious, beyond the reach of deliberation or choice. The animal modeled for humans submission to the natural order and its fundamentally supra-individual logic.

All the freakishness of the modern world is the product of a humanistic reversal of inhumanism. From this stems the reduction of consciousness to a purely instrumental apparatus and the illusion this fosters of a mechanistic world that technology can alter at wiil. And yet this blindering of consciousness was greeted as Enlightenment. Conversely, the knowledge that was available to the ancients in the form of sacred revelation, in the modern world is dismissed as the product of dark ages.