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“The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.”
―Jiddu Krishnamurti

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“Making good”, as understood by the old ethic, with the attendant repression of evil and obedience to convention, is often enough no more than an easy way out, which shirks peril and clings to established security. Yet “where peril lies, grows the remedy too”, and the voice of the new ethic, or so it seems, is determined to accept both peril and remedy at the same time- since the one is not to be had without the other.

This in itself makes it perfectly clear that the way of the new ethic is anything rather than a “way of making one’s own life easier”. Quite the contrary. To surrender the moral certainty about good and evil provided by the old ethic, stamped as it was with the approval of the collective, and to accept the ambiguity of the inner experience is always a difficult undertaking for the individual, since in every case it involves a venture into the unknown, with all the danger which the acceptance of evil brings with it for every responsible ego.

-Erich Neumann (Depth Psychology and a New Ethic, p. 108)

I think everyone should ask themselves this…

If we, as everyone tends to assume, are changeable; then what would have to be the core of our Being?

Let’s say the core of our being was decided. That we “knew” who we were….would we then be able to change?

If a tree were to become hard and inflexible in the middle…would it be able to bend and not break under a strong wind?

Really dislike people trying to figure me out…Ie. put me in a box from their limited experience and narrow consciousness.
If you really want to see someone, drop your Self; your ideas, your judgements, your built up experiences, assumptions….in short free yourself from your knowledge and conditioning. Then and only then can you see someone for who they really are…and not through the narrow limited window of what you think you know.

I had a general “feeling” one could say, that something like this has, is, and probably will happen so I decided to voice my dislike. I mean, doesn’t everyone share this feeling at least once?

Be like an Uncarved Block:

The Chinese word “Pu” is often translated as “the uncarved block,” and refers to a state of pure potential which is the primordial condition of the mind before the arising of experience. The Taoist concept of Pu points to perception without prejudice, i.e. beyond dualistic distinctions such as right/wrong, good/bad, black/white, beautiful/ugly.
But this should apply to everyone. If everyone attempted this and remained open it would help a lot in getting everyone to turn towards wholeness.

“There is truth, my boy. But the doctrine you desire, absolute, perfect dogma that alone provides wisdom, does not exist. Nor should you long for a perfect doctrine, my friend. Rather, you should long for the perfection of yourself. The deity is within you, not in ideas and books. Truth is lived, not taught.”
― Hermann Hesse, The Glass Bead Game

What I am attempting here is to bring something up into consciousness. To help it into our sight.

The core of our Being, unknowable, speaks and shows.

We don’t have to be stuck or limited, in the normal sense of the word. Holding onto the I, me, mine causing nothing but separation, division does not lead to the open field of play.

And in this sense, and pretty much only this sense, can “I” judge. Can I “dislike”. Because I put the Open first, and only because I put the open first, can I judge that which is not open and dislike it.

For I must always acknowledge, within myself, that I am unknowable, beyond words, thoughts, ideas, and that this extends to everyone, everything. So how can I, with my labels and ideas about you, ever really hold them to be true?

Wouldn’t I be selfish if I did? I mean, am I for the open? Do I want to play or do I want to rule?”

solitudinus

How can the Individual, how can our culture, integrate Christianity and antiquity, China and India, the primitive and the modern, the prophet and the atomic physicist, into one humanity? Yet that is just what the individual and our culture must do. Though wars rage and peoples exterminate one another in our atavistic world, the reality living within us tends, whether we know it or not, whether we wish to admit it or not, toward a universal humanism.

– Erich Neumann (Art and Time; essay)

Scientist: …I hardly know anymore who and where I am.
Teacher: None of us knows that, as soon as we stop fooling ourselves.
Scholar: And yet we still have our path?
Teacher: To be sure. But by forgetting it too quickly we give up thinking.

 

– Heidegger (Discourse on Thinking, pg. 62)

…And, yet, despite all differences, one important point stands out. The road of Roman civilization was a road to barbarism. Will it turn out to be the same road we are on today?

Whatever historical comparison may afford for an understanding of the present crisis, it can give us no assurance regarding the latter’s outcome. The confident conclusion that things will right themselves somehow is not warranted by any historical parallel. We continue to push on into the unknown.

In this aspect also our time presents an important difference from earlier periods of violent cultural turmoil. In these earlier periods men have always seen the aim for which to strive and the means with which to pursue it, as fixed and positively determined. As we have said before, their aim was almost always to restore; a return to old perfection and purity. The ideal was retrospective. And not only the ideal but also the method by which to realise it. It lay in the acquisition and application of ancient wisdom and ancient virtue. The ancient wisdom, the ancient beauty, the ancient virtue, these were the wisdom, the beauty, and the virtue needed to bring to this world the order and serenity which earthly conditions allow. In dark times of decline the noblest spirits—think of a Boéthius—used to conserve the ancestral wisdom to pass it on to the coming generations for their guidance and instruction. Well may they be thankful for it; without Boéthius what would the Dark Ages have been? In rising times the lost wisdom was unearthed, not for the sake of disinterested knowledge alone, but to turn it to practical use; Roman Law, Aristotle. Thus Humanism in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries spread before the world the rediscovered treasures of a purified antiquity as the everlasting model of knowledge and culture, a model to build on if not to swear by. Practically all conscious cultural striving of earlier periods has in one way or another been inspired with the principle of an exemplary past.

Such veneration of the past we no longer know. Where our time seeks, preserves, safeguards ancient beauty, wisdom and greatness, it does not do so, at least not in the first place, with the object of finding guidance. Even though we may rate older periods higher than the present, for their faith, their art and the solidity and soundness of their social forms, our cultural life is no longer directed towards the illusory ideal of reinstatement. We are neither able nor willing to look back. For us there are only the unknown distances ahead. For three centuries, since Bacon and Descartes, our face has been turned to the future. Humanity has to find its own way. The impulse to push on ever further can lead to extremes when it degenerates into a vain and restless hankering after novelty for the sake of novelty itself. The stronger spirits, however, do not fear a heavy load of ancient values in their onward stride.

We know it only too well: if we are to preserve culture we must continue to create it.

 

-Johan Huizinga (In the Shadow of Tomorrow, p.36-8)

 

PS. this is merely the end of this chapter…will post the rest when I have more time. And ultimately the whole book as it is not that easy to find nor does it seem to have yet been made available online.

Let us be strong, let us not forget where we came from and our debt owed to the past. We could not be where we are without the sacrifices, for us, of those noble men and women of the past. Even though they never could or would know us.

Decline of the critical spirit, weakening of judgment, perversion of the function of science, all point to a serious cultural disorder. To think, however, that in locating these symptoms one is attacking the evil at its roots, is to make a grave mistake. For already we hear the swelling chorus of objections from the self-styled bearers of a new culture: “But we do not want a tried and tested knowledge to rule us and to decide over our actions; our aim is not to think and to know but to live and to do.”

Here we have the pivotal point of the present crisis of civilization: the conflict between knowing and being, between intelligence and existence. There is nothing novel about it. The essential insufficiency of our understanding was already realised in the earliest days of philosophy. The reality in and through which we live is in its essence unknowable, inaccessible to the processes of the mind, absolutely disparate from thought. In the first half of the nineteenth century this old truth, already understood by a Nicolaus Cusanus, is taken up again by Kierkegaard, whose philosophy centres upon the antithesis of existing and thinking. It served him to found his faith all the more firmly. It was not until much later that other thinkers forced this thought on to tracks away from God and let it derail in nihilism and despair, or in worship of earthly life. Nietzsche, deeply convinced of man’s tragic exile from truth and interpreting the will to life as will to power, repudiated the intellectual principle with all the poetical vigour of his genius. Pragmatism deprived the concept truth of its claim to absolute validity by placing it in the flow of time. To the pragmatists truth is what has essential validity for those professing it. Something is true when and in so far as it is valid for a particular time. A crude mind could easily think: something is valid, therefore it is true. A truth-concept reduced to only relative value was bound to bring a kind of ideological egalitarianism, an abolition of all differences of rank and value of ideas, in its wake. Sociological thinkers like Max Weber, Max Scheler, Karl Mannheim and Oswald Spengler have of late introduced the term of the Seinsverbundenheit des Denkens, which may be very imperfectly rendered with “the environment or life-conditioned nature of thought.” The concept itself makes them next-door neighbours to historical materialism, which is professedly anti-intellectual. Thus the tendencies of a whole age which, to avoid the vagueness of “anti-intellectual,” we venture to call anti-noetic, merged into a mighty stream which shortly was to threaten what were long thought to be insurmountable barriers of intellectual culture. It was Georges Sorel who, in his Réflexions sur la Violence, formulated the practical political consequences of all this, thereby becoming the spiritual father of all modern dictatorships.

But it is not only the dictators and their followers who desire the subjugation of the will to knowledge to the vital impulse. We have here the most fundamental element of the cultural crisis as a whole. This revulsion of the spirit is the essential process dominating the situation in which we find ourselves to-day.

Was it philosophical thought which led the way and society which followed? Or do we have to reverse the order and admit that it is a case of thought dancing to the tune of life? The doctrine itself which subjugates knowledge to life seems to impose the latter view.

Have earlier generations ever renounced the intellectual principle in this way? It seems impossible to find historical parallels. Systematic philosophical and practical anti-intellectualism such as we are witnessing, appears to be something truly novel in the history of human culture. To be sure, the past has often known reactions of thought whereby a too exclusive primacy of the understanding was succeeded by a revindication of the will. This is what happened, for instance, when the thought of Duns Scotus took its place beside that of Thomas Aquinas. These spiritual reactions, however, were not concerned with practical life or the worldly order but with the Faith, the striving for the ultimate meaning of life. And this striving itself always remained an “apprehending,” however far reason was left behind. The modern mind too often confuses intellectualism with rationalism. Even those forms of approach which, transgressing the purely intellectual, were intended to attain through insight and contemplation what was inaccessible to the understanding, always remained directed towards knowledge of truth. The Greek or the Indian word for it, gnosis or jnâna, makes it clear enough that even the purest mysticism remains a “knowing.” It is always the spirit which moves in the world of the intelligible. To have truth was always the ideal. There are no instances known to me of cultures having forsaken Truth or renounced the understanding in its widest sense.

When earlier currents of thought repudiated allegiance to Reason it was always in favour of the super-rational. What parades as the culture of today does not only disavow Reason but also the knowable itself, and this in favour of the sub-rational, the passions and the instincts. It votes for the will, not in the sense of Duns Scotus, however, but for the will to worldly power, for “existence,” for “blood and soil,” instead of “understanding” and “spirit.”

-Johan Huizinga (In the Shadow of Tomorrow, p.99-104)

…If, then, a retrieval of ethical and metaphysical values is what is needed, it can hardly be said that we are on the right road at present. The sense of human responsibility, seemingly strengthened by the exhortations of heroism, has been uprooted from the soil of the individual conscience and mobilised in favour of any collectivity which desires to impose its will and to elevate its limited insight to a canon of weal, thus greatly increasing the danger of absolutely irresponsible mass action. With the growing worthlessness of the spoken or printed word consequent upon its ever greater distribution which the progress of civilization has made possible, the indifference to truth increases in direct proportion. With the spread of the irrationalist attitude the margin of misunderstanding in every field is steadily expanding. The immediate publicity engendered by commercial interests and the craving for sensation inflates simple differences of opinion into national hallucinations. The ideas of the day demand immediate results, whereas the great ideas have always penetrated very slowly. Like smoke and petrol fumes over the cities, there hangs over the world a haze of empty words.

-Johan Huizinga (In the Shadow of Tomorrow, p. 208-9)

Katharsis: thus the Greeks called the state of mind produced by the spectacle of the tragedy, the stillness of heart in which compassion and fear have been dissolved, the purification of the soul which springs from having grasped a deeper meaning in things; which creates a grave and new preparedness for acts of duty and the acceptance of fate; which breaks the hybris: as it was seen to be broken in the tragedy; which liberates from the violent passions of life and leads the soul to peace.

For the spiritual clarification which our time needs, a new askesis: will be necessary. The bearers of a purified culture will have to be like those waking in an early dawn. They will have to shake off evil dreams. The dream of their soul which grew up out of the mud and would sink back into it. The dream of their brain which was but steel wire and their heart of glass. The dream of their hands growing into claws and the tusks between their lips. They will have to remind themselves that man can will himself not to be an animal.

The new askesis: will not be one of renunciation of the world for heavenly bliss; it will be one of self-domination and tempered appraisal of power and pleasure. The exaltation of life will have to be toned down a little. One will have to remember how Plato already described the occupation of the wise man as a preparation for death. A steady orientation of the life-consciousness on death heightens the proper use of life itself.

The new askesis: will have to be a surrender, a surrender to all that can be conceived as the highest. That can no more be nation or class than the individual existence of self. Happy those for whom that principle can only bear the name of Him who spoke: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

-Johan Huizinga (In the Shadow of Tomorrow, p.234-5)

The Uncarved is the realm within which things are allowed to go through the process of continual carving and un-carving. Its purpose is for gathering and research. Gathering together the insights and materials of the past for the betterment and raising up of the Present from the confusing murkiness within which everything now resides.

In short…this is solitudinus’ research space and therefore, if you enter, leave yourself at the door. You will only cause yourself pain if you wander in without being awake and aware. The foundation of things and our perception of them will be questioned. Everything here is to be and remain in question. We who reside here like to be on the brink; with an Abyss before and behind us. This is our freedom and joy. There is no room for sentimental attachments (unless of course they serve to illuminate the nature of attachment and sentimentality or to bring one to Katharsis). We seek here naught but the truth, the logos. We don’t care what you use to build yourself up or what prejudices you unconsciously carry with you. We Un-carve. We destroy and rebuild; We are not afraid.

This disclaimer, in general, I don’t think should be necessary, we should understand the proper limitations of intellectual rigour and the seriousness necessary thereby, but the growth of sentimentalism has made it too easy for people to be emotionally reactive. In one sense, this is good, in another, bad. Good in the sense that if the person being “sentimental” can free themselves from their over-attachment to the word or idea that has trapped and enslaved them, then they can come to a clear seeing, for themselves, of this truth. And it is, therefore, “bad”, because, if the person is unable, the emotions will cloud out the understanding of self and things, ie. reality.

solitudinus