Irrational Rationalism Wednesday, Jul 9 2008 

It is important to understand that rationalism is not itself rational. Rationalism cannot be derived from the reason. It is an arbitrary dogma. And yet it is upon this dogma that the outlook of the post 17th-century Western world has based itself.

There is an old story told by Sai Platina in Aristasia and also by the great Tellurian teacher Plato. It tells of people who lie chained in a cave so that they are always looking at the wall of the cave. On that wall they see shadows and they spend their lives watching those shadows. One day a maid breaks free from the cave and goes outside to see the real things that are casting shadows on the wall.

Now that cave is the material world, and the shadows are the material things we see about us. Every tradition teaches that the material things we see are the shadows or reflections of higher things. Everything on earth has an Archetype, which is its true and perfect Form, of which the material entity is only an imperfect shadow.

The world of shadows is also called the sensible world because the shadows are the material things that we perceive with our physical senses – we see and hear and touch them.

The real things seen by the maid who left the cave is called the intelligible world, because the Pure Forms, or Archetypes, are not seen with the physical eyes, but with the Single Eye of the Intellect. They are seen by great contemplatives and saints, and they are also told about in myths and sacred books.

Now suppose one of the people still chained in the cave said to the maid who had left the cave:

“You are lying, there is nothing outside this cave.”

“Why do you say that?” asks the maid who has left the cave.

“Because I have not seen it.” replies the rationalist.

That is precisely what the doctrine of rationalism consists of: the illogical and arrogant denial that anything exists outside the material world of the five senses. Has she any rational reason for denying what all tradition tells her to be true? She has not. She merely repeats: “I have not seen it, so it does not exist.”

That is why rationalism is inherently irrational: and, frankly, naughty. A world based on the rationalist denial of higher Reality is like a group of naughty children who have got together to deny what all the grown ups tell them because they have not seen it for themselves and cannot bear that anyone should know better than them.

Quoting Nietzsche Monday, May 19 2008 

Miss B* raised a fascinating question:
In Alice Lucy Trent’s The Feminine Universe, a key Aristasian study text, the first chapter, entitled “The Image of the Cosmos”, begins with a quotation from Friedrich Nietzsche: “The total nature of the world is… all eternity chaos, not in the sense that necessity is lacking, but in that order, structure, form, beauty, wisdom and whatever other human aesthetic notions we may have are lacking…..Let us beware of attributing to it heartlessness and unreason or their opposites: it is neither perfect nor beautiful nor noble, and has no desire to become any of these…..neither does it know any laws. Let us beware of saying there are laws in nature. There are only necessities. There is no one to command, no one to obey, no one to transgress….. Let us beware of saying that death is the opposite of life. The living being is only a species of the dead, and a very rare species.”

A “species of the dead”, eh? I know I am not very good in the mornings, but I object to being called a “species of the dead”! What the blazes is old Fred driving at with that particular line of thought? (Oh dear, I fear that I am sounding rather like my sister, Eve! She came home for a weekend visit, and perhaps some of her “banter” has been left lurking) What I mean to say is, how can it be that “the living being is a species of the dead”? and why “a very rare species”? Also, what does Miss Trent intend in opening her book with such a quotation? The subtitle to The Feminine Universe is “An Exposition of the Ancient Wisdom from the Primordial Feminine Perspective”. So how does Herr Nietzsche lead in to such themes? I suppose one clear answer is to get through the entire chapter and see the full picture.

Miss Serendra Serelique replied:
To begin with, those unfamiliar with the chapter being discussed may find it here. As you will see, the quotation with which it opens is put forward not as an example of the Aristasian philosophy, but of its opposite. The point being made is that while this outlook may seem stark and brutal, it is logically the same as the popular “scientistic” (as opposed to scientific) view of the universe that is inculcated by the schools and mass-media of Telluria and believed by most people.

What we have to consider here is the particular expression used by Nietzsche: “Let us beware of saying that death is the opposite of life. The living being is only a species of the dead, and a very rare species.”

This is the culmination of a series of statements denying that the universe possesses order, harmony or intelligence — a denial that is perfectly logical, and indeed necessary, if one adheres to the view that the universe is simply an accidental phenomenon — a chance falling-together of atoms and molecules — rather than a manifestation of a higher or spiritual principle. And let us note that these two views are the only two possible. There is no middle ground between them. Nietzsche’s view may sound extreme, but it is not extreme. It is only a statement in very plain and frank language of what the materialist or accidentalist view of the universe really involves.

And let us further note that this materialist or accidentalist view, while it is utterly predominant in the thought-world of modern Telluria, is a very isolated and strange one. It has never been conceived of in any continent but Europe, and not in Europe before the seventeenth century. Every other people, every other civilisation, has adhered to some form of Essentialism. That is, to the belief that the manifest universe is the creation or reflection or emanation of a spiritual Principle, whether that Principle be called God or the Tao, Brahman or Atman.

And even though such a view has its roots in the seventeenth-century “enlightenment” (a curious name if ever there was one!) it did not become fully formed or even fully possible until Nietzsche’s time — that is, the later nineteenth century. So Nietzsche is considering a new phenomenon; a new view of the world: a view so appalling that Nietzsche expresses his reaction to it thus:

Who gave us a sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving now? Away from all suns… Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is more and more night not coming on all the time?

He is not opposed to this view. He is promoting it. But he is expressing it in all the starkness of its real implications. Miss Trent notes later in the book that while Nietzsche is expounding a radically anti-traditional view he is doing so in terms of traditional symbolism. Everywhere the Sun symbolises the Spirit or the Divine. Again and again in tradition we find the Great Chain which connects all beings and runs from Heaven (the Sun, the Spirit) to earth. Nietzsche talks of the modern accidentalist philosophy in terms of breaking the Chain and losing the light and warmth of the Sun.

So on to this enigmatic statement: The living being is only a species of the dead, and a very rare species. On the face of it, that is not so terribly mysterious. If life itself (according to a certain rather tendentious extension of Darwinian theory, which made total accidentalism theoretically possible for the first time) is the mere falling-together of carbon and hydrogen molecules under certain freak circumstances — if life, in other words, derives purely and solely from dead matter, then we may say that the living being is a species of the dead. A very rare one because only by the most extraordinary set of coinciding chances can this “life” be produced at all.

This, clearly enough, is what Nietzsche means; but what a peculiar and very telling way of expressing it. As in the Sun and Chain passage above, the entire background to this anti-traditional exposition is Tradition itself. The living being is a species of the dead: why? Because Life in the sense that Tradition has always understood it — the Divine Spark, the Breath of Spirit — is absent.

By a curious and very profound use of Language, Nietzsche reveals that in his heart he knows that the accidentalist view of life, the falling-together of bits and pieces of dead matter, is not actually life at all. Such a life, if it were (as he believes is to be) the nature of living beings, would not really be life at all, but only a species of the dead.

Traditional Measures and Rationalism Wednesday, Apr 9 2008 

Miss Violet Viola considers numbers:
Measurements as “cold numbers with an abstract unit” are indeed a Rationalistic behaviour. Measurements before this period were less “numerical” and had a lot to do with the essence of things. Length measurements for the Romans and ancient populations were “arms” and “steps”. Liquid measurements were “amphors”. These measurement units were somehow “tangible”, not “abstract”. The metre was established in 1791, in the period of the Rationalistic revolution, and its meaning or reason is something abstract, while the yard is more linked to the tangible physical reality.

Aristasia is a world where things have a deeper link between themselves. The so-called (for and by Tellurians) “invisible world” is not so invisible in Aristasia. There is a relationship between things, between everything.

Lady Aquila expands on these ideas:

The French Revolution, with its aggressive and regicidal this-worldly rationalism, forced the metric system first on France and then on most of Europe. It was a system deliberately conceived to eradicate the “superstitious” (read spiritual and traditional) nature of real measurements.

Traditional Geometry was passed to patriarchal Europe, from much more ancient sources, by Pythagoras and Plato, both of whom were fully aware of its higher significance: a significance still expounded (though rarely understood) by the teachers of the surviving symbolic system of Freemasonry – one of the last West-Tellurian examples of a true traditional generation-to-generation transmission of doctrine.

Your picture of Geometria is very significant. Geo-metria means earth-measurement. And while the earth is strongly represented with its mountains, trees and rivers, Geometria does not touch it. Indeed her lower parts – the legs and feet which would connect her to the physical earth – are missing. She floats in a cloud, signifying spiritual or angelic quality, and yet she inscribes the fundamental shapes on which all earthly things are based.

Contemplating her image, we learn something of the apparent contradiction between true and false measurement.

True, traditional measurement seems on the surface much more concrete. Its terms relate to feet, paces and thumbs – and yet it is based in the higher principles of being.

False, rationalistic, measurement seems purely abstract. Its names mean nothing but “measure” plus fractional numbers. And yet is is bound wholly to the visible world and is entirely ignorant of every trace of higher significance.

Also see The Image of the Cosmos and Aristasian Standards

The Year of Sai Sushuri Saturday, Mar 22 2008 

As this year started on a Friday, it is ruled by Sai Sushuri. This is an edited version of the article on the janya from The Seven Great Janyati.

Sai Sushuri rules every kind of love, as well as beauty. At its root, all love is Divine Love, just as all beauty is Divine Beauty. It is the love of Dea for Her creation, the love of the soul for Dea and of Her creatures for one another. Just as beauty is the beauty of Dea, so love is the love of Dea. When we love Her, we do so with Her own love; hence the prayer to Dea to “Come into us as a perfect love for Thee”.

The Sushuric principle is often taken as the opposite of the Vikhelic. From another perspective, however, the true opposite of the Vikhelic principle is the Sushuri-Thamic. Love, beauty, order and harmony are closely woven together. Under normal circumstances, vikhë too is part of this harmony. Only in the Age of Iron, when the Vikhelic influence becomes disproportionate, is opposition between the principles noticeable (this is natural, since opposition itself is Vikhelic).

In Telluria, the polarity of femininity and masculinity is a polarity between the Sushuric and Vikhelic principles. In Aristasia the polarity between blonde and brunette is between the Sushuric and Thamic principles, which may be seen as a polarity between love and duty or between mercy and severity. However, the true principle of severity is that of Sai Rhavë, and we may see (to borrow a Quabbalistic expression) Sai Sushuri as the Pillar of Mercy and Sai Rhavë as the Pillar of Severity, with Sai Thamë as the central pillar, holding the two in balance.

In terms of spiritual paths, Sai Sushuri rules the Path of Love (or bhakti marga), and thus has a special significance for the Age of Iron. It is not a coincidence that bhakti is recommended as the most natural path for the Age of Iron and that the Sushuric principle is the opposite of the Vikhelic.

Sai Sushuri governs love at every level, from individual love and the love of family to a society bound together by concord and goodwill rather than by competition and the clash of parties and interests. Ultimately all these loves flow from and depend upon the love of the Mother. That love is the spiritual foundation of Aristasia.

The Question of Evil Sunday, Mar 9 2008 

Miss Annya Miralene wrote:

The Question of Evil is a decidedly Western question. Not because it does not exist elsewhere, but because it tends elsewhere to be formulated in other terms. The post-classical Western mind has had an increasingly “moral” orientation, tending to formulate questions in moral terms.

Where Christianity speaks of the Problem of Sin, both the Hindu and the Platonist would tend to talk of the Problem of Ignorance. A bad person, essentially, for both traditions, is one who is ill-instructed.

The Filianic strand in Aristasian thealogy identifies Khalha as the personification of evil. Others would identify the separation of beings from Dea, which is manifestation, as the source of what is termed “evil”, while again others would point out that evil things that happen are the results of werde (karma). None of these explanations contradicts the others – they are all complementary perspectives. All would also agree with St. Augustine that evil is privatio boni – that is a void or negative: the absence of the Good.

That the principle of evil lies in matter might seem to be an extension of the idea that “evil” is inherent in manifestation itself, but it is a rather unsubtle one, and can lead to dualism of the Manichaean sort. Actually there is an ambiguity in manifestation that can be seen in much orthodox thought (cf. the commentaries on the Angelic Hymn). Manifestation is both delusion and mercy – a conundrum that cannot be resolved wholly in discursive terms (which themselves belong to manifestation) but only from the point of Enlightenment beyond manifestation.

This is only a very brief canter over a highly complex subject, but I hope it gives food for thought.

What is Myth? Monday, Mar 3 2008 

Sushuri Novaryana wrote:

Some members of a Western Hindu group recently raised objections to the teaching of Hindu sacred stories as “myths”. This was presumably because the word “myth” in modern Tellurian terminology is often used as a synonym for “something untrue” – truth being here defined as correspondence to material or factual realities.

Sri Ananda Coomaraswamy, on the other hand, begins his essay “The Vedanta and Western Tradition” with the words: “There have been teachers such as Orpheus, Hermes, Buddha, Lao-tzu and Christ, the historicity of whose human existence is doubtful and to whom may be accorded the higher dignity of mythical reality.”

No doubt this was intentionally provocative to his Western readers. Its aim is to challenge them to consider an important truth. Myths are not mere factual inveracities. To quote from The Feminine Universe:

“We may say that history tells of events that might or might not have happened, while myth tells of ‘events’ (or rather transcendent Realities couched in the form of events) that cannot not be.”

A pupil recently asked me “But why do we need to be told things in the form of myths? Why don’t traditions come right out and say what they mean?”

Now this question really brings us to the crux of the whole question, and to the problem of modern (i.e. Rajasic) rationalism. The question firstly confuses myth with allegory, or parable. An allegory is a story which tells us – in narrative and parabolic form – things that could just as easily have been stated by discursive explication. It has its uses and has been used by great teachers, including those mentioned by Sri Coomaraswamy, but it is something quite different from myth.

Allegories and parables are of human creation. Myths are not. Allegories and parables put into story form things that can be paraphrased in “plainer” words. Myths tell of things that cannot be paraphrased. Things that are not prehensible to discursive reason.

The reason that the modern world finds this so difficult to understand is because of its underlying doctrine of rationalism. When one criticises rationalism, people sometimes suppose that one is speaking against reason. Quite the contrary. Reason is of the utmost importance, and we can do little without it. But the doctrine of rationalism goes much further than this. It states – or assumes that only those things that can be grasped by the reason exist. That anything we can know must be possible to be stated in discursive words. Hence the assumption that if myths tell us something, we should be able to “come right out and say” that something.

Myths and Archetypes are, as Plato taught, and as every tradition teaches, pointers toward the Truth that lies beyond the sensible world: and even such a statement as that risks being undervalued by the modern mind. Until we are realised beings, until we reach final Enlightenment, Myths and Archetypes are the closest approach we have to Truth. And even when we are Enlightened we shall not cast aside those Myths: we shall see them in their true Reality.

Thus, when patriarchal religions return to the Vision of the Mother in the precise forms in which She has always manifested Herself (for example, when Mary is hailed by the title Queen of Heaven – the very name against which Jeremiah inveighed against the Hebrew women for honouring with prayer and ritual), we are seeing the inexorable return of names and forms that are in the very fabric not only of our consciousness, but of the cosmos itself: and ultimately are the name and form of She from Whom the cosmos proceeds and to Whom it will return in the fullness of time.

The Feminine Universe Monday, Sep 17 2007 

The Feminine Universe

The Feminine Universe by Alice Mary Trent is the first systematic exposition of the Perennial Wisdom. It is an attempt to express in the clearest possible terms and in the smallest possible space the Primordial Philosophy accepted and understood in all times and in all places before the aberrations of the modern world. It gives this philosophy in its feminine form – that being the earliest known on this earth.

Ananda Coomaraswamy described traditional societies as “unanimous societies”: that is societies not fragmented by conflicting factions and opinions, but united by a single, essential Truth. And this unanimity exists – though often unrecognised—not only within all traditional societies, from the red Indian medicine lodge to the Chinese temple, from the Siberian shaman to the Indian guru, from the Platonic West to the Confucian East, but between all traditional societies. Each one is founded upon the same essential, unchanging truths, even though they may express these truths in superficially different ways. Each one is a unique expresion of the Sophia Perennis, the primordial, changeless and eternal wisdom that is the common heritage of all humanity.

While many books have been written about this Primordial Tradition, this is the first one to expound it systematically in its salient features. That alone would make it a book of the greatest significance, but, within an extraordinarily short space, this book does much more than that. It also discusses the essentially feminine nature of the earliest traditions and shows the importance of this in the development of the historical cycle and its special relevance to the developments of the last few decades.

Writers such as René Guénon and Ananda Coomaraswamy have expounded the Sophia Perennis in many volumes. They have done so from a purely metaphysical and Traditional perspective (which is necessarily the highest and truest). While this book certainly expounds metaphysical Truth. which is indeed its very core, it also examines the consequences and ramifications of traditional thought from a lower, more ‘human’ perspective. It takes a fresh look at post-Enlightenment culture, analysing both its faults and its virtues, and shows how, even up to the earlier 20th century, the Traditional spirit remained vital in the aesthetic and cultural life of the Western world. What is necessary is to distinguish between those ‘modern’ developments that are legitimate Final Fruits and those which are truly malignant aberrations.

In the light of this, the book examines phenomena which Guénon and Coomaraswamy did not live to see and comment on: the cultural collapse of the 1960s with its complete inversion of normal values, and most terrible of all, the destruction of femininity and the creation of an unbalanced world in which the Masculine Principle has come to dominate the culture absolutely, extirpating femininity even from the heart of woman herself. This book explains the traditional value of femininity and its essential superiority. It exposes the modern attack on femininity and the absurd doctrine that this cosmic Reality is the result of ‘social conditioning’. It shows how what is being lost by the totalitarian imposition of an all-masculine culture is something of immeasurable importance to our spiritual health and our very survival.

The Feminine Universe, a 128-page paperback, can now be bought via PayPal for $19.99 (approximately £10) including postage. See The Ancient Wisdom

Sai Raya and the Sun Wednesday, Jun 13 2007 

Sai Raya is the Sun: the Great Luminary. As such, she is the Janya most immediately assimilable to Dea Herself (though all the Janyati may be seen as Her Aspects). Her Aristasian name means simply The Lady, as well as The Radiant. Raya is the Aristasian word for Lady (in the Lord sense —
there is no such specific word in English). Dea is sometimes addressed as Raya (Lady) even when
the specific Aspect of Sai Raya, the Sun, is not intended. Her ancient Greek name is Theia, which is simply the feminine form of God, equivalent to Dea.

Very much might be said about the Sun. She is the Primordial Light, and it goes without saying that the physical luminary that represents Her in the material solar system is but an outward body or symbol of Her, just as the Sacred Mountain may be incarnated in some particular mountain on earth. The modern mind, with its shallow rationalism, finds it hard to grasp how very real is the incarnation of the Sacred Mountain in, say Mount Sinai, Mount Meru or Mount Olympus, how for their respective Traditions they are the one Sacred Mountain. But the Sun is a little simpler to understand, for there is only and can only be one Sun for the whole of terrestrial humanity.

And so materialism can fall into the opposite error — that of confusing the Supernal Sun with Her outward body (and so ludicrously imagining that traditional peoples worship “what we now know to be a ball of gas”). Sai Raya was before there was an earth to light or a Sun to light her. The same may be said of the Moon, and of each of the planets. They are Eternal Principles: principles that existed before our cosmos came into being and that will exist when all the worlds are dust.

As a principle governing terrestrial life, Sai Raya’s influence (the word “influence” means, originally and literally, a “flowing-in” from the “stars”, or celestial beings) is the most expansive and positive of all. Among the attributes of this influence are generosity, wealth, health, radiance and pride (pride in the negative sense is also the earthly perversion of the Stream of Sai Raya).

The Sun, as symbolic centre of the macrocosm, is equivalent to the heart in the microcosm of the human body and the hearth-fire in the microcosm of the house. Thus it is that Intelligence is situated in the heart (governed by Sai Raya) and reason in the head (governed by Sai Candre). Needless to say, we are speaking of subtle centres, not of the mere bodily heart and head.

See also
The Seven Great Janyati
Sai Candre and the Moon

Aristasians vs. “Science” Tuesday, Jun 12 2007 

A lot of Aristasians object to the use of the word “science” pure and simple (which means simply “knowledge”) to describe a purely material discipline which was formerly known more accurately by such names as physical science” or “natural philosophy”.

Aristasians oppose the rationalistic doctrine which states that our only sources of knowledge are the five senses and the action of the brain on the data provided by them. Some ill-educated people believe that this doctrine is “scientific” or even that it is the basis of “science”. It is not. It is a creed or dogma professed by people known as rationalists or positivists. The only thing it as in common with material science is that that discipline (or group of disciplines) restricts itself to the sense-data and the workings of the reason upon them. No serious philosopher of science would claim that this in any way proves that the sense-data tell us all that exists, any more than an anatomist would claim that there is nothing outside the human body.

Unfortunately, a large number of semi-educated people – including some unphilosophical scientists – believe that “science” proves that there is nothing beyond the material: which is rather like believing that plane geometry proves that there is no third dimension.

Aristasia has no quarrel whatever with the claims of “science” within its own domain (always remembering that, according to the empirical philosophy on which this “science” is founded such claims can only ever be provisional and based on varying degrees of probability). We do deny all claims of “science” to pronounce on matters beyond its domain – as would any serious philosopher of “science”.

We may also analyse “scientific” questions from the standpoint of traditional philosophy and metaphysics, asking how they fit into the larger picture of the universe, physical and non-physical. And we do ultimately assert the primacy of metaphysics over science – the former being based on First Principles and the latter being only a series of provisional hypotheses based on our very limited human senses.

In the last analysis, if “science” contradicts metaphysics, then “science” must clearly be wrong. But in fact much of the time it is right, as one would expect from a precise observation of the workings of the material world. When it is wrong, the errors often spring from confusing genuine perception and analysis with the doctrinal statements of rationalism and the emotional and mythologising needs of a rationalistic society. The theory of evolution is a case in point here. The story-picture provided by “evolution” is crucial to the modern world-myth, which is why the theory has resisted the radical overhauls that took place in other scientific spheres during the 20th century, adhering rigidly to a 19th-century model despite the overwhelming evidence against it. But here we are in the realm of pseudo-theology rather than “science”.

Werde and the Power of Maid Saturday, May 26 2007 

Aside from the major distinction between being born into an Axial or a non-Axial state, are there differing degrees of opportunity for spiritual progression according to the precise nature of the Axial state one is born into?

Hindu texts speak of the rarity of the opportunity for liberation – not only the rarity of the human state itself, but then the rarity of being born into a brahmin family and of having other opportunities for liberation.

Applying this to our current situation, one may say that not only the Axial state itself, but the type of society we are born into, the level of intelligence we are born with, our natural propensity for spiritual endeavour; all these are factors determining the level of opportunity we actually possess.

And each of these factors is determined by our werde (to use the Aristasian term) or karma. In other words, our level of opportunity is not simply a matter of luck, but is the result of our actions and choices in previous existences.

Maid is defined as “she who has the power of choice”. The term “maid” is connected to the words “may” and “might” — “might” in particular being a word that emphasises the close relationship between choice and power — a thing might or might not happen, and one has the might to choose. Among Latin-based words the close relation between potency and potentiality expresses the same thing. So, by definition, even the maid with the least opportunity still possesses some power of spiritual choice, which the animals and other non-Axial beings do not.

So take the maid who is born in the Pit — perhaps in a very unpropitious part of the Pit (for example, one with little recognition of God) — and with very little intelligence, so that her ability to criticise the Pit is virtually nil. Even so, she may choose to lead a good life, to do good deeds rather than bad ones; she may turn toward whatever form of God she encounters.

All these actions may ensure her not only an Axial birth, but a more propitious one in her next existence.

And let us also realise that actions which for another might be downward steps might for her be upward steps.

We can never judge the actions of another, nor can we make judgements based on her circumstances. Werde is a subtle and intricate matter, a weaving of many threads, of which we can see only the tips that touch our world.

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