The Dog and Monkey Show
I originally discussed Letter X, The Wheel of Fortune, in the context of Eugene (the future Fr. Seraphim) Rose's Nihilism, which traces humanity's wails of misfortune through the stages of liberalism --> realism --> vitalism --> and nihilistic destruction. Thus, with the rise of Obama's fortunes the country has been plunged into misery and destitution. So things even out in the end.
In case you can't make out the action in the card, Tomberg says that it consists of "three figures in animal form of which two (the monkey and the dog) turn with the wheel, whilst the third (the sphinx) is beyond the movement of the wheel; he is seated on a platform above the wheel."
Tomberg continues: "The monkey descends in order to rise again; the dog rises in order to descend again." Thus, in the absence of the sphinx above, the wheel "evokes the idea of a vain and absurd game."
Which indeed life is and must be in the absence of the transcendent Third which accompanies us through life. It is without a doubt the most shocking feature of this cosmos, and renders any form of materialism utterly beside the point (of life, of cognition, and of existence itself).
The conquest and colonization of this transcendent position is the true vocation of man, but obviously the vast majority of men prefer the dog and monkey show, which is why the same returns. This theme informs most every page of Finnegans Wake, e.g., phall if you but will, rise you must, Mister Funn, you're going to be fined again, Gricks may rise and Troysirs fall, etc.
History may not repeat, but it c-certainly st-stutters. The plots change but the theme is pretty constant, otherwise we wouldn't recognize ourselves in the mirrors of revelation, history, and literature: True history flows beneath the facts, and both superstuctures and infrastructures are expressions of the climate of the soul (Davila).
Better yet: Those who prophesy more than indefinite alternations of decline and ascent are hiding some dubious product they want to sell for cash (ibid).
Tomberg goes on to enunciate the orthodox Raccoon position, which posits the existence of two metacosmic (meaning that they flow from outside time and space) movements (↓↑) that determine whether one's life will be a dreary wheel of fatuity or a veritable merry growround:
"The one is based on the idea of the Fall, i.e., degeneration and descent from above below."
Importantly -- and this is a cornerstone of the whole cosmic innerprize -- "According to this class of ideas" -- which, of course, is from the vertical perspective -- "it is not the monkey who is the ancestor of man, but rather, on the contrary, it is man who is the ancestor of the monkey," the latter of which "is a degenerate and degraded descendent."
After all, if there is evolution, then by definition there is both involution and devolution (all of which reflect movements on the vertical plane, in, out, up, down, forward, and back).
If you have difficulty with this concept, just remember the self-evident fact that, just as God is not in the cosmos, but rather, vice versa, man is not in the world. Rather, the world is essentially -- or a priori -- in the human soul. It's all in here, just waiting to be discovered and unpacked -- even atheism (but only in the devolving stream of man-to-monkey).
(To be perfectly accurate, God is in the cosmos, but only as a consequence of being beyond it; in other words, immanence is posterior to transcendence. Or, God's transcendence results in a kind of pouring or overflowing into the world. In mirrorlike fashion, consciousness is in the world and the world is in consciousness, but one of these must be prior.)
It cannot be emphasized too strangely that this inwardness is like the bush that burns but is never consumed. In the words of Eckhart, "It is remarkable that anything should pour forth and yet remain within."
This pouring forth takes place in the "deep within," so to speak, and "when I say the inmost, I mean the highest, and when I say the highest, I mean the inmost part of the soul -- there I mean them both together in one," a place "where time never entered" (ibid).
So the Wheel of Fortune depicts a quasi-human entity who is on the way down -- yes, you may think of him as a leftist.
In contrast, the sphinx "represents the plane and stage of being from which the monkey is moving and towards which the dog is approaching." Now, "Does not the monkey lend itself marvelously to serve as a symbol of the animalization which is effected at the expense of the Angelic and human elements of the prototype being?"
Yes, I just said that -- a leftist.
Man is poised between the two extremes of existence, the spiritual and the material. We are lured by vertical memoirs of the former and hypnotically seduced by misplaced hopes in the latter. Schuon has written that man is "condemned to the absolute," but I prefer to think of it as having a passion for wholeness and a gnostalgia for eternity. The one is aspiration, the other inspiration, or exhalation and inhalation. Our very breath reminds us of the rhythm of eternity. Which is why leftism is I-Amphysema.
An insurmountable problem with Darwinian fundamentalism is that it deals with only half -- the lesser half -- of the circle, which ignores "the ultimate as well as the effective cause of the whole process of evolution," without which it is unintelligible (to the awakened intellect, not to tenured bipeds falling up the academic ladder). Darwinism will always be unintelligible in so far as it "refuses to accept the other half of the circle, that of involution."
Understood esoterically, evolution embodies the mystery of "Fall, perdition, redemption and salvation." As such, one must understand that Darwinism really is fully intelligible to people who have exiled themselves from the fulness of reality. But it would be incorrect to say that they have it "half right," for half of reality is actually no reality, being that it is analogous to living in the "outside" while denying the existence of an inside.
The metaphysical Darwinian is actually a passenger of evolution, not a witness, for to witness it is to have transcended it -- i.e., to have realized the larger circle in the flesh. But of course it is an open circle, so that it constitutes the spiraling ontological and temporal structure of being.
Now back to the dialectics of nihilism. Let us stipulate that religion deals with absolute truth, or at least purports to do so. In the end, in the absence of absolute truth, the only option left open to an intellectually honest person is nihilism, because nihilism is simply the doctrine of relativity drawn out to its logical conclusion.
An honest nihilist such as Nietzsche realizes this: God is dead and therefore man becomes God and everything is possible. In the final analysis, the existence of God is the only thing that prevents intellectually consistent good King Leonardos from coming to the same sociopathic end as their Nietzsche brothers.
Scientific or logical truth is by definition relative truth. Thanks to Gödel, we know that there is no system of logic that can fully account for itself, or that can be both consistent and complete. Rather, completeness is always purchased at the price of consistency, while a rigidly consistent system will be incomplete -- say, a consistent program of materialism or determinism. Such a philosophy will leave much of reality -- including the most interesting parts -- outside its purview. This is why Marxism is such an inadequate theory. In explaining everything, it explains nothing. But at least it’s rigidly consistent, like Darwinism.
Once we have abandoned the absolute and descended into relativity, then what necessarily follows is multiculturalism, moral relativism, deconstruction, “perception is reality,” etc. All cultures become equally cherished, with the exception of the culture that believes some cultures are better than others. All truths are privileged with the exception of Truth itself.
Ironically, in the relative world of nihilism, I am necessarily all. The world literally revolves around I, since my truth is absolute. The ultimate questions have no answers except for those I might provide.
This is why leftist academia has become so corrupt, for how can it not be “corrupting to hear or read the words of men who do not believe in truth?” “It is yet more corrupting to receive, in place of truth, mere learning and scholarship which, if they are presented as ends in themselves, are no more than parodies of the truth they were meant to serve, no more than a facade behind which there is no substance” (Rose).
The emptiness of relativism evokes the next stage in the nihilist dialectic, realism. This is a novel type of debased realism that entirely excludes the vertical and affirms that only the horizontal realm is real -- that is, the material, external, and quantifiable world. In one fallen swoop, this philosophy of unreality becomes the paradigmatic lens through which mankind is now supposed to view the world. Thus, we somehow purchase "reality" at the price of our own absolute unreality. How is that supposed to work?
My book begins with a quote from Richard Weaver: “The modernistic searcher after meaning may be likened to a man furiously beating the earth and imagining that the finer he pulverizes it, the nearer he will get to the riddle of existence. But no synthesizing truths lie in that direction. It is in the opposite direction that the path must be followed.” Nevertheless, it is in this downward direction that our fall inevitably takes us.
Here philosophy is officially replaced by modern misosophy: hatred of wisdom. It is a childishly naive ideology that confuses what is most obvious with what is most true, and what is most fundamental with what is most real. The cosmos is officially turned upside-down and inside-out, incoherently elevating insentient matter to the the ultimate.
As Father Rose writes, “Worship of fact is by no means the love of truth; it is, as we have already suggested, parody. It is the presumption of the fragment to replace the whole; it is the proud attempt to build a Tower of Babel, a collection of facts, to reach to the heights of truth and wisdom from below.
"But truth is only attained by bowing down and accepting what is received from above. All the pretended ‘humility’ of Realist scholars and scientists... cannot conceal the pride of their collective usurpation of the throne of God...”
Such an individual “becomes a fanatical devotee of the only reality that is obvious to the spiritually blind: this world.” Human beings are reduced to races or classes, spiritual love to animal sex, higher needs to lower desires, while the earth is elevated to Goddess, the dramatic to the significant, the celebrity to the important. A new kind of human monster emerges -- for a monster is simply a human being existing outside the human archetype -- and takes his place a bit lower than the beasts.
And Those who live in the twilight of history imagine that the day is being born when night is approaching. --Davila