The elementary masculine division is into precious and base, into good and bad. The secondary masculine division is the further division of the precious into silver (colourless precious) and gold (colourful precious). This essay describes more closely the paradigm of silver and the phenomena associated with it.
In biological terms, silver represents intelligence. It is the quality that arises from finding the correct balance of masculine and feminine to suit the situation, instead of the masculine extreme (represented by iron) or the feminine extreme (represented by clay). This means that silver does not win by violence, as does the iron, but rather by deception. It’s no coincidence that spiders spin silvery webs.
Characteristic of silver is that it shines or dazzles – hence the metonymn “silver screen” for the cinema screen. Silver is so amenable to polishing that it can be made into a mirror. This is symbolic for how a man of silver can be highly educated – to the point of being able to shine in oratory, scientific achievement, philosophy or letters. People of iron or clay cannot be polished so brightly on account of their inherent baseness.
Science, knowledge and social status is the paradigm of silver. This is its own hierarchy, entirely different to the hierarchy of iron, which is all about who can beat who in a fight. A college of men of silver would frown most heavily on the use of iron magic within their group. The hierarchy of silver is who knows the most about something. More esoterically, it refers to whoever can see physical reality the most accurately.
This is the basis for the power that silver magicians have over iron. It isn’t obvious how a physically weaker person can dominate a physically stronger one, and in a state of raw, primal nature it’s extremely difficult. It’s not necessarily enough to be more intelligent, because the physically stronger man might not respect that the man of silver is more intelligent, or they might simply not care. One must make use of that intelligence by performing silver magic.
Crucially, iron may be harder than silver and dominate it when it comes to physical battle, but silver will dominate it on all other occasions. Therefore, peace, order, civilisation and goodwill are all cultivated by the man of silver. Inventing alcoholic beverages, by means of which the muscle advantage of the man of iron can be neutralised, is an example of silver magic.
It’s necessary to note here that silver itself has no moral sense. For a person of silver, any non-violent way of gaining power is legitimate, including fraud. After all, fraud can be considered a battle of intellect, in which the person defrauded lacked the wit to defend themselves against the fraud attempt.
That doesn’t mean that silver is immoral, per se, rather that morality belongs to the paradigm of gold. Silver is perfectly capable of reducing the amount of suffering in the world. Indeed, it must do so to some extent, because it must bring peace and civilisation to all in order to counteract the physical dominance that the men of iron have.
Also characteristic of silver – and this is the crucial way in which it is different to gold – is a cold, ruthless elitism. This elitism is capable of manifesting all as kinds of narcissisms and resentments. This is otherwise known as the Conceit of Silver – it is bedazzled more than anyone else by its own reflection, by its own glory.
Neither does silver have any sympathy for the resentment caused by its apparent brilliance. In the mind of a person in the paradigm of silver, it’s simply natural for beings of clay and iron to understand that they are of lesser value to the person of silver. The conceit of silver is such that it cannot countenance the thought that everything has its own value, in its own niche.
Having said that, much of the self-regard that silver possesses is fair. The man of silver knows that if it had not been for his predecessors, the human animal would still be much like a monkey – it was he who mastered fire, he who developed the flint axe, he who understood the military advantage of a spear. That the man of iron has resented him ever since is due that the baseness inherent within iron.
It’s common for men of silver to identify with this as their primary characteristic and to eschew bonds of nationality, race or religion. Voltaire once wrote “When it comes to money, everyone is of the same religion”. Indeed, to the men of silver, being wealthy (in the sense of possessing alchemical silver) makes you part of an elite inner circle of initiates.
This can easily be observed in places of heavy concentration of silver, such as universities or the CBDs of major financial centres. In such places, it’s rare for anyone to express a will to enforce the rigid divisions between groups of people that the man of iron loves to enforce. No-one cares if you’re black, or gay, or from a religion that worships goats – as long as you have class.
To the silver magician, bonds of blood and solidarity are for plebs. All that matters is wealth. If I am wealthy and you are wealthy, then you are part of my ingroup, even if we are of different races, peoples, cultures etc. The man of iron sees this as a betrayal of blood, which helps to fuel his resentment and chagrin.
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