VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger VIII

This reading continues on from here.

The 22nd essay in Ride The Tiger is called ‘Dissolution of Modern Art’. Much like everything else, Evola contends that art has also degenerated. In the case of art, it has degenerated into a feminine subjectivity that is too afraid to say anything. Now we can no longer even speak of traditional art because no-one has any idea what that even is.

In this essay Evola echoes Plato’s description of the degeneration of political forms, only applied to the world of art. Modern art would be best served by achieving maximum craptitude, because that would provide the clean spiritual slate upon which something authentic could be written. Literature is also criticised as “fetishising” human relationships and merely documenting them with full banality.

As in many previous essays, Evola concludes that art has been given too great an importance, to the detrimental of the spiritual. What gives meaning to life can exist “even in the virtual absence of art”. Art has, in reality, undermined idealism, especially in the modern world. Positive realism lies in the assertion of values such as truth and spiritual courage. That which truly has value needs no consensus to agree.

The 23rd essay is ‘Modern Music and Jazz’. Evola has a keen interest in music and understands its development over the course of recent centuries. Perhaps weirdly, Evola writes here about the “preponderance of dance music over vocal and emotional music” – a sentiment shared by many today. He considers that the drift towards nihilism in philosophy and art has been echoed by one in music.

Music has, according to Evola, developed in ways that mirror the development of all other social movements. Therefore, the advent of jazz is no surprise – it is merely the democratisation of music, something “primitively ecstatic”. This doesn’t mean that jazz is crude, though, or that jazz players are unskilled musicians. It simply heralds the return to the world of fundamental, elemental forces.

This “Negro music” is associated with “dark forms of ecstasy” in Evola’s reckoning. He compares the feelings that arise from dancing to rhythmic music to the frenzies of the dervishes: “possessions of savage ritual”. Despite frequently being paired with drugs, these occasions cannot be compared to the ancient rites of Dionysus etc. because there is nothing sacred about them – they are mere escapism.

On the subject of drugs, the 24th essay is ‘Excursus on Drugs’. Evola considers drugs to “most visibly have the goal of an ecstatic escape”. Some of the people who choose such an escape are those who have perceived the meaninglessness of human existence. Others are “neurotics and psychopaths”. Part of the danger of drugs is, like rhythmic music, they can be used to open up awareness to a suprasensible world, such as in initiatory ritual.

Despite this caution, Evola gives due credit to the use of various drugs in sacred ritual. The Taoists considered even the use of alcohol to have a kind of magical effect, and he mentions the Central American shamanic traditions that made much use of mescaline, peyote and psilocybin mushrooms. However, he also points out that no-one really understands how to use these sacraments anymore, because no-one is capable of the necessary spiritual preparation. This leads to the risk of “possession by dark powers”.

If used correctly, nonprofanely, drugs offer the possibility of coming into contract with a superior dimension of reality. Stimulants and depressants can more or less be ignored for these purposes. Hallucinogens are excellent but have many drawbacks; their ancient use involved guiding the trip with symbols and a preliminary catharsis of emotion, two things that are seldom done today. Narcotics can be useful for the sake of dissociating from the mundane but the experience is hard to control.

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VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger VII

This reading continues on from here.

Part Five of Ride The Tiger is called ‘Dissolution of Consciousness and Relativism’ and is comprised of two essays.

The first of these is called ‘The Procedures of Modern Science’. Here Evola begins by describing how the Western idea of Western supremacy upholds itself by appeal to its achievements in materialist science. Evola thinks that this is a gross error, and goes as far as to say that “None οf modern science has the slightest value as knowledge.” It is concerned with statistics and probability rather than truth.

The cult of scientific objectivity that Evola decries is all too willing to discard currently-held theories in favour of ones that, if adopted, provide temporary gains in terms of political power. This supposed objectivity, instead of leading to ever-refining truth, has merely caused science to lose itself chasing shadows. Einstein’s theory of relativity comes in for special criticism, being notable only for producing the bomb.

Scientism has only led to a kind of cult of quantity, which has made people obsessed with numbers and formulas and abstractions, so that we have forgotten what reality actually is and what it’s about. It’s a false logic, and it’s grossly unsuitable for anyone with spiritual pretensions.

The twentieth essay is called ‘Covering Up Nature – Phenomenology’ and continues the theme of the inadequacy of the scientific culture. Science hasn’t really got us any closer to the nature of reality, and each new “advance” merely takes us further away. After all, the world of our actual experience is still made up of fire, air, earth and water, and mathematical abstractions tell us nothing about how to deal with these.

Modern man is destructive because scientism has conditioned him to see everything as soulless. Our compulsory education system brainwashes children with this perspective from when they are very small. Even worse is the popular delusion that science can replace religion in the sense that it might give humanity a promised path to future happiness. This delusion has caused much misery.

Alchemically, this essay continues the theme of decrying the men of silver, whose preoccupations have not and can not lead to spiritual absolution. Evola gives credit to the concerns of the men of silver in so far as the discipline of mathematics cultivates clarity of thought, but all of these intellectualisms ignore the spiritual. Once one has seen the “great illusion” it’s apparent that science cannot be sufficient to solve human needs.

The twenty-first essay is called ‘Sickness and the European Culture’ and comes back to the subject of European decadence. This essay is very short, at only three pages.

Here Evola reinforces the contention that European culture has become sick because it has lost its spiritual centre. With no shared sense of spiritual tradition, the forces holding society together have weakened, and some parts of it have broken away. The tragedy of World War II is considered a natural consequence of this process of technical and scientific advancement at the expense of spiritual knowledge.

Part of the problem, Evola holds, is that politics has become separated from an intellectual and cultural class that, in its conceit, has decided it’s above the political. This is not the fault of that class so much as it is a symptom of the collapse of the unifying, transcendent and spiritual ideas that lie underneath cultural expressions such as politics and the arts.

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The Masculine Approach, the Feminine Approach, and the Four Elementary Perceptions

If one wishes to divide the world into two halves, a problem immediately arises: on what basis does one make the division? There seem to be an infinite number of dimensions that a division can be made along. This essay argues that there are two orthogonal, fundamentally different ways to divide the world in two, and this leads to four elementary perceptions.

In its initial state, perception is untrammelled. When consciousness is united with God, one is aware of everything. From this state, the only way that change is possible is for this perfect perception to become occluded somewhere. Somewhere, consciousness must turn to unconsciousness, light to dark, warm to cold.

There are two ways to look at this inevitable fall from union with God. The first way is to simply perceive the change; the second way is to judge the change. This dichotomy is true of all distinctions between feminine and masculine, as the feminine is associated with the perception end of the perceiving-judging spectrum, and the masculine with the judging end.

This first way, making the choice to perceive, is the feminine way. This way divides the world into light and dark or hot and cold, where no judgment is made about one of the two being better than the other. The feminine way of dividing the world does so horizontally, in that the halves are seen as interdependent and as feminine and masculine.

The second way, making the choice to judge, is the masculine way. This way divides the world into good and bad, where good and bad are different to (but overlapping with) the feminine division of yin and yang. This way of dividing the world does so vertically, in that one half is judged to be worth more than the other half. Good is set above bad.

These two perceptions are just perceptions. Neither of them is right or wrong, and that isn’t important in any case. What is important is when these perceptions are useful, because either is useful in some situations and not in others.

Masculine is good when you have just come inside from the rain. Then, masculine is a warm cup of coffee. Feminine is good when you have just come inside from a hot day of playing sport in the Sun. Then, feminine is a cool beer. So either masculine or feminine can be good or bad in the moment, without a moral judgment needing to be made.

Likewise, judging is good when deciding whether to let a person into your house. It’s important to make sure that a person is not bad before opening your doors to them. Perceiving is good when trying to enjoy a piece of music, because it’s enough to just experience the sound and to let oneself by raised and lowered by it. Judging might take the fun out of it.

So the decision whether to perceive or to judge in any given moment depends on the environment a person is in and the situation around them. Generally speaking, if things are relaxed then people are inclined to perceive and if they are stressful people are inclined to judge. It also depends on inherent personality characteristics: women are more likely to break towards perceiving if in doubt, while men are more likely to break towards judging.

In all, this means that there are four different perspectives that one can take to anything in the world. Any other thing can be treated as either good, evil, yang or yin, depending on whether one chooses to primarily judge it or to primarily perceive it. Whichever of the four is chosen only makes sense in reference to the other three not chosen: bad is non-perceptive, non-good; good is non-perceptive, non-bad; feminine is non-judgmental, non-masculine, and masculine is non-judgmental, non-masculine.

This way of thinking (of dividing four elementary perceptions into two groups of two, based on approach) represents a middle point between the vertical, masculine logic of clay-iron-silver-gold and the horizontal, feminine logic of earth-water-air-fire. It might therefore claim to be a way of thinking that represented a higher degree of balance than the other two.

It also leads to them both after a small amount of extrapolation, because the distinction between good and evil is essentially identical to the distinction between precious (gold and silver) and base (iron and clay). Here gold distinguishes itself from silver by being double good, because silver is relatively bad as far as precious elements go. Likewise, iron is good in comparison to clay, because it is hard and can be used in tools, and is therefore relatively good as far as base elements go.

Likewise, the distinction between masculine and feminine is essentially identical to the distinction between warm (fire and air) and cold (water and earth). Here, fire distinguishes itself from air by being double masculine (i.e. it is hot and dry, not just hot), and earth distinguishes itself from water by being double feminine (i.e. it is cold and unyielding, not just cold).

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The Ultimate Power is to Make Peace With Death

Socrates was not wrong when he said “those who really apply themselves in the right way to philosophy are directly and of their own accord preparing themselves for dying and death.” The best thing a person can ever do is to accustom themselves to the fact that they are mortal and therefore that time on this planet is limited. To the extent that this can be achieved, a person can be liberated from a tremendous range of miseries.

All fear ultimately comes from a fear of death. The reason why pain is frightening is because we have evolved an instinctual appreciation that pain is a harbinger of death. When you are in pain, it means that Death has you in its sights. Pain gives us energy because we can instinctively appreciate the seriousness of the threat.

When kids fight each other in the playground, and they learn to force each other’s wills through violence, the natural fear of death possessed by each child makes this easy. A little bit of pain from a twisted arm, in the mind of someone young and inexperienced, is tantamount to a near-death experience, and so compliance is easily given. A little bit of social disapproval in the form of a stern teacher likewise.

It’s expected that adults will be a bit braver and harder to manipulate. Adults have had longer to come to terms with death, and in that time they might have overcome their fear of it. Failing that, they might have learned to behave in ways that hide their fear of it. Failing that, they might at least have found a way to trick themselves into going forward with some semblance of dignity.

The less fear of death any given adult has, the more powerful they will be. This is fundamentally a spiritual power, but it works its magic by way of its gradual effect on the people around its possessor (much like gold does). Someone unafraid of death will have charisma, they will inspire confidence, people will follow them, and people will respect them for having found existential solace. It’s a power more subtle than silver, but at the same time one with a much greater reach.

On the other hand, no-one is expected to make peace with death, or at least not entirely, for there is no public consensus of any kind as to what befalls consciousness upon the expiration of the physical body. Conviction in the matter of what does befall consciousness is reserved for a very few, most of whom are readily and fairly dismissed as some kind of religious fanatic who is merely parroting what they have been brainwashed with.

The gnosis of those who have seen beyond and know what lies beyond death is almost never accepted by the masses, and for good reason: the vast bulk of the people claiming to know are patently scammers, and so distrust is necessary and natural. Selling tickets to an afterlife in exchange for worldly goods has always been the default con job of the black priesthood, and one that may even have been practised in prehistory.

The Tao teaches us that, even in the time of the total triumph of yin, there is invariably a tiny speck of yang that will grow to impose a new order upon things. In a similar manner, all of these religious scammers have, in common, certain insights about the nature of life as a material being that remain true despite the horseshit layered on top of them. We all die, and we’re all afraid of it, and we’re all willing to take action to ameliorate that fear.

This column is willing to give you gold for free: once you make peace with death you are invincible, for all psychological weakness flows directly from the fear of it. Without a fear of death one cannot be threatened with torture, because death would simply mean a sweet release from such, and no other physical threat is as bad as torture. Without a fear of death, one cannot be intimidated in any way, for there is no reason to bow the knee to an oppressor if they are not able to materially hurt you.

A person who has made peace with their mortality will stand, on the metaphysical plane, like a great boulder of granite, which cannot be moved or damaged. The winds and waves of fear and dread will not impact such a person; they will barely change the expression on the face of one. A person who has made peace with death knows that there’s nothing more but to sit back and watch as the wave breaks upon the shore. The dissolution of the wave is something to be experienced, not feared.

However, there’s a risk.

The more you look into the face of death, the deeper you look into the void. What happens then is not necessarily up to you, not even with all the will in the world. As Nietzsche warned us, the void will also look into you. When it does, you might come to decide that life itself is evil on account of the inevitable suffering it promises and that death is to be welcomed and encouraged as a release from same and as a reunion with God.

And at that point it’s extremely easy to make a terrible mistake.

Do you have the courage to look into the very back of the void, with nothing more than a hope that one will be rewarded? This column can give no assurance that any person who does look will be the better off for it. Madness is an ever-present threat for those who do, for one might find that one’s will disintegrates under the weight of this hidden knowledge. All we can say is that one ought to prepare oneself thoroughly, for one is staking a claim to godhood and ought to expect that it will be commensurately challenging.

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VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger VI

This reading continues on from here.

Part Four of Ride The Tiger is called ‘Dissolution of the Individual’ and is comprised of three essays. The first of these, the sixteenth in the book, is called ‘The Dual Aspect of Anonymity’. Railing against the “collectivism, mechanization, standardization, and soullessness οf modern existence,” here Evola attempts to find an answer to the question of what is worth saving.

It’s at this point that Evola finally gets to the esotericism. Individualism is part of the problem facing us, he contends, because it has led to the atomisation of society. Worse, it has no spiritual basis. What is taken by Westerners to be the individual is not what a person really, fundamentally is.

In esoteric terms, Evola is here talking about the difference between silver and gold. Here the men of silver are decried for their pomposity and hypocrisy, for this has obscured the light of spiritual truth and made it more difficult for the men of gold to play their part. The false self must be transcended and the true self reconnected with, otherwise we will continue to flounder.

The seventeenth essay is called ‘Destructions and Liberations in the New Realism’. Here, Evola gives us for the first time a specific sense of what it might mean to “ride the tiger”. For him it is a life lived at the limit, in a way that actualises the “absolute person”. Most people who discover this do so through warfare, for it is here that an extreme lucidity stripping away all extraneous concerns can be achieved.

Evola makes vague hints at a gross feminising process that, he warns, will make any individualisation impossible. Crucially, however, this feminisation is necessary, to destroy the corruption of the old order. He continues to emphasise that any true revaluation of values must come from that “minority” who retain a sense of the transcendental. Anyone else will merely make the same mistakes that the other non-spiritual people have made.

What is necessary to move forwards from here is “a clear, detached, objective vision οf existence” and “a positive, existential incapacity to submit to ‘myths’ οf any kind whatsoever”. The new mythologies (such as Marxism) are not only doomed to fail, they are in fact signs of systemic failure.

The eighteenth essay is called ‘The “Animal Ideal” – the Sentiment of Nature’. Here Evola talks about the two fundamental spiritual orientations – the first being the hermit who lives without company and the second the wanderer who lives without fixed abode. Incredibly for an essay published in 1961, here Evola talks about the isolation and detachment that can be caused by modern communication technology and city life, foreshadowing contemporary sentiments about the Internet and smartphones.

Anticipating – and pre-emptively decrying – the hippie movement as a bourgeoisie failure, Evola rejects a return to primitivism as being merely a naked form of materialism. Conceding that athletics and sports may be useful (although he decries professional sport), Evola once again asserts that spiritual needs must come first. The true aristocrat of the soul must feel as comfortable among dams and skyscrapers as among trees and streams, for the former is an expression of human nature and thereby of Nature itself.

Fundamentally, a person needs to accept that “nothing extraordinary exists in the beyond”. Only the real exists and only the real can be said to exist. To this end, there is a lot of wisdom in ancient traditions, especially Zen. These allow us to cultivate an appreciation of how reality consists of both the immanent making itself transcendent and the transcendent making itself immanent.

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Buddhism is Incompatible With Abrahamism, But Fully Compatible With Luciferianism

The apotheosis of Buddha came not through grovelling, sadomasochism and superstitious entreaties, but from lucid, rational and brave introspection

The fashionable talk today is about interfaith dialogue. All of sudden, everyone’s trying to emphasise what the world’s various religious traditions have in common. Some even go as far as to say that all religions worship the same God. Despite the absurdity of most of this fashionable lip-flapping, this essay will argue that, at least, Buddhism is compatible with Luciferianism.

Some say the reason for this interfaith dialogue is that talking leads to fewer misunderstandings, which leads to less violence. Leaving aside the fact that Abrahamism causes 99%+ of the world’s religious violence anyway, the problem with Abrahamism is that the more one learns about it, the less one respects it. Even worse, the more time one spends around its followers, the less one respects it.

On the face of it, there are several major ways that Buddhism appears utterly incompatible with Abrahamism. On the other hand, although Buddhism could never find peaceful co-existence with Abrahamism, it could find it with Luciferianism.

The major tenet of Buddhism is that one acts in a way that minimises the suffering of other sentient beings. The principle behind this is compassion, in that the suffering of those other beings is an important thing that ought to be taken into consideration. A related teaching is the interdependence of all things, which cultivates an appreciation of the effects that one’s actions have on the well-being of other creatures.

There are no such concepts in Abrahamism. Working to reduce suffering is incidental to following the directives of God – if homosexuals are to be put to death then so be it. God says so. It matters not whether this action reduces or increases the suffering in the world. Likewise, women have to be put in their place, and non-believers persecuted. Compassion doesn’t come into it; all that matters is submission.

Luciferianism doesn’t really have set instructions for what to do about the suffering of other conscious beings. Cruelty, however, is seen as petty, small-minded, even bestial. The Abrahamic insistence on male infant genital mutilation appalls the Luciferian, who tends to see it as a gross violation of power with superstitious origins.

This attitude of submission (and of forcing submission) is another way in which Buddhism is not compatible with Abrahamism. For example, Buddha said:

“Don’t blindly believe what I say. Don’t believe me because others convince you of my words. Don’t believe anything you see, read, or hear from others, whether of authority, religious teachers or texts. Don’t rely on logic alone, nor speculation. Don’t infer or be deceived by appearances. Find out for yourself what is true and virtuous.”

This is an extremely Luciferian attitude. Here, Buddha appears to be saying explicitly not to worship him, not to see him as something higher. A Luciferian would understand that one cannot take another person for an authority on how we all got here or what we’re doing, while a Buddhist might contend that the nature of God is irrelevant.

By contrast, Abrahamism preaches submission to dogma. Questioning the priest is not the done thing, because he speaks with the authority of God. Whereas a Buddhist teacher will sit at the front of a class and take questions, which are answered honestly, the Abrahamist preaches from a raised pulpit, and takes no questions. Questions imply free-thinking, which is a sin because it correlates negatively with submission.

Buddhism doesn’t demand that anyone bow down to anyone else. There is no self-appointed “God’s Representative on Earth”. A Buddhist would not give any credence to anyone claiming to speak for God, for any reason – the Pope has no more spiritual authority than a schizophrenic street prophet. The shiny silver that high priests are bedecked with will not convince a Buddhist that they know what they’re talking about.

What matters to the Luciferian, like the Buddhist, is a methodology by which truth might be discerned. Abrahamism is not a methodology – it is a dogma. Where the Luciferian and the Buddhist might meet on equal terms to discuss strategies and tactics of mutual interest, the Abrahamist presumes to dictate the truth, and the right to enforce submission to this truth with violence.

It seems like Buddhism appeals to the same sort of people as Luciferianism. It may be that both traditions arose to meet the challenges of their time and place: Buddhism with immense physical poverty, and Luciferianism with suffocating environments of spiritual lies, misdirections and untruths.

Buddhism deals with the lies of the senses and the mind, and Luciferianism with the lies of the Abrahamists. They are both master moralities, in contrast to the slave philosophies of the desert.

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VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger IV

This reading continues on from here.

The tenth essay in Ride The Tiger is called ‘Invulnerability – Apollo and Dionysus’. Here Evola further describes his conception of an aristocrat of the soul as someone who feels very deeply and who is very moved by things. The modern man (the man of clay, essentially), only feels very shallow emotions, and quickly moves from one such shallow impression to the next.

In this essay, Evola touches on the truly aristocratic topic of deliberately exposing oneself to great trials and tribulations, for the sake of learning one’s true nature. Alchemists will recognise this mentality as the one necessary to burn away everything but the gold so as to learn to distinguish Spirit from Nature. The purifying fire is that which burns away body and mind and leaves one with one’s true nature – it is necessary because it burns away everything shallow, leaving only actions which arise from the depths.

A person who has done this may find themselves gifted with a “transcendent confidence” that is characteristic of the aristocrat of the soul. This is important because in purifying oneself down to the gold one also strips away all of the conditioned belief in life’s meaning. To proceed past this stage, the alchemist must find within themselves the will to assert a meaning to life independent of any outside source. Then one is invulnerable.

To open oneself without falling apart is not easy in an age of dissolution. Here Evola takes care to point out that it’s very easy to fall at the second hurdle. Just because mainstream religion is bullshit doesn’t mean that we should abandon it for wild paganism and barbarianism. There is more.

The eleventh essay is called ‘Acting Without Desire – The Causal Law’. Once a person discovers their true nature, they should also learn the ability to act without desire. This entails taking the correct action at any given time instead of becoming distracted by profit or loss, or by what other people might think of you. Doing what needs to be done.

This needs to be qualified, however. There are naturalistic desires, that arise from the biology of the human animal. These are generally to be avoided. There are also, however, heroic desires, that arise from something greater than the merely physical, from something transcendent. These may be acted upon.

An aristocratic person, then, thinks not in terms of sin but in terms of error. The concept of sin is impossible because God has long been repudiated; all that remains is adherence to standards that one sets from within as an expression of one’s true nature.

One ought to act with a mind to what is effectively a law of karma, in that actions have consequences, regardless of whether those actions conform to any conception of good or evil. Those consequences are real and should be regarded as such. This is fine because the real man of gold doesn’t just live, but rather manifests himself and his true nature in the world.

This is the end of the second part of the book. The next part is called ‘The Dead End of Existentialism’, and the first essay here is the book’s twelfth: ‘Being and Inauthentic Existence’. This deals with the two types of existentialism (as Evola sees it): the philosophical, academic tradition and the practical tradition exemplified by Jean-Paul Sartre.

Evola dismisses existentialism almost entirely, for the reason that the existentialist philosophers are too much a product of their times, and because they are not themselves interested in the world beyond. The existentialists are very materialistic and this disqualifies existentialism from being a philosophy that an aristocrat might be concerned with.

Despite this, existentialism can be credited with some things. For one, the idea that “existence precedes essence” serves to keep the existentialist in touch with the metaphysical and transcendent. It also helps to highlight the dual nature of the aristocratic soul, which, as described earlier, is much deeper than that of the pleb.

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A Technoshamanic Update to the Perennial Philosophy

The perennial philosophy comes and goes, all throughout time and space, being a reflection of the mind of God in the Great Fractal. In every new age it updates itself, taking a form that makes sense to the people of the time, depending on the characteristics of that age. Because technological change has been so rapid over the last 150 years, the perennial philosophy has not been able to keep up. This essay makes an attempt to do so.

The metaphors of the former age were the crucifix, the fish and the crescent, just as they were the pyramid, the bull and the sacrificial brazier in the age before that. The age that we are now entering has its own zeitgeist – perhaps it is time for a technoshamanic update to the perennial philosophy?

The perennial philosophy is informational gold and is more fundamental than language and therefore cannot be described in words. However, we can predict what some of its teachings are going to be, by applying the axiom of “As below, so above” to the modern day.

In its earlier incarnations, through the writings of Hermes Trismegistus and others, the perennial philosophy explained the metaphysical world by analogy to the natural world. “That which is above is from that which is below, and that which is below is from that which is above, working the miracles of one,” reads the Emerald Tablet, “Its father is the Sun and its mother the Moon.”

This remained an extremely effective metaphor, until today. The world of today is so bizarre, so surreal and impossible that distinguishing it from a dreamscape is no longer easy. Moreover, modern people are almost completely out of touch with the natural world – many of us haven’t so much as looked at the Moon in years.

We need a new metaphor for a new age, and virtual reality seems like the obvious replacement.

Following this line of reasoning, one might expect that the creation myths of the new century will be based around the same binary division as always but with a modern twist; in other words not of yang and yin, fire and water or Sun and Moon but of 1 and 0. The hardware is the brain, the software is the mind, and electricity is the Holy Ghost.

Different lives could be seen as nothing more than differing sets of sensory impressions upon consciousness. As long as these impressions could be accurately recorded and reproduced, there’s no reason why they couldn’t be accessible for any conscious person to experience at any time.

My own The Verity Key twisted the ordinary perception of consciousness through a machine that could replace the consciousness of another person with that of the operator of the eponymous device. The idea was to play on the usual belief of the reader that their consciousness was directly connected to their physical body, and could never be separated.

This played with the idea of the Great Fractal, which is conceptualised as an immense algorithm that calculates all of the possible combinations of senses that make up the illusion of the material world. This is a modern way of expressing how all things flow from one, i.e. “all created objects come from one thing, an undifferentiated primal matter”.

In other words, all of the contents of consciousness ultimately flow from consciousness itself, because nothing more than consciousness is needed to create them all – a fact known to all who have managed to purify their consciousness to the level of gold and thereby completed the Philosopher’s Stone.

Other ancient alchemical or hermetic beliefs can likewise be transliterated into a modern context.

The laws of karma can be expressed in terms of frequency, which no-one understood before the days of widespread radio, and which now everyone does. If one can imagine such a thing as a frequency of consciousness, a higher frequency would produce a more harmonious tone and joy among those who heard it, whereas a lower frequency would produce a discordant tone and fear among those who heard it.

A technoshaman might contend that, upon the expiration of one’s physical body, the frequency of consciousness that one had cultivated is the only thing that passes into the next world. They might even go as far as to contend that this frequency will attract those of a like frequency, and therefore that, post-death, one’s frequency dictates which part of the Great Fractal one’s consciousness becomes attuned to and the frequency of those who populate it (until, of course, one dies there as well).

One’s “frequency of consciousness” can here be likened to an analog television or radio signal. The more pleasurable frequencies are not necessarily the first ones discovered, or the most popular ones, and they certainly aren’t the easiest to tune into. In order to tune into higher frequencies one must know where to find them on the dial.

The alchemical quest of transforming lead into gold is a physicalist metaphor for the mystical quest that, in modern language, could be said to be about tuning a low frequency of consciousness into a higher one.

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The Four Ways to Impress Another Person

People have historically put a lot of effort into figuring out ways to impress each other

To make an impression on another person is to instill in them a minor sense of awe, which is very useful because it tends to make that person more willing to be helpful. This minor sense of awe, if reflected back upon the awestruck, closely relates to the phenomenon of charisma. The tricky part is that what impresses another person depends on that person’s own level of alchemical development.

Impressing someone at a raw, biological level is fundamentally a matter of strength and natural vigour. This is primarily the basis on which dominance hierarchies are formed among social creatures in nature. Basically, creatures pay respect to any other creature powerful enough to fuck it up. These creatures probably evolved to do so, because the alternative to doing so was often death and therefore a failure to propagate one’s genes.

In an alchemical sense, this responds to the level of clay. In other words, it’s the natural state. People who have not been raised well – i.e. people who have been either neglected or abused as children – tend to not move past this stage. This is also the stage at which prison logic runs. The motto of this stage could be “Might makes right”.

What’s crucial to note here is that a person who is themselves at the level of clay will not and cannot be impressed by a person’s level of silver or gold, because they simply will not be able to perceive those elements. Even perceiving when a person carries significant levels of iron is difficult.

Being strong and vigorous will not impress any mature adult person, of course, for the reason that they only consider it impressive to be strong if one also has that strength under control. Wilding out and demonstrating raw physical dominance by fighting might impress some people, but it won’t impress those of a higher grade.

What will impress people of iron is being strong and having that strength under control. Respect is thus only given to those who are able to impose order upon their own bodies. At this level, it’s common for people to pay respect to people who are good at fighting, but to not respect people who are good at applying their intellects at the expense of martial prowess.

Alchemically, this level of control reflects the presence of iron, which itself implies a heightened degree of order. To have a will of iron is to have the ability to impose one’s will on one’s body no matter what it is telling one to do. The most impressive thing one can do here is to die on the battlefield by charging valiantly into the enemy and making them remember you.

Being strong and having that strength under control isn’t necessarily enough once one starts climbing the social hierarchy. Here, we enter the realm of silver, and here what impresses is not having strength, and not having that strength under control, but having that strength easily under control.

A person of iron will be impressed by the ability to bear great physical trials, but a person of silver will only be impressed if these trials are born with grace. This represents a softening, in the sense that the emphasis is no longer on killing like Rambo but rather preserving one’s humanity under duress.

The captain of a sports team always has to be a bit more of silver than the players under them, and it is on this basis they are judged after the match. Can they take a loss with good grace, and acknowledge the ways in which the opposition were superior? Can they take a win with good grace, and acknowledge that the opposition challenged and tested them despite the scoreline?

If they can do so while smiling, and while physically exhausted after an extended period of strenuous exertion and probably running on adrenaline, then they might impress the man of silver. This sort of behaviour will be considered noble or gentlemanly by any onlooker who are themselves sufficiently cultivated to appreciate it.

Of the fourth way to impress people very little can be said, as is usual for matters pertaining to alchemical gold. In the context of this essay it’s enough to say that it pertains to impressing people – and knowing that one has impressed people – without letting it go to one’s head and becoming egotistical.

In other words, it’s not enough to be strong, and it’s not enough to have that strength under control, and it’s not even enough to have that strength easily under control. If one wants to impress a man of gold, one has to be able to do all that without becoming too impressed by oneself, because it’s there that gold will not be.

This is extremely difficult for a number of reasons. The primary one is that it represents the apotheosis of the philosopher, which is an experience reserved only for the rarest of persons. Another major reason is that the temptations of the ego are evil in every possible application of the concept; they are multifarious enough so that evil can tempt one in any situation.

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VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger III

This reading continues on from here.

The sixth essay in Ride The Tiger is called “Active Nihilism – Nietzsche”, and continues to deal with the problem of the Death of God. Also continuing with the esoteric theme of this book, Evola appears to insist that the solution is alchemical. The negative is overwhelming and ascendant; it cannot be resisted. So the question becomes “how far the negative can be transformed into something positive.”

Here we are concerned with “the transition to the postnihilist stage.” Modern man is free, free from the strictures of Abrahamism – but free for what? We have striven against our enslavement for so long that we don’t know what to do with freedom. We invented God to assuage our existential anxiety, and, now that we are “free” from this God, that anxiety has rushed back with a vengeance. Evola cites Sartre here: “We are condemned to be free.”

Evola contends that Nietzsche’s conception of the Superman is not sufficient to avoid this nihilism. His reasoning is that the Superman theory is not sufficiently different from the other eschatologies, such as the Marxist one, and therefore cannot be more than a pseudosolution to the problem of nihilism.

As was true for Marxism, the Superman theory could potentially be used to justify all manner of horrors in the present by promising paradise in the future. However, Nietzsche’s theory of eternal recurrence strikes much closer to what might be described as a perennial philosophy.

The seventh essay is called “Being Oneself.” It seems as if that, once the pseudosolutions and outright false philosophies are abandoned, what one is left with is oneself. This something is beyond morality (indeed, morality is considered something to be liberated from), and internal, instead of imposed from without as if by God or King.

Nietzsche comes in for some criticism here. Evola considers his attitude to the human spirit “materialistic”, but concedes that Nietzsche must have seen beyond because he is capable of distinguishing the “Self” from the “I”. Other thinkers, such as Guyau, are considered, but dismissed for not offering anything truly new, merely “restrictions that more or less return to one οf the systems οf the old morality.”

Evola concludes that the answer, as ever, is to “Know Thyself”. However, there’s a caveat. In the past, it was easier to know thyself because one was defined by strictures of class, religion, nation, caste and many other things. Modern man is free, so he cannot fall back on these now-abandoned strictures.

Modern man is, in fact, so free that it is as if he has been shattered to pieces. His soul “contains multitudes”. This shattering, Evola contends, can be most easily observed in remorse, which is an emotion that mostly affects divided people and which is characteristic of our time.

The eighth essay is called “The Transcendent Dimension – ‘Life’ and ‘More Than Life'”. The man who gets it, Evola contends, is one who possesses a transcendental dimension, a spiritual dimension. Here he distances himself further from Nietzsche, who for Evola was more of a vessel that history acted through than a genuine actor in his own right. Nietzsche’s great error was “confusion of the sacred with the profane”.

Evola, through quoting Nietzsche, gives us a prescription for a man of gold, although without using alchemical terms: a many who has great passions (clay), but who holds them in check (iron), and who hold them in check with apparent ease (silver) and who, last of all, does not draw any particular egoic satisfaction from doing so (gold). Here, the highest sort of man is one who overcomes great dangers, for it is only in doing so that all these qualities can be expressed.

Evola mentions the common interest in Zen philosophy among the Beat Generation that was heavily influenced by the existentialists. Here, religious belief (of any kind) is rejected as a failure of the human spirit, of the sort of person who did not have the character to survive the tension of the Age of Nihilism, and who hence surrendered to easy answers.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).