Dialogue on the Threshold

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Sunday, 28 October 2018

Umbra

[T]he tide that rose in the unconscious after the first World War was reflected in individual dreams, in the form of collective mythological symbols which expressed primitivity, violence, cruelty: in short, all the powers of darkness. When such symbols occur in a large number of individuals and are not understood, they begin to draw these individuals together as if by magnetic force, and thus a mob is formed. Its leader will soon be found in the individual who has the least resistance, the least sense of responsibility and, because of his inferiority, the greatest will to power. He will let loose everything that is ready to burst forth, and the mob will follow with the irresistible force of an avalanche. [...] He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody's personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason they fell for him. 
Carl Gustav Jung, "The Fight with the Shadow", 
first published in The Listener (London), XXXVI (1946), no. 930, 615-16.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

The sad horrour and mad aspect of this strange theatre

For that mankind is in a lapsed condition it cannot be denied, nor that a great part of the invisible powers are sunk into the animal life with them. Now that which is the most high and powerful in the animal life will not let its hold go so long as it can hang on. Whence the most active spirits in this region get the dominion over the more passive, and the kingdom of the prince of the air has proved very large over the nations of the earth, they being so deeply lapsed and immersed into the animal nature. Wherefore we cannot expect but that both the rulers and the ruled having fallen from the holy light and the divine benignity of the aethereal nature, that the effects of that government and the garb of their manners should be cruel, squalid, deformed and ridiculous; a judicious sense of true pulchritude and decency not being able to reside in so dark and distempered complexions, and their envious guardians caring more to tyrannize over them and to make sport with them than to spare them or to be true guides to them in any thing. All therefore that can be done is, to mitigate as well we can the sad horrour and mad aspect of this strange theatre, which strikes the fancy so strongly and so harshly. 
Third Dialogue, Henry More, Divine Dialogues 
 Containing Disquisitions Concerning the Attributes and Providence of God, 1668


Humanum enim genus in lapsa conditione esse constitutum non potest negari, mangamque Invisibilium Potestatum partem in vitam Animalem cum ipsis pariter subsedisse. Nunc vero illud quod supremum est et potentissimum in Vita Animali manus prensuram non laxabit, quamdiu potest inhærere. Unde maxime activi Spiritus in hac Regione Dominium obtinent in magis Passivos Regnumque Principis Aeris reperitur admodum longe lateque extensum super nationes Terræ quippe tam profunde in Animalem Naturam lapsas et immersas. Quamobrem cum tam Principes quam subditi e sacra Luce Divinaque Benignitate Naturæ Æthereæ ceciderunt, expectare non possumus quin effecta illius Regiminis, Morumque ratio crudelis sit, squalida, deformis ac ridicula, quippe quum judicium sensusque veræ pulchritudinis ac Decori in tam tenebroso maleque temperato Temperamento residere nequeat, invidique ipsorum Præsides Aerei id curent magis quo Tyrrannidem in ipsos exerceant misereque ludificentur, quam ut eis parcant aut præsidio sint, exemplove eis præeant in ulla re bona. Summa igitur rei quo collineatum oportet, est mitigare quantum possumus funestum horrorem, vesanumque aspectum miri hujus Theatri quod Imaginationem tam fortitur duriterque ferit. 

Dialogus Tertius, Dialogi Divini Per Autorem Latine redditi 
Disquisitiones Varias et Instructiones Continentes de Attributis et Providentia Dei
Londini, Typis J. Macock, impensis J. Martyn & Gualt. Kettilby, 1679

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Totus mundus verminosus

Sed age ducam te per vastum Macrocosmum, ut innumera vermium agmina, seu tamen excrementa eorum animata, vel seminia foecunda, aut ovula, sicque mortem vivam in quovis angello et rimula speculeris, vereque cum Drexelio dicas ubique mors est, omnibus locis, omnibusque momentis insidiatur: quaqua venies, paratam invenies, nusquam non praesto est, occurrit undique. Sic animarum omnia, τρόπον τίνα, quodammodo plena, i.e. totus mundus verminosus.

Christiani Francisci Paullini, Disquisitio curiosa an mors naturalis plerumque sit substantia verminosa? Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1703

But come, let me lead you through the vast Macrocosm, that you may observe the countless multitudes of worms, likewise their animate faeces, their fertile seed or ovules, and thus living death in every nook and cranny, and that you may affirm, like Drexel: "Death is everywhere, in all places, and at every moment it lies in wait: from whatever direction you come, you will find it ready, nowhere is it not at hand, everywhere does it attend." Hence, τρόπον τίνα [in a fashion], all things are full of living beings, that is, the whole world is vermicular.

Christian Franz Paullini, Painstaking Disquisition on whether Natural Death be Wholly a Vermicular Substance

Friday, 2 February 2018

Une duperie gigantesque

Le monde réel possède un aspect irréel, qu'on pourrait appeler «illusion cosmique». Les choses les plus matérialisées: la bourse, les billets de banque, les femmes de luxe, la table des rangs, tout cela est prodigieusement palpable mais en réalité sans consistance, et n'a d'existence que celle que notre appréciation lui attribue. L'homme est victime d'une duperie gigantesque dont il est à la fois auteur et acteur, au point de donner l'être au non-être qui le vampirise et le parasite. 

Paul Evdokimov, Gogol et Dotoïevsky. La descente aux enfers
Desclée De Brouwer, Paris, 1961