Friday 1 December 2023

A comment for GunnerQ on "esotericism"

I cannot induce GunnerQ's Substack blog to accept an extended comment on his recent posting; so I shall reproduce it here:

@GQ - 

You seem to be working something out at present, using over-inclusive and scattergun principles and arguments that (I predict!) you will discover fail to discriminate between what you value/ want to preserve and what you (IMO rightly) abhor and wish to exclude. 

Thus, I think you are painting yourself into a corner; as you will realize sooner or later! 

And I am confident you Will realize this, since you are clearly honest and well-motivated. Nonetheless, speaking from experience, this "painting oneself into a corner" is sometimes the best way to learn - learn deeply, that is. 

I painted myself into a very terrible corner in the early 2000s (eg in my book The Modernization Imperative) but it was, apparently, necessary for me to plumb materialism to the very dregs before I could recognize its innate nihilism - and could choose to become a Christian. 

More generally, that has been the usual way for me to learn - throw everything in, trying to make something work, and only when it has collapsed (collapsed, that is, from my POV) will I abandon it. 

Anyway; I certainly agree that there is a kind of black magic cult near the top level of totalitarian control in the world - mostly western world. This is very important to recognize. I've written about this variously:

But you notice that these insights came from Rudolf Steiner, who himself had an esoteric (albeit not secret) society - and, IMO, one with not a few undesirable aspects. 

(Plus, ninety-something percent of what Steiner wrote is, so far as I can tell from the large but minority sample of his writings I have read, completely - and sometimes perversely - wrong!) 

My point is that there is (I have found, and continue to find) a good deal to be gained from reading Steiner and other occultists who are on the Christian side, the side of Good (Dion Fortune, Gareth Knight) - while avoiding, completely - or almost so, those on the dark side, the Left Hand path. Indeed, these are some of only a handful of authors I would regard as personal mentors, to a greater (Steiner) or lesser (DF and GK) extent. 

Reading, as always, must be with discernment - because (speaking personally) there is nobody, not one single individual*, in the whole world, past or present, whose core views I accept in toto - and typically I reject (later, if not sooner) most of what anybody writes. 

In conclusion, occultism and esoteric organization is a method, not a goal; a means not an end; and well-motivated and real Christians may (or may not) choose to engage with esoteric/ occult material and methods according to preference. 

As always, motivation is primary, and discernment is necessary - because discernment is just another name for taking the fullest possible personal responsibility for our spiritual life. 

Esoteric/ occult activity is neither more, nor less, dangerous than the far more pervasive and equally-deadly literalism/ Pharisee-ism and institution-worship/ obedience; to which too many Traditionalist Christians are not just prone but explicitly dedicated.  

*(Not even the Fourth Gospel, that greatest of all Christian texts... greatest of All texts, do I accept in its entirety - because I'm sure there are errors and later alien additions - even in the divinely-inspired "King James" translation.)


Inquisitor Benedictus said...

GunnerQ should be careful. I used to think exactly like him. To fearfully abandon all esotericism due to its dark, Luciferian aspect — might be to abandon large territories of spiritual warfare to Lucifer and his minions. It would be as silly as to abandon all exoteric religion just because there are corrupt, satanic aspects to it.

Hinduism distinguishes three ways to approach God — karma yoga (good deeds), bhakti yoga (devotion), and jnana yoga (sacred knowledge). The esoteric is an aspect of jnana yoga, the way of knowledge. It may be GunnerQ is called to seek God only through good deeds and devotion, but my suspicion is that many of those who flee from esotericism are called to the path of knowledge, and the devil is misdirecting them so as to stifle their spiritual growth. Those with an intellectual bent tend naturally to be called to find God on the way of knowledge (though this isn't always the case, because for some intellects this path presents too great a temptation to vanity and distraction). The esoteric is by no means purely Luciferic. At root it's just an attempt to provide a schematic or route map to the spiritual world to facilitate those seeking deeper union with God. Diabolic esotericism is just a corruption of its methods.

Those who tend to live in and through their minds should not be afraid to use their mind in the service of God, or to seek God in the most spiritual parts of the intellect. I'm certain the devil uses fear to scare people away from esoteric research who have a natural talent and divine calling to it. What I'm certain of is that it's very important to form your own understanding of religious doctrines according to the temperament of your heart and the capacities of your mind, so that the doctrines don't become stale symbols but instead expand to vivid realities. What's notable about the famous saints is just how passionately individual their faith was, even if they all subscribed to the same basic dogmas. For some people, the esoteric imagination is precisely what they need for the truths of religion to come alive for them. If it's not for you, it's not for you. But be careful about cursing it categorically. It may be you are cutting yourself off from something you'd benefit from...

Platobulos said...

Bad esoterism can be easily spotted in most cases by the simple fact that it is degeneracy positive; i.e. Its gonna be found supporting skittles or outright teaching tantric s-positions.