Saturday, April 12, 2008

Corpus Hermeticum

Kittinger

The myth of our society is the existential myth that we are cast into matter, that we are lost in a universe that has no meaning for us, that we must make our meaning. This is what Sartre, Kierkegaard, all those people are saying, that we must make our meaning. It reaches its most absurd expression in Sartre's statement that nature is mute. I mean, this is as far from alchemical thinking as you can possibly get because for the alchemist nature was a great book, an open book to be read by putting nature through processes that revealed not only its inner mechanics, but the inner mechanics of the artifex (person performing experiment)-the person working upon the material, in other words, the alchemist.

Imagination. I think this is the first time I've used this word this evening. The imagination is central to the alchemical opus because it is literally a process that goes on the realm of the imagination taken to be a physical dimension. And I think that we cannot understand the history that lies ahead of us unless we think in terms of a journey into the imagination. We have exhausted the world of three dimensional space. We are polluting it. We are overpopulating it. We are using it up. Somehow the redemption of the human enterprise lies in the dimension of the imagination. And to do that we have to transcend the categories that we inherit from a thousand years of science and Christianity and rationalism and we have to re-empower and re-encounter the mind and we can do this psychedelically, we can do this yogically, or we can do it alchemically and hermetically.

Now there is present in the world at the moment, or at least I like to think so, an impulse which I have named the archaic revival. What happens is that whenever a society really gets in trouble, and you can use this in your own life-when you really get in trouble-what you should do is say "what did I believe in the last sane moments that I experienced" and then go back to that moment and act from it even if you no longer believe it. Now in the Renaissance this happened. The scholastic universe dissolved. New classes, new forms of wealth, new systems of navigation, new scientific tools, made it impossible to maintain the fiction of the Medieval cosmology and there was a sense that the world was dissolving. Good alchemical word-dissolving. And in that moment the movers and shakers of that civilization reached backwards in time to the last sane moment they had ever known and they discovered that it was Classical Greece and they invented classicism. In the 15th and 16th century the texts which had lain in monasteries in Syria and Asia Minor forgotten and untranslated for centuries were brought to the Florentine council by people like Gimistos Placo(sp?) and others and translated and classicism was born-its laws, its philosophy, its aesthetics. We are the inheritors of that tradition but it is now, once again, exhausted and our cultural crisis is much greater. It is global. It is total. It involves every man, woman and child on this planet, every bug, bird and tree is caught up in the cultural crisis that we have engendered. Our ideas are exhausted-the ideas that we inherit out of Christianity and its half-brother science, or its bastard child science. So, what I'm suggesting is that an archaic revival needs to take place and it seems to be well in hand in the revival of Goddess worship and shamanism and partnership but notice that these things are old-10,000 years or more old-but there was an unbroken thread that, however thinly drawn, persists right up to the present.


Terence McKenna

Ryan McGinley

1 comment:

Brack's Photo A Day said...

That photograph at the top is absolutely amazing. One of the coolest pictures I've ever seen.