The Face of Truth

“The face of Truth is concealed by a golden vessel. Do thou, O Sun, open it so as to be seen by me who am by nature truthful.

O thou who art the nourisher, the solitary traveler, the controller, the acquirer, the son of Prajapati, do remove thy rays, do gather up thy dazzle. I shall behold by thy grace that form of thine which is most benign. I am that very Person that is yonder in the Sun.”

Isha Upanishad, 15-16

Spiritual Practice

I visit my blog less often than I used to. I open the post page to write something because after all the point of having a blog is to blog; but I stare at the empty page because I have got nothing to write. I feel I have a lot to say, or rather a lot to share about what I have learnt from others. But I don’t feel right to write because that would make me a hypocrite. You see, I cannot claim to know anything as long as that knowledge is not assimilated by me and put into practice, by which I mean conformity to what I believe to be true, and I am very weak in that department. I love spirituality, and above all spiritual metaphysics. But it is one thing to read and talk and write about it which does not make one spiritual but only a little prepared for spirituality; and it is another thing to assimilate what I read and use it as a support for my spiritual practice; and without spiritual practice, which is adherence to one or another orthodox religious/spiritual tradition, nothing is ever accomplished.

It is a well-known fact that spiritual life-and life is either spiritual or isn’t life at all-and the journey toward God consist of two fundamental aspects: Doctrine and method. Doctrine is that which directs us; it provides a sense of orientation by giving an outline of the goal, much like a map. Method is the spiritual practice that takes us to the goal, much like the vehicle or instrument that takes us to gates of Heaven. Now, reading and thinking of spiritual matters alone, though it may make us feel good or give us some peace, do not accomplish anything because it can become a sort of obsession with the doctrine at the cost of forgetting the journey itself. Doctrine itself is never the Truth Itself but a pale reflection of it that is meant to evoke in the seeker a forgotten memory of the lost paradise, i.e. the paradisaical state of being and consciousness; thus, doctrine too is no more than an instrument and a support for spiritual realization.

Truth Itself transcends all doctrinal formulations to the extent that we are allowed to say all doctrines are false relative to the Absolute Truth Itself; it is false relative to Truth because it cannot be identical with It, for Truth transcends all formulations and is ultimately inexpressible. But all doctrines insofar as they are traditional and orthodox, i.e. have their origin in a non-human influence which is none other than revelation, have a relative truth to them because they are reflections of That which lies above and in transcendence. However, this relative truth has no value in itself if it is divorced from its metaphysical function, and the metaphysical function of the doctrine is to invoke in the aspirant the longing for the Truth that is reflected in the doctrine, and also to keep the traveler on the right path without going astray. Therefore, we must look at doctrine not as a fancy collectible to be used for decoration but as a rope hanging from the sky. We must climb the rope and not swing with or by it.

The spiritual practice, on the other hand, is meant to purify the soul so that it can reflect the Truth expressed in the doctrine. The soul that is purified by its nature reflects the Truth, for the pure heart knows nothing but God. All other forms of knowledge, including empirical knowledge of ourselves and the world, is a dirt covering the spirit, and spiritual practice is the way to clean up this mirror as a result of which our soul-which is essentially identical with the Spirit in its state of purity-remembers and reflects its transcendent principle, God.

That you must hate your soul and put your soul to death is a very true statement because it is this soul as dirt over the spirit that ties us to the belief in our independent existence and separation from God. This nowadays fashionable cult of “love yourself” goes contrary to all traditional values, i.e. to Truth Itself. Instead, you must love your Self which is the Self of all things and is none other than God; but to succeed in loving the Self you must hate yourself and put your self to death, for this inferior self is no more than dirt and darkness. So, to hate yourself is to hate delusion and separation, darkness and forgetfulness, arrogance and ignorance.

When the soul becomes pure as a result of spiritual practice it reflects, by its nature, the Divine qualities which are spiritual virtues of humility, generosity, and objectivity. These virtues are not possessions of the sage but rather belong to God alone. But when the sage has become pure at heart and poor in spirit he has in fact returned to the primordial state in which he was created in the image of God. In that state the spiritual virtues shine by themselves, for it is God Himself along with His attributes that shine through the sage. The humility of the sage is the reflection of God’s transcendence and absolute detachment from the world. The generosity of the sage is the reflection of God’s immanence and infinitude, His unconditional giving through perpetual creation and constant renewal of all things. The objectivity of the sage is the reflection of God’s perfect knowledge and justice. It is not that the sage, the pure in heart and poor in spirit, becomes God or even acquires divine attributes; rather, God’s attributes shine in and through the sage because he is no more himself, and in fact he has become no-thing so that there is nothing in him and with him that can obstruct the Divine Light which is shining everywhere and at all times. The sage has become a channel of grace because he has become nothing, because he hated himself and put himself to death.

All this being said, which is by the way too much considering my present state of literary impotence, all I meant to say was that I feel I cannot say anything of spiritual life unless I am myself in it, and to be in it is to practice it. I try to do my best and pray to God to give me strength and faith so I can practice, that is, to constantly remember Him and conform to His nature. On my own, with this petty human self of mine, I have no faith, no knowledge, no love and no devotion. I am in a state of absolute spiritual poverty and all I can ask Him is to forgive my forgetfulness and minimize my distractions so that I can practice, practice, practice.

The Bugbear of Literacy

“‘Universal compulsory education, of the type introduced at the end of the 19th century, has not fulfilled expectations by producing happier and more effective citizens; on the contrary, it has created readers of the yellow press and cinema-goers’ (Karl Otten). A master who can himself not only read, but also write good classical Latin and Greek, remarks that ‘there is no doubt of the quantitative increase in literacy of a kind, and amid the general satisfaction that something is being multiplied it escapes enquiry whether the something is profit or deficit.’ He is discussing only the ‘worst effects’ of enforced literacy, and concludes: ‘Learning and wisdom have often been divided; perhaps the clearest result of modern literacy has been to maintain and enlarge the gulf.'”
An excerpt from The Bugbear of Literacy by Ananda Coomaraswamy

Click on the following link to view the full PDF version of the essay:

The_Bugbear_of_Literacy_by_Ananda_Coomaraswamy

To Know The Truth

Truth is not some sort of a “theory of everything” that science, or philosophy, may or may not someday discover; neither is the knowledge of Truth a theoretical apprehension of an object, a theory or otherwise, by the human subject. Rather, Truth and the knowledge of Truth are one and the same since It is the realization of the Supreme Identity in which the subject and the object of knowledge are united following immediately the Universal Extinction of the human subjectivity and the phenomenal world. More precisely, Truth, which is the same as Reality, is the state of permanent Self-Knowledge, permanence not in the sense of perpetuity but eternity which lies in the Timeless. Therefore, it is not man who knows, or can ever know, the Truth; instead, man is precisely the phenomenon that veils the state of permanent Self-Knowledge, a state that cannot be reduced to the knower and the known: There is neither the knower nor the known but the eternal and the indivisible Self-Knowledge having nothing whatsoever to do with human being, sentimental love, or outward action, for extinction and breakthrough into the Truth, the Godhead, i.e. the state of eternal Self-Knowledge, comes only through Intellectual Intuition and metaphysical contemplation. Truth is neither known nor attained but only Realized by metaphysical remembrance of That Which Is.

Man & Intelligence

The modern conception of human being reduces man to his/her individuality: Human being is an individual being among other beings in the world. The major shortcoming of this conception is its lack of awareness of its own origin; it fails to see that a purely individual being cannot rise above itself and perceive itself as a part in a larger whole. The consciousness that perceives the part in view of the whole cannot itself be a mere part of this whole, for otherwise it would not be capable of apprehending anything beyond itself. This shortcoming of the modern conception of human being and Reality as a whole urges us to take a look at the traditional perspective on the constitution of human being.

From the traditional point of view, human being is understood to be like an iceberg only whose tip, its smallest part, lies in the manifest order which is the realm of individualities. The largest portion of the human person which constitutes the supra-individual core of his being lies in the unmanifest, supra-individual order. Thus, the traditional conception of man always considers his whole being which is always more than his individuality.

The traditional point of view conceives of man as the ternary of Spirit-Soul-Body which correspond, respectively, to his three principal faculties of Intelligence, Sentiment, and Will. While the body which is but an avatar operative in the field of willful action lies in the purely individual order, the Spirit which is the principle behind the avatar lies in the purely spiritual, supra-individual order; it is the spirit behind the letter, the invisible meaning behind the visible word. The soul associated with psyche and sentiment is the principal channel of communication between these two orders of Reality; it is the means or the thread by which the Spirit descends to the body so that the body ascends, i.e. returns, to the Spirit. By the very fact that Spirit belongs to the supra-individual order we can no more speak of my spirit or your spirit; rather, in our individual aspects we are all manifestations of one and the same Spirit, the Supreme Principle behind all manifestations.

It is natural that the Spirit and spiritual truths must belong to the invisible order. Spiritual truths are eternal and immutable forms immune to all change and decay while worldly facts are by their very nature contingent and relative and hence subject to change and decay. Invisibility, thus, is a necessary precondition for immutability. Note that visibility and seeing in the ordinary sense of visual perception, and any human perception for that matter, entail perspective and hence relativity and contingency. Therefore, no immutable and absolute truth can belong to this contingent order of Reality. It is a matter of logical necessity that nothing of a supra-individual order can be susceptible to mundane perception and profane knowledge.

However, as we mentioned above the human person whose whole being is more than his individuality is equipped with a faculty capable of transcending the individual order and apprehending the immutable truths of a supra-individual nature. This faculty is nothing but human Intelligence which originates not from the brain or the mind but from the Pure Intellect of the Divine Principle. Intelligence has nothing to do with human individuality and is not correlated or associated with any physical or mental aspect of the human person; instead, it is the direct and sacred link between the soul and the Spirit. Intelligence is that sacred thread emanating directly from the Spirit, a thread whose principal function is the provision of the means of ascent and hence return to the Spirit Itself. It is the perverted version of this intelligence, that is, its reflection in and distortion by individual subjectivities, that has made possible the emergence of modern science, a science that by its very nature is nothing but profane knowledge.

Intelligence in its pure form and supremely objective character is that which makes man capable of intellectual intuition the result of which can only be the Sacred Science or science par excellence, namely Metaphysics. Here by metaphysics we do not mean the vulgar interest, so fashionable today, in flying spirits and angelic beings and channeling media, and in general in any supernatural power or phenomenon; nor do we imply by metaphysics the modern western sense of the word as in speculative philosophies which are purely rationalistic and thus wholly lacking in intellectual depth.

Metaphysics in its etymological and original sense of the word, the only sense in which we are interested here, is nothing but the sacred science of the universal principles, a science whose method is intellectual intuition and inward realization and whose aim is the attainment of the Supreme Identity, namely Deliverance. It is Intelligence alone that is capable of metaphysical knowledge and hence of assisting the being in its return to the Principle Itself. Intelligence in this sense is nothing but the Intellectus Archetypus, the Divine Intellect, which constitutes the only infallible means of knowledge in man.

The grave mistake of the rationalists in their confusion of reason with Intellect originates precisely from their failure to recognize the supra-individual element in man and his Intelligence, a confusion that has led to reducing the Intellect to human reason which is only capable of discursive thought and profane knowledge of an individual and contingent nature. This confusion is due to their total lack of comprehension of the traditional distinction between the Intellectus Archetypus, the supra-human and purely intellectual faculty, and the Intellectus Ectypus, the merely human and purely rational faculty. It is no surprise that modern science and philosophy which lack an intellectual dimension are completely oblivious to the “metaphysical transparency of phenomena”, phenomena that by their very nature prove nothing and are worthless in and by themselves compared to the spiritual truths they symbolize and of which they are only outward manifestations. This lack of intellectual depth is characteristic of the modern West whose sciences are insanely obsessed with phenomena in themselves rather than with the Principle on and for which phenomena stand, the Principle which is graspable only in light of a refined and highly objective intellectual intuition and which doesn’t lend itself to the indirect and discursive modes of knowing of the rational faculty. In spite of this, man through his/her Intelligence which constitutes his/her intellectual/spiritual dimension is made capable of participating in the Divine Knowledge whose content are the absolute and the immutable truths of a supra-individual nature.

Intellectual intuition devoid of prejudice and not contaminated by individual subjectivity and sentimentality, a contamination so characteristic of modern science, is precisely the inner eye, the Eye of The Heart, that penetrates and perceives the mundanely invisible truths of the spiritual and supra-individual order of Reality. Since the physical order, which is the realm of shadows and reflected forms, is nothing but the descending reflection of a metaphysical order, which is the realm of immutable forms, then it is natural that every visible form of the manifest order must communicate to us an invisible, and hence immutable truth of the unmanifest order. More precisely, every visible form in the individual order has only a symbolic function and is but a channel into the invisible truths of a supra-individual order, and it is only in virtue of his/her objective Intelligence that man can penetrate the veils of ignorance and at last get a glimpse of The Face.

Truth & Intelligence

We superimpose our human rigidity on God, making Him judgmental and ourselves fearful. While we must fear God, our fear of Him should be a humbling awe with utmost veneration before His infinitude rather than a childish fright before His revengeful wrath.

We, and especially we religious and spiritual people, and even more so myself, constantly judge ourselves, and that is our egos behind all judgment since ego is always concerned with my individual perfection, and then we assume this judgment to be God’s as if God expected perfection from that which is essentially non-God, namely creation. God’s infinitude projects in the plane of existence as boundless, unconditional, pure love. God loves us even when we hate ourselves, and He gives Himself to us whenever we call on Him. He forgives us and yet we punish ourselves. When we obsessively judge and slash at ourselves for our imperfections we are in fact judging God’s creation and hence Him by association.

We are by nature imperfect and yet expect perfection from ourselves; God is by nature perfect and He doesn’t expect anything from us. From God’s point of view, as if there were others, we are always already perfect, for we are nothing but the manifestations of his perfection and infinitude. We are deluded into thinking that God has given us an awareness of our imperfections; but what we perceive, due to ego’s self-obsession, as the awareness of our imperfections is in fact nothing but the awareness of God’s perfection. It is only in light of our consciousness of God that we feel small and imperfect.

The awareness of our imperfections, which is the other face of our awareness of God’s perfection, is a saving thread graced upon us to redirect our attention away from ourselves and toward God. When we are instead preoccupied with our spiritual imperfections we are not being spiritual at all, for we are distracted from the Truth and the Way by constantly diverting our consciousness from its sole purpose of absorption in God to absorption in ourselves under the name of spiritual perfection.

God, being Absolute and Infinite, is the endless source of generosity. It is our egos, especially in our spiritual paths, that is obsessed with our own perfection, and particularly with our spiritual perfection, the ego that constantly finds faults with us without ever accepting us the way we are. God, however, accepts us, always and forever, as who we are with all our imperfections and shortcomings, for He is the source of our very Being; God is our very Being itself. We forget this basic truth that our spiritual journey is never about us; it is, and always should be, about God and Him alone: Our spiritual journey begins by finding ourselves in the midst of our imperfections and it ends by losing ourselves in the midst of God’s perfection. Instead of focusing on our own imperfections we must contemplate His perfection.

We limit His infinitude with the finitude of the vessels that we are. The traditional man used to view God as the final station to which he had to ascend; but now we look at ourselves and our own level as the final station to which God must descend. We no more strive to rise up to truth but instead bring truth down to our own little and pitiful level. This is the predominant attitude of modernism and symptomatic of all modern educational systems, the insistence on bringing everything down to man instead of pushing him up to truth, the urge to dilute everything great and of high value so to make it suitable for our weak digestion, and hence making it weaker and weaker.

The result is a modern man with watered down intelligence incapable of grasping anything beyond himself, anything beyond the mental and the physical, anything that doesn’t guarantee instant gratification. Modern man, a species reduced to a mere psycho-physical phenomenon, utterly lacks the intelligence and intellectual intuition capable of perceiving eternal truths. The natural consequence, and the more profitable road, is for this modern man to define his/her own commonsense and crooked intelligence as the final and the only truth and the absolute criterion of all other truths, if at all he believes in any truth. In modern man intelligence has hit its rock bottom with a loud bang that we hear as the babbling of its militant atheists and liberals.

This modern man is confused and hopelessly disoriented; he confuses things of the high planes with things of the low grounds, the archetypes with brain chemistry: He confuses true knowledge with mere information, intuition with mere computation, intellect with reason, intelligence with memory and book knowledge, philosophy with sterile mental masturbation, science with dogma, rational judgment with sentimental prejudice, degradation with evolution, regress with progress, and above all he confuses objective truths with his own subjective preferences as a result of which we have been dragged into a new Dark Age, the Age of Dogma, an age marked with the reign of irrational beliefs, superstitious opinions, and wild sentiments, and worst of all an unprecedented treason against human intelligence, and intelligence as such.

Since this modern man, this little man of intellectual and spiritual retardation, cannot conceive of anything above himself he must look for something below himself, perhaps he must be a descendant of apes, and he really is nothing more as long as he considers himself to be that; and what is ironic about this man is that he takes so much pride in boldly standing up for these modern superstitions that pass for scientific facts!

But how can we take serious the sciences of a species which claims himself to be nothing more than a sexually repressed ape of no freewill?! How can we expect any objective knowledge from a species hopelessly conditioned by its animal drives and the purely self-interested motive for mere survival?! You see, this modern man cannot open its mouth and say something without contradicting himself: He claims that he is nothing but a “small phase of an evolution going from the amoeba to the superman,” and yet in some mysterious fashion he can at once objectively know where he stands in all this! He asserts with absolute certainty that there are not absolute truths and yet makes an irrational exception in favor of this assertion itself elevating it to the status of an absolute truth, and hence excluding himself and his sciences from the consequences of his own scientific conclusions!

Modern man performed a miracle that even God cannot perform: He made a fashionable commonsense out of the absurd! This is genius, and in fact his only genius. It is as if he secretly enjoys having come from the ape instead of the apex. His irrational insistence on being closer to chimpanzees than to transcendent archetypes, despite lack of scientific evidence, is really nothing but an adolescence rebellion of a reverse puberty that we know of as the Renaissance and its Age of Enlightenment which gave us the last kick into an irremediable darkness.

This modern man is more arrogant than ever, but this outward arrogance is nothing but the reflection of an inward ignorance and insecurity that befell upon him when he washed off the sense of the sacred from nature and himself and replaced it with the illusion of evolution and endless progress, and hence he destroyed the very ground upon which he was standing. Modern man is not standing anymore; he is crawling like a worm in his own filth made of synthetic ismisms and a whorified consumerism with the sole end of welfare and instant gratification. But we’re being too charitable here, too optimistic in our view of modern man. This modern man’s crawling is in truth a sliding backwards into a Godless oblivion.

The Contradiction of Relativism

                                                             The Contradiction of Relativism
By Frithjof Schuon

Relativism reduces every element of absoluteness to relativity while making a
completely illogical exception in favor of this reduction itself. Fundamentally it consists
in propounding the claim that there is no truth as if this were truth or in declaring it to be
absolutely true that there is nothing but the relatively true; one might just as well say that
there is no language or write that there is no writing. In short, every idea is reduced to a
relativity of some sort, whether psychological, historical, or social; but the assertion
nullifies itself by the fact that it too presents itself as a psychological, historical, or social
relativity. The assertion nullifies itself if it is true and by nullifying itself logically proves
thereby that it is false; its initial absurdity lies in the implicit claim to be unique in
escaping, as if by enchantment, from a relativity that is declared to be the only possibility.
The axiom of relativism is that “one can never escape from human subjectivity”; if
this is the case, the statement itself possesses no objective value, but falls under its own
verdict. It is abundantly evident that man can escape subjectivity, for otherwise he would
not be man; and the proof of this possibility is that we are able to conceive of both the
subjective and the surpassing of the subjective. This subjectivity would not even be
conceivable for a man who was totally enclosed in his subjectivity; an animal lives its
subjectivity but does not conceive it, for unlike man it does not possess the gift of
objectivity.
Social relativism does not ask whether it is true that two and two make four but from
what social background the man has come who declares this to be the case, and it does so
without ever considering the fact that if the background determines the thought and takes
precedence over truth, the same must apply in every case, which means that every
background determines thought and every thought is determined by a background. If
someone objects that such and such a particular background is favorable to the perception
of truth, we could easily turn the argument around by referring to a different scale of
values, which goes to show that this argument merely begs the question and that even on
the most favorable showing it amounts to no more than an estimate of probabilities
without any concrete significance. The same applies to historical relativism: since every
human thought necessarily occurs at a given moment in time—not with regard to its content
but with regard to the mental process—every thought would have only a relative
value and would be “outdated” and “obsolete” from the very moment of its birth; there
would therefore be no point in thinking since man could never escape duration.
But the object of relativism—what is at stake in its claims—is not always truth as
such; it can be any expression or modality of truth, especially a moral or aesthetic value;
in this way all rectitude may be reduced to some contingent and more or less insignificant
factor, and thus the door may be opened to all manner of misunderstandings,
degradations, and deceptions. When applied to the facts of tradition, relativism is
basically the error of confusing static and dynamic elements: one speaks about “epochs”
or “styles” and forgets that what is in question here is the manifestation of objective and
unwavering data, which are therefore definitive in their own way. In the growth of a tree,
a given stage obviously corresponds to a given moment in time, but this does not prevent
the trunk from being the trunk or branches from being branches or fruit from being fruit;
the trunk of an apple tree is not simply one moment in relation to the apple, and the apple
is not simply some other moment in relation to the trunk or the branch. The epoch
referred to as “Gothic” had of its own nature the right to survive in its part of the world
even to the end of time, for the ethnic givens that determined this epoch have not changed
and cannot change—unless Latin-Germanic Christianity were to become Mongolian;
Gothic, or Romano-Gothic, civilization was not left behind by “evolution” nor has it
ceased to exist through some transmutation of itself; it was assassinated by an extra-
Christian force, the neo-paganism of the Renaissance. Be that as it may, one of the
noteworthy traits of the twentieth century is the confusion, now habitual, between
evolution and decadence: there is no decadence, no impoverishment, no falsification that
people do not try to excuse with the aid of the relativistic argument of “evolution”,
reinforced as this is by the most inappropriate and erroneous associations. Thus
relativism, cleverly instilled into public opinion, paves the way for all kinds of corruption
while at the same time keeping watch lest any kind of healthy reaction might put the
brakes on this slide toward the abyss.
While errors that tend to deny objective and intrinsic intelligence destroy themselves
by propounding a thesis that is disproved by the very existence of the thesis itself, the fact
that errors exist does not in itself prove the inevitable fallibility of the intelligence, for
error is not derived from intelligence as such; on the contrary it is a privative
phenomenon that causes the activity of the intelligence to deviate because of an element
of passion or blindness, though without being able to invalidate the very nature of the
cognitive faculty.
A patent example of the classic contradiction in question here—a contradiction
characterizing for the most part all modern thought—is provided by existentialism, which
postulates a definition of the world that is impossible if existentialism itself is possible.
There are only two alternatives: either objective knowledge—a knowledge that is
therefore absolute in its own order—is possible, which proves that existentialism is false;
or else existentialism is true, but then its own promulgation is impossible since in the
existentialist universe there is no room for an objective and unwavering intellection.

If everything that can rightfully be described as human rests on merely psychological
causes, one can—and indeed must—explain everything by psychology, whence the
“psychology of religion” and the supposedly psychological criticism of sacred texts; in
every case of this kind, we are dealing with speculations in the void because of an
absence of the indispensable objective data—data inaccessible to methods of
investigation arbitrarily defined as normal and inappropriately extended to cover all
possible knowledge.
On the slippery ground of psychologism, the logic of Kantian criticism is now
“outmoded”, all things considered, for “critique” has readily assumed the guise of
“analysis”, and this fact is indeed symptomatic since the very notion of “critique” is
doubtless still too intellectual for the demolishers psychologists intend to be—
demolishers who blithely reduce metaphysics and even simple logic to questions of
grammar. People wish to “analyze” everything in a quasi-physical or quasi-chemical
way, and they would even analyze God if this were possible; indeed this is done
indirectly when an attack is made on the notion of God or the mental and moral
concomitances of this notion, or on the expressions—altogether out of reach as these
really are—of a genuine intellection.
If Freudianism declares that rationality is merely a hypocritical cloak for a repressed
animality, this statement—seemingly rational—falls under the same verdict; if there were
any logic to Freudianism, it would itself be nothing more than a symbolizing denaturation
of psychophysical instincts. No doubt psychoanalysts will say that in their case reasoning
is not a function of unacknowledged repressions; but we do not at all see why this
exception should be admissible in terms of their own doctrine, nor why this law of exception
should apply only in their favor and not in favor of the spiritual doctrines they reject
with such animus and with so monstrous a lack of any sense of proportion. In any case,
nothing can be more absurd than for a man to make himself not merely the accuser of
some psychological accident but of man as such; whence comes this demigod who
accuses, and whence his power to accuse? If the accuser himself is right, this must mean
that man is not so bad and that there exists within him a capacity for adequation;
otherwise it would be necessary to assume that the champions of psychoanalysis are
divine beings unpredictably fallen from heaven—a somewhat unlikely proposition, to say
the least.
Psychoanalysis begins by eliminating the transcendent factors essential to man and
then replaces complexes of inferiority or frustration with complexes of complacency and
egotism; it allows one to sin calmly and with assurance and to damn oneself serenely.
Like all philosophies of destruction—that of Nietzsche, for example—Freudianism
attributes an absolute significance to a relative situation; like all modern thought, all it
manages to do is to fall from one extreme into another, incapable as it is of realizing that
the truth—and the solution—it seeks is to be found in man’s deepest nature, of which the
religions and traditional wisdoms are precisely the spokesmen, guardians, and guarantors.
The mentality created and disseminated by psychoanalysis consists in refusing to
engage in a logical or intellectual dialogue—which is alone worthy of human beings—
and in answering questions by means of insolent conjectures; instead of trying to find out
whether an interlocutor is right or not, questions are asked about his parents or blood
pressure—to confine ourselves to symbolic examples of a fairly innocuous kind—as if
such procedures could not readily be turned against their authors or as if it were not easy,
by changing the mode of argument, to refute one analysis by means of another. The
pseudo-criteria of analysis are preferably physiological or sociological, depending upon
the craze of the moment; it would not be difficult to find counter criteria and conduct a
serious analysis of this imaginary analysis.
If man is a hypocrite, then one of two things: either he is so fundamentally, in which
case no one could take note of the fact without passing miraculously, or divinely, beyond
human nature; or his hypocrisy is only accidental and relative, in which case there was no
need to wait for psychoanalysis to take this fact into account since health is more
fundamental to the nature of man than illness and since, this being so, there have always
been men who could recognize evil and knew the cure for it. Or again, if man is
profoundly sick, it is impossible to see why psychoanalysis should alone have been able
to notice this and why its explanation, which is perfectly arbitrary and indeed essentially
perverse, should alone be the right one; of course, one could try to make sense of things
with the idea of “evolution”, but in this case it would be necessary to blind oneself to the
qualities of our ancestors and the vices of our contemporaries, and this is to say nothing
of the impossibility of demonstrating—or the absurdity of even assuming—that a sudden
burst of intellectual and moral objectivity could ever come about in a merely biological
and quantitative development.
For if a natural development led to a reflexive intelligence—to an act of awareness
that perceived the development for what it was—this outcome would be a reality falling
entirely outside the realm of the evolutionary process; there would be no common
measure between this act and the wholly contingent movement preceding it, and therefore
this movement could under no circumstances be the cause of the awareness in question.
This argument is the very negation of the theory of transformist evolutionism, hence of
every notion of man as a “link” or a “chance”, and so also of every form of mysticism
relating to a generative matter, a biosphere, a noosphere, or an “omega point”.1 Man is
what he is, or else he is nothing; the capacity for objectivity and absoluteness of thought
proves the quasi-absolute—that is, the unwavering and irreplaceable—character of the
creature that thinks; this is what is meant by the scriptural words “made in God’s image”.
This capacity for objectivity and absoluteness amounts to an existential—and
“preventive”—refutation of the ideologies of doubt: if a man is able to doubt, it is
because there is certainty; likewise the very notion of illusion proves that man has access
to reality. It follows that there are necessarily some men who know reality and who
therefore have certainty; and the great spokesmen of this knowledge and certainty are
necessarily the best of men. For if truth were on the side of doubt, the individual who
doubted would be superior not only to these spokesmen, who have not doubted, but also
to the majority of normal men across the millennia of human existence. If doubt
conformed to the real, human intelligence would be deprived of its sufficient reason, and
man would be less than an animal, for the intelligence of animals does not doubt the
reality to which it is proportioned.

Every science of the soul should be a science of the various orders of limitation or
infirmity; now there are four essential orders to consider: the universal, the general, the
individual, and the accidental.
This means that every man contains a universal limitation or “infirmity” because he
is creature and not Creator, manifestation and not Principle or Being; then a general
limitation or “infirmity” because he is an earthly man and not an angel or one of the
blessed in Heaven; next an individual infirmity because he is himself and not others; and
finally an accidental infirmity because he is beneath himself, unless he is perfect.
There is no science of the soul without a metaphysical basis and spiritual remedies.
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1. Transformist evolutionism—let it be said once again—is simply a materialist substitute for the ancient concept of the solidifying and segmenting “materialization” of a subtle and supra-sensorial primordial substance, in which were prefigured all the diverse possibilities of the a posteriori material world; the answer to evolutionism is the doctrine of archetypes and “ideas”, with ideas relating to pure Being—or the divine Intellect—and archetypes to the primordial substance in which they are “incarnated” as it were by reverberation.

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Thought of the psychological type is always rushing ahead of itself; it sets out to be
dynamic and effective before being true and to be a solution or remedy before being a
diagnosis; moreover it readily indulges in a duplicitous form of reasoning in order to
evade its intellectual responsibility. Imagine someone saying that every man must die, to
which he receives the reply that this is not true because it makes people feel sad or
fatalistic or fills them with despair; and yet this is the way the man “of our time” likes to
reason: his objections to truths he finds disagreeable are always beside the point and
always involve evasions or confusions of level. If a man raises a fire alarm, it is said that
he has no right to do so unless he knows how to extinguish the fire; and if someone
maintains that two and two make four and thus disrupts certain prejudices or interests, it
will be said that this calculation denotes not his ability to count but a complex of
exactitude, contracted no doubt through an excessive attachment to “bygone days”, and
so forth: if these metaphors appear to be caricatures, it is only because of their simplicity
or outspokenness, for the reality is often no less absurd than our simplifications.
Psychoanalysis has succeeded in perverting intelligence by giving rise to a
“psychoanalytical complex” that corrupts everything; if it is possible to deny the absolute
in many different ways, psychological and existentialist relativism denies it within
intelligence itself: intelligence is practically set up as a god but at the price of all that
constitutes its intrinsic nature, value, and effectiveness; intelligence becomes “adult” by
destroying itself.
There is a moral relativism that is truly odious: if you say that God and the beyond
are real, this shows you are cowardly, dishonest, infantile, shamefully abnormal; if you
say that religion is just make-believe, this shows you are courageous, honest, sincere,
adult, altogether normal. If all this were true, man would be nothing, possessing the
capacity for neither truthfulness nor heroism; and there would be no one even to note the
fact, for a hero cannot be extracted from a coward nor a sage from a man of feeble
mind—not even by “evolution”. But this moralistic bias, ignoble or simply stupid as the
case may be, is by no means something new: before it was applied to intellectual
positions, it was used to discredit the contemplative life, which was described as an
“escape”, as if a man did not have the right to flee from dangers concerning him alone
and—more important—as though the contemplative life and withdrawal from the world
were not instead a pilgrimage toward God; to flee God as do the worldly is far more
senseless and irresponsible than fleeing the world. To run away from God is at the same
time to run away from oneself, for when a man is alone with himself—even though he
may be surrounded by others—he is always with his Creator, whom he encounters at the
very root of his being.
The prejudice for reducing religious attitudes to reflexes of fear or servility, hence of
childishness and baseness, is completely in line with this intrusive and simplifying psychologism;
one should begin by proving that religious fears are really ill founded and
then, failing that, seek to understand the real meaning and inward consequences of
devotional attitudes.2 We would point out first that it is not debasing to humble oneself
before the Absolute, neither objectively nor therefore subjectively; but it is also important
to address the issue of “who” prostrates or humbles himself: obviously it is not our
transpersonal nucleus, the mysterious seat of the divine Immanence. In reality it is a
question here of the relative being—the “creature”, if one prefers—becoming aware of its
ontological dependence in relation to that One Being from whom it is derived and whom
it manifests in its own way; this act of awareness will accidentally seem like a
humiliation because of the congenital decadence of man, but this makes the awareness all
the more effective. It is obvious that our deiform and immortal personality includes an
aspect of majesty—quite visible already in the very form of the human body—and the
religions have been the first to call attention to this fact, though they have been no more
pardoned for this than for fostering the opposite attitude; but it is equally obvious that
there is something in man that merits constraint and abasement. It is impossible for the
ego, such as it is in its human animality, to be immune from all celestial reproof;
disequilibrium and fragmentation have a debt to pay to Equilibrium and Totality, and not
the other way round. To be conscious of this state of affairs is the first requirement of
human dignity, which is little understood at a time when demagogy has become a
“categorical imperative” in all spheres of thought.

Relativism engenders a spirit of rebellion and is at the same time its fruit. The spirit
of rebellion, unlike holy anger, is not a passing state, nor is it directed against some
worldly abuse; on the contrary it is a chronic malady directed against Heaven and against
everything that represents Heaven or is a reminder of it. When Lao Tzu said that “in the
latter days the man of virtue appears vile”, he had in mind the rebellious spirit that
characterizes our time; but for psychological and existentialist relativism, which by
definition always seeks to justify the crude ego, this spiritual state is normal, and it is its
absence that amounts to disease, whence the abolition of the sense of sin. The sense of sin
is the consciousness of an equilibrium surpassing our personal will and operating
ultimately for the benefit of our integral personality and that of the human collectivity,
even though occasionally wounding us; this sense of sin goes hand in hand with a sense
of the sacred, which is an instinct for what surpasses us—for what should therefore not be
touched by ignorant and iconoclastic hands.

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2. The association of ideas that links childhood with fear overlooks the fact that there are fears peculiar to adulthood and conversely that there are illusions of safety belonging to childhood.

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Of course, the idea that one may merit damnation by “offending the divine majesty”
is acceptable only if one feels what is at stake or knows it: Divinity is impersonal before
determining itself as divine Person in relation to the human person, and on the plane of
impersonality there is only an ontological and logical relationship of cause to effect between
God and man; on this plane there can be no question of “goodness”, for absolute
Reality is what it is, and pure causality has nothing specifically moral about it. But it is
on the plane of revelation as divine Person that Mercy can intervene, the Mercy that is the
most marvelous of all the mysteries; it is precisely this intervention that shows us that the
Absolute is not a blind power. Given their indolence of spirit and lack of imagination, it
is true that men are only too ready to prescribe a stupid kind of humility, but this is no
reason for believing that God requires it and that there is no possibility of manifesting our
consciousness of causality and equilibrium in an intelligent way; nonetheless God prefers
a stupid humility to an intelligent pride—a pride nourished, in other words, on an abuse
of intelligence.
As limited and degraded as man undeniably is, he yet remains “the proof by
contraries” of the divine Prototype and of all that this Prototype implies and determines in
relation to man. Not to acknowledge what surpasses us and not to wish to surpass
ourselves: this in fact is the whole program of psychologism, and it is the very definition
of Lucifer. The opposite, or rather the primordial and normative, attitude is this: to think
only in reference to what surpasses us and to live for the sake of surpassing ourselves; to
seek greatness where this is to be found and not on the plane of the individual and his
rebellious pettiness. In order to return to true greatness, man must first of all agree to pay
the debt of his pettiness and to remain small on the plane where he cannot help being
small; the sense of what is objective on the one hand and of the absolute on the other does
not go without a certain abnegation, and it is this abnegation precisely that allows us to be
completely faithful to our human vocation.

Studies in Comparative Religion, Vol. 7, No. 2. (Spring, 1973) © World Wisdom, Inc.
www.studiesincomparativereligion.com