Reposting here something I wrote recently on o9a.org in response to a critique of the vita contemplativa in favor of action. This is also meant to clarify that I personally have major problems with the ethics, perspective, and politics of groups like The Black Order (I do not support National Socialism). Nevertheless, it is for precisely that reason that I think it’s important to engage in serious dialogue with them, both to clarify their position and ours as we make our way into the future of this tradition. While our views may be opposed in important respects, it is my hope that in so doing we can come to a new understanding regarding what the contours of that future may look like (assuming, of course, they are “visible” at all).
A response to Clarice of Nexion of Ur
Most amusing, Clarice. But let me be clear:
From your reaction and from my writing, many reading the last few posts here may think that I’m some studious, academic bookworm lost in a world of theoretical reflection and abstraction with no grounding in vital experience or action: a “pathetic husk pouring over the dusty tomes of vacuous minds intent on finding solace for their inadequacy-in-the-world,” bound, as you put it, to “the emasculating chains of vain scholarship” in opposition to “putting boots on the ground to carry out definitive action.”
In response, I will say this: those who know me personally – including some of the most powerful Nexions in this tradition – know that my background is steeped in a solemn history of profound sinister/Satanic activity. What I write is not meant to be theoretical. And it is from my history of violent and transformative action that I can even approach the contemplative. My journey along the Seven-Fold Way was prefaced by extreme experiences: I know what it’s like to fight for my life, to be beaten and broken, to approach physical death on more than one occasion; of losing everyone and everything and having to rebuild from a bottom that no longer exists. I know what it’s like to lose my mind, to find my best friend dead in a bathtub after committing suicide, to find myself in the emergency room on multiple occasions, to know and love a woman and then to see her die … My boots aren’t just on the ground: they’re on the earth.
The best among us know what it’s like to be wounded. One cannot approach the ONA or the Seven-Fold Way, let alone expect to succeed, without having had such experiences break down the resistance structures that prevent us from maintaining composure in the face of great adversity. It is precisely from this wounding, from having been the recipient of its necessary violence, that I object to propagating it, whether in language or in deed.
You have misunderstood what was written in my last post: action is not meant to be a substitution for contemplation, but neither is contemplation meant to be a substitution for action. The two must inform each other.
What I wrote was not meant to target any specific person or Nexion. I have engaged in brief dialogue with your parent Nexion, The Black Order, for example – and while I disagree with much of what is written in their literature on some of the grounds explicated in my previous post, I think it is nevertheless important to engage in serious dialogue with them and their ideas for just this reason.
Your response, which I found vulgar and distasteful, seems to indicate just the contrary. And it’s “vita activa,” not “via activa.”
But my brain grew more and more perplexed. At last I jumped out of bed to find the water tap. I wasn’t thirsty, but my head was feverish and I felt instinctively a need for water. When I had had my drink, I went back to bed again and decided that I was going to sleep, by hook or by crook. I closed my eyes and forced myself to be quiet. I lay for several minutes without moving a muscle, began to sweat and felt the blood pulse violently through my veins. Wasn’t it just too funny, though, that he should look for money in the cornet! And he coughed, just once. Is he still walking around down there? Sitting on my bench? … The blue mother-of-pearl … the ships …
– Knut Hamsun, Hunger
March 15, 2022
2775 ab urbe condita