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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Fragment on,”Where the Wasteland Ends.”

(with a wink at IK)

Roszak is describing, in outline, a natural confluence of two rivers…Cartesian Dualism…the Scientific Mind of Reason…and what is regarded, here, as it’s anathema…the Romantic, Poetic, Ineffable Mind.
His Critique of what he terms “Single Vision” is in line with Adorno and Horkheimer, and of course Eliot and Blake…and all the rest of the Romantic, “Counterenlightenment”…
All of which I’m coming to see as, rather, an Extension of Enlightenment..
I keep coming back to Habermas’ instruction, that what the Enlightenment Project requires, is not a Reversal…a Retreat to the Old Forms…but “More Enlightenment”.
A Graduation, sort of, from the Adolescent to the Adult Stage of the Project.
A Reunion of the two Sides of the Brain, Right and Left…the Poet and the Scientist.

“Above all, how was one to break free of the idolatrous psychology which, thanks to Christianity, lay so heavily upon the mainstream of western culture?.....
…..Orthodox Christianity, however, was no use at all. Its history included a scattered contingent of ecstatic saints, celebrated yet marginal figures whose discontinuous biographies do not add  up to a tradition-or even to a school of thought. Again we return to the critical fact in the evolution of western consciousness. Mainstream Christianity had sacrificed the rhapsodic for the theological, the mythic for the literal. It had become religion of the word, not the experience. It was without a discipline of the visionary powers.”(p.283-4)
I could reorganize my Library into these opposing camps…Brothers, facing each other across the battlefield of How we apprehend the World. What Roszak is proposing, so far, is the same thing all the rest of the “Romantics” were after…a Family Reunion. The Enlightenment’s Universal Reason, Tempered with the Rapture of the Shaman.
I smell Nietzsche.
And, here’s my perennial Theme: I don’t Know, and that’s OK…look at the Milky Way, and those great Voids, scattered throughout. And Relax, and Dream.
This Hunger for Knowledge, and it’s black twin, the Fearful Hunger for Agency….that’s where the EP went off the rails…
I was astonished the first time I heard someone say that the Enlightenment Enabled Totalitarianism.
I couldn’t believe it. Twenty-Plus years later, it seems all too obvious, of course…the IBM Cards, Systematising the Nazi Death Machine…the Certainty, too…my favorite practice dummy.
The Certainty that the Nazis, or the Stalinists, Assumed,…Precisely at that point when Absurdities and, therefore, Questions , Arose….
Perhaps it’s mere Human Nature…a simple failure of Courage, to admit that one may have been Wrong….especially after so much cajoling Rhetoric had been expended to drag one’s Society down the oh so Reasonable Path…Logic, indeed, led to the Atrocities.
(here’s Fromm, lurking!)
Perhaps Western Man wasn’t “Ready” for the Enlightenment…
…which, in this vein, could be considered Multiple Truths…Instead of only One(TINA).
No matter, it’s the past, and we should Learn from it(More Enlightenment)…and Temper our continuing Bubble Expansion with the Humility and Awe of Mystics.

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