Against Transcendence: Where Progressive Education Goes Wrong

Modern education, taking it as an exemplary modern institution, fails, as we have seen, because it rudely repudiates the past and arrogantly proposes only to think forwards without first mastering the prerequisite skill of thinking, and therefore also of understanding, backwards.  The essential fact about thinking backwards is that, before the subject begins his movement […]

Sirens: Sex, Faith, and The Decline of The West

Tara Fitzgerald nude in Sirens

Starring Hugh Grant as an English reverend by the name of Anthony Campion and Tara Fitzgerald as his wife Estella — who, on a visit to Australia, go to stay with the illustrator and painter Norman Lindsay — the movie Sirens (1994) is a strange, perhaps sometimes confused, but interesting and overlooked commentary on the modern […]

Will Europe Follow Atlantis? Part III: The Modern West

Lewis Spence and the revolt against the modern world

Spence himself invokes William Blake, in Will Europe Follow Atlantis, by references to the Lambeth seer’s America a Prophecy (1793) and Europe a Prophecy (1794).  Spence understands Blake in the context of Bardic Poetry and the Grail Saga, describing him as “of the lineage of the Sons of the Grail” and as enjoying “the birthright […]

Will Europe Follow Atlantis? Part II: Lewis Spence and The Occult War

Of all the interpreters of the Atlantis Myth since Plato, Lewis Spence (1874 – 1955), founder of the Scottish National Movement and folklorist-mythographer extraordinaire, most closely grasped the story’s cosmological-moral theme.  Although critics tend to treat Spence’s many books on Atlantis as falling into the archeological-literalist camp, their tenor, even in the earliest of them, […]

Will Europe Follow Atlantis? Part I: True Myth

The true myth of Atlantis

The phrases “true myth” and “probable myth” – in Greek, alethinos muthos and eikos muthos – come from Plato’s dialogues. They designate a rhetorical gesture in the dialogues that has to do, on the one hand, with the limits of definition and syllogism, and on the other with the validity of image and symbol. From […]

Europe, Terror, and the Higher Man

Feeling solidarity with the victims of the Paris attacks — and with the culture that has given us everything from Baudelaire to Monet — in the aftermath a large number of people changed their Facebook profile photo to one with the French flag superimposed on it. It was a small gesture by a lot of […]

Faith, Knowledge, and the Decline of the West

In December, the president annually sends all faculty and staff a calculatedly inoffensive “Winter Holidays” greeting, via email. For what it is worth, for many years I have regularly received an unambiguous “Merry Christmas” message from a long-distance colleague at the University of Tehran, under the auspices of whose department I had the good fortune, […]

Spirituality, Marxism, And The Future Of Religion

In one of the more surprising remarks of the year so far, “as far as social-economic theory is concerned,”said the Dalai Lama in January, “I am still a Marxist.” Religion, spirituality, and socialism and capitalism have, perhaps, crisscrossed for well over a century in the West, with the resulting movements expressing themselves in notions of […]