Poetry, Imagination, and Higher Consciousness

The American poet William Carlos Williams (1883 – 1963) began his authorship with imagist poems and quirky mixtures of prose and verse like Spring and All (1923), which intersperses paragraphs of speculation concerning poetry, consciousness, and the world with seemingly improvised but in reality carefully composed verse-effusions that attempt an audacious transformation of the banal […]

Sex, Movies, and Traditionalism on Mars

Christopher Mihm is a Minnesota-based producer and director of radically inexpensive, independently financed entertainment films whose gimmick is that they disguise the impoverishment of their production values by mimicking the low-budget, black-and-white “B” science-fiction films of the 1950s – and they do so with fairly consistent comedic brilliance. Mihm came on the scene in 2006 […]

Self-Consciousness, Language, and Spiritual Decline — Part II: The Reign of Quantity

Barfield’s “story” in History in English Words is a tale of immense loss of concepts and things in one area disguised by a proliferation of concepts and things in another area, so that an increase of quantity camouflages, as it were, a decrease in quality.  The loss affects a core-vocabulary having to do with spiritual […]

Self-Consciousness, Language, and Spiritual Decline — Part I: Mind and Myth

Called “Myth,” chapter V of Owen Barfield’s study of History in English Words is a discussion of Pagan lore. The old stories of the Greeks and Romans, not to mention of the Celts and Goths, represent the world as animated; that is, as being full of what in Latin are called animae – “spirits” or […]

Culture, Meaning, and The Metaphysics of Ancient Memory

Ancient peoples regarded memory as divine or supernatural.  Memory is thoroughly bound up in Antiquity with the Cult of the Dead, whose constituency cries out for commemoration.  In ten-thousand-year-old Çatal Hüyük in Central Anatolia the dwellers lived in apartments built over the sepulchers of their ancestors.  The past – in the form of the dead […]

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 […]

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, […]