Mysticism, Nature

Straighten Up and Fly Right: Jordan Peterson and the Left-hand Path

Maier, Atalanta Fugiens_AF46

Michael Maier, Atalanta Fugiens: Emblemata Nova de Secretis Naturae Chymica, 1618. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 ( Used with permission.

The buzzard told the monkey “You are chokin’ me
“Release your hold, and I will set you free”
The monkey looked the buzzard right dead in the eye
And said “Your story’s so touching but it sounds just like a lie”


Jordan B. Peterson would appreciate this moment of synchronicity. After all, he is well-versed in Jung.

A friend in the northern hemisphere tweeted a video clip of a Peterson interview yesterday on BBC Radio 5. I just happened to see his tweet, five hours later.

In reference to young men, he said:

“They’re desperate for a discussion about responsibility and fair play and noble being and working properly in the world, and to hear the idea that their lives actually matter; that if they straighten themselves up and fly right that they’ll have a beneficial effect on themselves and their family and community, and that the world is starving for that, and for them, as individuals; not for them as a group but for each of them as individuals.”


When I heard those words spoken, my memory instantly flashed to consciousness the 1943 hit song by Nat King Cole:

A buzzard took a monkey for a ride in the air
Monkey thought that everything was on the square
The buzzard tried to throw the monkey off his back
But the monkey grabbed his neck and said “Now listen, jack”

Straighten up and fly right
“Straighten up and stay right
“Straighten up and fly right
“Cool down papa, don’t you blow your top
“Ain’t no use in divin’
“What’s the use of jivin’
“Straighten up and fly right
“Cool down papa, don’t you blow your top.”

The buzzard told the monkey “You are chokin’ me
“Release your hold, and I will set you free”
The monkey looked the buzzard right dead in the eye
And said “Your story’s so touching but it sounds just like a lie”

From “Her Lucky Night” 1945

I instantly knew – by intuition, buttressed by knowledge, acquired recently and reviewed only yesterday – what this idiom really means.

It has a profound significance.

I doubt that many today – if any – fully appreciate what these allegorical lyrics mean. Wikipedia provides a helpful hint, by dint of the background story:

The song was based on a black folk tale that Cole’s father had used as a theme for one of his sermons. In the tale, a buzzard takes different animals for a joy ride. When he gets hungry, he throws them off on a dive and eats them for dinner. A monkey who had observed this trick goes for a ride; he wraps his tail around the buzzard’s neck and gives the buzzard a big surprise by nearly choking him to death.

Engraving from I.C.H. Des Hermes Trismegistus, Leipzig, 1782

Engraving from I.C.H. Des Hermes Trismegistus, Leipzig, 1782. © 1997-2017 ( Used with permission.

The phrase “straighten up and fly right” is said to mean:

Fig. to improve one’s behavior or attitude and perform better. (Originally referred to an airplane.)

in. to get serious and start behaving properly.

Clearly this is the context in which Peterson used it.

But there is far more to this allegory. I think it extremely important that we fully understand it:

And therefore, it is wisely said, that the stone is born of the spirit, because it is altogether spiritual. For the vulture himself flying without wings cries upon the top of the mountain, saying, I am the white brought forth from the black, and the red brought forth from the white, the citrine son of the red; I speak the truth and lie not.

Maier, Atalanta Fugiens_AF43

Michael Maier, Atalanta Fugiens: Emblemata Nova de Secretis Naturae Chymica, 1618. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 ( Used with permission.

[F]or the vulture flying in the air without wings, cries out that it might get up upon the mountain, that is upon the waters, upon which the “spiritus albus” or spirit of whiteness is born.

The vulture flying through the air, and the toad creeping upon the ground, are the emblems of our magistery.

– Lapidus, “In Pursuit of Gold”, The Secret Book of Artephius (c. 12th Century)

Last evening – again, just by ‘coincidence’ – I had tweeted a lengthy thread of quotations from a book I am reading, written by a PhD scholar. The author’s preface openly states his purpose:

This book was composed in large measure as a response to the irrational “Satanic scare” of the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was written with the intention of reaching a wide readership of thinking individuals capable of understanding the historical and cultural scope of ideas underlying the images of the left-hand path. [..] It should also be noted that the author of this book is not a Satanist, but is a practitioner of the left-hand path based on purely indigenous European models.

Stated more simply, the book is a scholarly defense of Satanist ideology, and so-called “black magic[k]”.

In earlier essays, such as Cheating Females Parts 1 and 2 (here, here), Ode to Debt (18+) (here), and Stags and Unicorns: The Alchemical Root of the Normalisation of Cheating (here), I have demonstrated that the left-hand path philosophy has been deeply embedded in modern western culture. It is increasingly evident – brazenly so – in the decadence, nihilism, and orchestrated chaos of postmodern western culture.

Indeed, the “Satanic” philosophy is literally the driving force of ‘our’ capital-ist,¹ Mammon-worshipping (and thereby enslaved) world. I have shown that it is at the very core of double-entry accounting, ‘modern’ banking, and the creation of our ‘money’ supply in the form of Balance Sheet credebt records, deceitfully rented to us at “interest” (usury, compounding):

..Freud cites overcoming incapacity for work as a major motive for entering a pact with the Devil. [..] A major psychological feature of black magic is that it provides immediate gains without immediate payment. The payment is feared as “really” both deferred and excessive. Thus deferred and excessive payment for immediate gain is characteristically associated with pacts with the Devil. The aversion towards usury, in current times as well as throughout the history of Christianity, is not completely coincidental. For usury is exactly a social expression of the Satanic Pact, immediate gains and excessive deferred payment.²


Engraving from JA Siebmacher, Das guldene Vleiss, Nurnberg 1737

Note hands AND feet: Left = Assets (real wealth), Right = Liabilities (double-entry *book* debt) | J.A. Siebmacher, Das guldene Vleiss (“The Golden Fleece”), Nurnberg, 1737. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 ( Used with permission.

To my repeated assertion that Satanic philosophy is the driving force of modern and (especially) postmodern western capitalist culture, our scholar would appear to agree:

“The existence of the left-hand path is not easily discovered, but once its principles have been uncovered it slowly becomes apparent just how widespread the philosophy is.”

“[T]he basic precepts of the left-hand path have for centuries penetrated far beyond the sphere of magical and occult activity.”

“[M]odern philosophies and political ideologies have fully embraced principles basic and fundamental to the left-hand path, almost all of which have become the accepted norm in the west.”

The true significance of the allegorical sermon by Nat King Cole’s father becomes clear only when we understand the origin and meaning of the left-hand path, versus the right-hand path.

We see then that, rather than “the devil in the detail”, in the lyrics of the song we find the exact opposite: “Le bon Dieu est dans le détail” (“the good God is in the detail”).

I will now present some excerpts from our left-hand path scholar’s book, trusting that your eyes will be opened, and you will see. Note that italicised emphasis is in the original; bold is mine:

The actual origin of the right-hand versus left-hand path terminology itself is rooted in the vocabulary of Indian tantric sects. The two main divisions of these are the dakshinachara, “right-way” and the vamachara, “left-way”. [..] The eventual elaboration of the right-hand/left-hand path distinction is quite complex, but its origins are most probably rooted in the widespread tantric doctrines of a natural flow of universal force through the human body along a left to right line – entering the left, exiting the right. This is mirrored by a cosmic flow of force from the north to the south. When the human being is oriented toward the east this flow pattern is said to be in harmony with the one natural to his body, as his left hand is to the north, his right hand to the south. Here are the roots of the key to the common antinomianism, reversal of patterns, found in left-hand path tantrism. To reverse the left to right pattern, contrary to nature and cosmic law, requires an exercise of the faculty of will. This is an act of rebellion against nature and against divinely ordained cosmic order. [..] In going against this flow, individuals more fully articulate – individuate – themselves within their environments. Independence and freedom are attained and maintained – perhaps even personal immortality is to be gained.

Julius Evola remarks on the distinction between the two paths:

“The creative and productive aspect of the cosmic process is signified by the right hand, by the color white, and by the two goddesses Uma and Gauri… . The second aspect, that of conversion and return (exitus, reditus) is signified by the left hand, by the color black, and by the dark, destructive goddesses Durga and Kali. Thus according to the Mahakala Tantra, when the left and the right hands are in equilibrium we experience samsara, but when the left hand prevails, we find liberation.”

[Burton’s Legal Thesaurus: reditusproceeds, rent, revenue]

Engraving from Benedictus Figulus, Thesaurinella olympica, Hamburg, 1682

Benedictus Figulus, Thesaurinella olympica, 1682. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 ( Used with permission.

Alain Daniélou remarks that the left-hand path corresponds to a “disintegrating tendency” (tamas) which “uses the power of Nature, the passions and instincts of man, to conquer, with their aid, the world of the senses… This way leads directly from the physical to the abstract because … the descending tendency is at both ends of the manifested, [therefore the left-hand path] may utilize even eroticism or drunkenness as a means of spiritual achievement.”

Clearly the left-hand path .. is associated both with the idea of dis-integration (separation) and with the practice of antinomianism  – of “going against the grain” of conventions in order to gain spiritual power.

Here it is quite clear, at least from the masculine perspective,³ that the essence of the vamachara [left-way] is the total transformation of the human initiate into something superhuman or god(dess)-like.

One of the significant differences between the two tantric paths, although both are under aegis of Shiva, is that on the right-hand path the adept always experiences “someone above him,” even at the highest level of realization. However, on the left-hand path the adept “becomes the ultimate sovereign” (chakravartin = world ruler).

Sixth woodcut from Basil Valentine's Azoth

Heinrich Nollius, Theoria Philosophiae Hermeticae, 1617. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 ( Used with permission.

It is tempting to expand this essay with details of the antinomian “aberrations” that are practiced on the left-hand path in pursuit of its goal. But to do so would, I think, detract from the importance of the thematic understanding here presented, thanks to Jordan Peterson, a black folk tale, Nat King Cole and his preacher man father, my Twitter friend on the other side of the planet, and what was, for me, a spirit-raising moment of Jungian synchronicity.

If you feel compelled to learn more of the (disturbing) details, then you may wish to read my earlier essays mentioned above. One further quotation from our PhD scholar will be mildly suggestive:

Ultimately, [Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis] de Sade holds that the pursuit of pleasure is the object of human life, and that physical satisfaction is more noble than the merely mental. Happiness depends on the greatest possible extension of pleasure. This is done by enlarging the scope of one’s tastes and fantasies. It is only through wilful imagination that the possibilities for pleasure are extended. Social or religious conditioning prevents this in most cases. Finally, happiness is not so much found in the enjoyment of pleasure as in the desire itself and in the destruction of obstacles in the way of its accomplishment.

For de Sade the greatest pleasures were to be found in overcoming things which may have at one time inspired fear or disgust.

Whether in the sexual or more abstract philosophical sphere, the truest definition of Sadism .. is: “The pleasure felt from the observed modifications on the external world produced by the will of the observer.”

Suffice it to say, the allegory of the trickster buzzard who offers to take you on a jivin’, “fly left” joy ride – one that will “set you free” – is a profoundly cautionary tale:

“It is quite understandable why the forces of orthodox Christianity fought every advance in scientific, political, or religious philosophy, for each advance in spiritual freedom and enforcement of the interests of plurality over unity is indeed a victory for the Prince of Darkness – the principle of isolate intelligence…”

Maier, Atalanta Fugiens_AF12

Michael Maier, Atalanta Fugiens: Emblemata Nova de Secretis Naturae Chymica, 1618. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 ( Used with permission.

“Evil is the conscious attempt to make the conditions of existence more pathological than they have to be, and it’s motivated by conscious intent.”


The buzzard told the monkey “You are chokin’ me
“Release your hold, and I will set you free”
The monkey looked the buzzard right dead in the eye
And said “Your story’s so touching but it sounds just like a lie”


UPDATE 3 Feb 2018:

Recommend reading this article on the gnostic underpinnings of Jordan Peterson’s philosophy. Compare with Cabala’s origins. Readers of my other essays will hopefully recognise the fundamental connections between gnosticism, cabala, and left-hand path philosophies.



Stephen E. Flowers PhD, Lords of the Left-hand Path: A History of Spiritual Dissent

¹ If the reader is tempted to assume that I am opposed to the ideology of capitalism alone, I would say only that there was insufficient time and space to address the subject here. Please consider that I am somewhat widely read on the true origins, intent, and consequences of ‘Marxian’ socio-economic theories; thus my views on what I consider to be an artificial opposition are likely more nuanced than you may have presumed.

² David Bakan, Sigmund Freud and the Jewish Mystical Tradition

³ Cheating Females: The Production of Inequality, By Illusions of Equality

I recommend giving thought to this man’s words. But do not watch if you are unable to ignore vulgar, and/or blasphemous language, in the interest of gaining understanding.

“Of course, if I get disassociated from by a domination of empirical science I could be objectified into nihilism but apart from that little hiccup…”


Why Economics Needs Repentance, Not Reformation


The only way for economists to earn public faith in their profession, is to repent, and cease from practicing cabalists’ magic.

One year ago, economists were trusted far less than hairdressers, and the ordinary man or woman in the street.

Today, as the curtain closes on a tumultuous year Two Thousand Seventeen of the Common (until recently, Christian) Era, and the portents of war, of financial, social, ecological and civilisational collapse, and the gloomy dawn of a new Dark Age ruled by a small cabal of neo-feudal globalist oligarchs hang ominously in the air, the economics profession continues to do what it does best.

Bicker in the piazza. While all around, Rome is burning.

Case in point.

A recent protest by rebel economists invoked the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s fabled[1] 95 Theses. In reply, the hierarchy issued a pontifical bull defending their “unhealthy intellectual monopoly” (my emphasis):

It has become routine to assault the “dismal science” with a dismal ignorance of what economics actually involves. Writers, students and even some social scientists from other disciplines who have very little exposure to what economists do are quick to point the finger and declare economics as a veil for vested interest, and dismiss it as a way of thinking that is fossilised in numbers.

Sometimes, though, the criticism can even come from within the economics bubble itself.

Oh the irony.

Economic theory has always been a veil for vested interest: the interest of the Usurocracy.

Economists’ “way of thinking” has been fossilised in numbers since the thirteenth century rise of cabalist theurgy: the magic equilibrium numerological ‘science’ of angelology and demonology.

Economists exist in a bubble of historical ignorance. They broadly fail to search outside their prescribed textbooks for knowledge and understanding of the true origin of the fundamental ideas and beliefs within their own discipline. Heterodox economists calling for a Reformation, or revolution in economic thinking, are just as endarkened as the orthodoxy.

Consider a singular example often cited by a leading economic rebel:

Economics doesn’t need a Reformation: it needs a scientific revolution, similar to that triggered by Copernicus’s publication of “On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres” in 1543. [..] This was the first great scientific revolution, and it inverted our understanding of the Universe: rather than the Sun orbiting the Earth, the Earth orbited the Sun; rather than the stars being nearby, they were far away; and gravity, not God, told the “Heavenly Bodies” how to move. [..] The revolution in astronomy that Copernicus triggered with his fundamentally different paradigm took over a century. Galileo played a key role here, by building the first serious telescope and observing four of Jupiter’s moons… [..] This revolution didn’t come peacefully, and it wasn’t led by the Ptolemaic astronomers themselves, but by new entrants to the field—including, crucially, Isaac Newton, whose equations of motion provided a mathematical explanation for why the orbits of planets were elliptical rather than circular.

Let’s unpack this. Historical context is vital.

In the Battle of Ideas between ‘science’ and ‘superstition’, as always, it’s about money:

Then, as now, all wars are bankers’ wars.

Copernicus spent many years in Italy. Evidence suggests that ‘his’ idea crystallised while studying at the University of Padua.[2] This was the seat of libertas scholastica (academic freedom) near Venice: the fertile ground for ideas and schemes offering ‘utility’ in the confrontation, or subversion, of political or religious threats to the Venetian Republic’s profits and power. Its first offered subjects were law, and theology. Copernicus himself is said to have attributed the discovery of heliocentrism to the ancient Greek astronomer, Aristarchus of Samos.[3][4]

Galileo was a paid agent and likely dupe of Paolo Sarpi, chief of the Venetian intelligence and philosophical ridotto (think tank) networks. The controversy between Galileo and the Church was masterminded by Sarpi – his trial represented “one of the greatest public relations successes of all time.” Galileo’s status as Europe’s premier scientist followed the publication of ‘his’ astronomical findings. Sarpi was the “advisor, author, and director” of the entire project. In March 1610 he wrote that a telescope had been found in Holland two years before (my emphasis):

Once this was found, our mathematician [Galileo] of Padua and some of our other people who are not ignorant of these arts began to use the telescope on celestial bodies, adjusting it and refining it for the purpose….”[5]


Paolo Sarpi (Source: Wikipedia – Mezzotint by William Dickinson, 1777, after F. Zucchero, 1777)

The fame of alchemist and cabalist Isaac Newton and his alleged “discoveries” was also engineered by the Venetian “Deep State” network, for financial and political gain, in context of Anglo-French rivalries. The mastermind was Padua native and member of the Venetian nobility, Antonio Schinella de Conti, the duplicitous intermediary in the Leibniz-Newton calculus controversy.[6][7]

Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 9.58.14 PM

Père Conti of the French Mission in Rome, caricature by Pier Leone Ghezzi, 1674–1755. (Source:

The Church hierarchy may have been empirically wrong in upholding the geocentric model of the Universe. However, the weight of emphasis given to these key historical events by modern academia abjectly fails to identify the vested financial motives underpinning the ‘scientific revolution’.

Throughout the Renaissance – also known as the Hermetic Reformation[8] – the immensely powerful Venetian oligarchy employed its sophisticated pan-European network of agents in active promotion of any ideas convenient to its financial interests. Its chief opponent, and perennial on-again-off-again antagonist or ally, was Europe’s moral and financial regulatory authority: the Catholic Church.

The Church’s teachings on usury, and a spiritual kingdom – in essence, a moral paradigm of patient endurance in suffering, and of doing good in the service of others in this life, in anticipation of spiritual reward – were anathema to a usurious patrician nobility and merchant oligarchy possessed of centuries-old envies and aspirations for earthly rule, through money and the sword.

Modern science did not begin with rare enlightened “free thinkers”, armed with reason and experimental evidence, courageously challenging the authority of superstitious obscurantism.

Nor did economic ‘science’ develop as a result of “physics envy”.

Modern science – including physics, and the ‘science’ of economics – began with thirteenth century cabalist theurgy.

Black (under cover of “white”) magic.

While the Church promoted God as the invisible force telling the Heavenly Bodies how to move (“by the Word of God”), the Venetian oligarchy promoted cabalist theurgy as the means by which man could gain control over the “spirits” controlling the motions of the Sun (gold), Moon (silver) and the planets Above. These heavenly “powers” were the key to the universal order of creation, including the world Below.

Rather than God as the invisible, personal force who could be humbly petitioned to grant requests for health and wealth “according to His will”, cabalist theurgy promoted the idea of acquiring power to command the invisible, intermediary forces responsible for health and wealth.

The secret gnosis (knowledge) of how to do this, was the Art of magic words – magic letters, embedded with magic numbers.

Magic mathematics.

The Duality Principle embedded in the double entry bookkeeping of medieval Italian merchants, and in the “rational”, pleasure/profit-maximising, magic equilibrium assumptions and equations of modern economists, is the “Enlightened” modern gnostics’ scientific title for ancient Babylonian occult philosophistry.

Story-telling, with numbers added.

As proponents of black magic, the Venetian Usurocracy was initially hostile to the flourishing development of empirical science in rival Florence during the early Renaissance. Around 1600 however, the Paolo Sarpi network began rebranding the Venetian Republic as the embodiment of the most advanced and sophisticated science, representing the highest expression of scientific values.[9]

Over ensuing centuries, the Usurocracy’s network successfully smuggled its cabalist theurgic principles into all areas of modern science, promoting formalism, reductionist materialism, and in a supremely ironic example of cabalist-derived Orwellian doublethink, the fetishism of institutional (i.e, academic ‘expert’) authority.

Economists have an immensely important role in shaping the policies, regulations, and values of modern society. Few, if any, have the faintest clue that by conflating biological, material, and moral values using the balance sheet ‘logic’ of double entry, the Venetian Giammaria Ortes, and subsequent luminaries of the British Radical liberal philosophical school such as Jeremy Bentham, cleverly eliminated the “moral element”[10] from their ‘scientific’ discipline: one that was once called Moral Philosophy.

Those who do not study history, or who restrict their search for knowledge and truth to within safe reading and thinking distance of academically-approved, textbook lines of inquiry, will never discover the true origin and sign-ificance of the ideas, and (amoral) values that they practice and preach.

One wonders if St. Peter may not have been forecasting the coming of modernity’s neo-Babylonian economic theurgists, and not merely pseudo-Christian theologians, when he wrote his Second Epistle warning against false teachers:

These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.

While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption…

St. Peter the Apostle



[1] E. Michael Jones, “The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and its Impact on World History”, Fidelity Press (2008), p. 257 – “On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther sent 95 objections to the Catholic Church’s doctrine on indulgences to Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz. According to legend, he also nailed the theses to the door of the Schlosskirche in Wittenberg.”

[2] Jerzy Dobrzycki and Leszek Hajdukiewicz, “Kopernik, Mikołaj”, Polski słownik biograficzny (Polish Biographical Dictionary), vol. XIV, Wrocław, 1969, p. 6 (cited in Wikipedia, Nicolaus Copernicus In Italy, fn. 55; online 31 Dec 2017)

[3] Owen Gingrich, “Did Copernicus Owe a Debt to Aristarchus?”, Journal for the History of Astronomy, vol. 16, no. 1 (February 1985), pp. 37–42. (cited in Wikipedia, Nicolaus Copernicus, fn. 6; online 31 December 2017) – “Copernicus was aware of Aristarchus’ heliocentric theory and cited him in an early (unpublished) manuscript of De Revolutionibus (which still survives), though he removed the reference from his final published manuscript.” (note A)

[4] George Kish, “A Source Book in Geography”, Harvard University Press (1978), p. 51 (cited in Wikipedia, Aristarchus of Samos, fn 2; online 31 December 2017) 

[5] Webster G. Tarpley, “Against Oligarchy: How the Dead Souls of Venice Corrupted Science”, The American Almanac, January, 1996.

[6] Richard S. Westfall, “Never at Rest: A Biography of Isaac Newton”, Cambridge University 1983, p. 771ff (cited in Wikipedia, Antonio Schinella Conti, fn 1; online 31 December 2017)

[7] Webster G. Tarpley, “Against Oligarchy: How the Dead Souls of Venice Corrupted Science”, The American Almanac, January, 1996.

[8] James D. Heiser, Prisci Theologi and the Hermetic Reformation in the Fifteenth Century, 2011

[9] Webster G. Tarpley, “Against Oligarchy: How the Dead Souls of Venice Corrupted Science”, The American Almanac, January, 1996.

[10] John Ruskin, “Unto This Last” (1860), E.P. Dutton and Company, 1921 Edition, Essay IV Ad Valorem, p. 89.

Mysticism, Time

“Perhaps It Is Not An Accident”

Saturn Devouring His Son, Francisco Goya (1819-1823). (Source: Wikipedia)

I feel sure that with a little more experience we shall use the new-found bounty of nature quite differently from the way in which the rich use it to-day, and will map out for ourselves a plan of life quite otherwise than theirs.

For many ages to come the old Adam will be so strong in us that everybody will need to do some work if he is to be contented. We shall do more things for ourselves than is usual with the rich to-day, only too glad to have small duties and tasks and routines. But beyond this, we shall endeavour to spread the bread thin on the butter – to make what work there is still to be done to be as widely shared as possible. Three-hour shifts or a fifteen-hour week may put off the problem for a great while. For three hours a day is quite enough to satisfy the old Adam in most of us!

There are changes in other spheres too which we must expect to come. When the accumulation of wealth is no longer of high social importance, there will be great changes in the code of morals. We shall be able to rid ourselves of many of the pseudo-moral principles which have hag-ridden us for two hundred years, by which we have exalted some of the most distasteful of human qualities into the position of the highest virtues. We shall be able to afford to dare to assess the money-motive at its true value. The love of money as a possession – as distinguished from the love of money as a means to the enjoyments and realities of life – will be recognised for what it is, a somewhat disgusting morbidity, one of those semi-criminal, semi-pathological propensities which one hands over with a shudder to the specialists in mental disease. All kinds of social customs and economic practices, affecting the distribution of wealth and of economic rewards and penalties, which we now maintain at all costs, however distasteful and unjust they may be in themselves, because they are tremendously useful in promoting the accumulation of capital, we shall then be free, at last, to discard.

“Within a few centuries, the new capitalist spirit challenged the basic Christian ethic: the boundless ego of Sir Gales Overreach and his fellows in the marketplace had no room for charity or love in any of their ancient senses. The capitalist scheme of values in fact transformed five of the seven deadly sins of Christianity – pride, envy, greed, avarice, and lust – into positive social virtues, treating them as necessary incentives to all economic enterprise; while the cardinal virtues, beginning with love and humility, were rejected as ‘bad for business,’ except in the degree that they made the working class more docile and more amenable to cold-blooded exploitation.

In sum, where capitalism prospered, it established three main canons for successful economic enterprise: the calculation of quantity, the observation and regimentation of time (‘Time is Money’), and the concentration on abstract pecuniary rewards. Its ultimate values – Power, Profit, Prestige – derive from these sources and all of them can be traced back, under the flimsiest of disguises, to the Pyramid Age. The first produced the universal accountancy of profit and loss; the second ensured productive efficiency in men as well as machines; the third introduced a driving motive into daily life, equivalent on its own base level to the monk’s search for an eternal reward in Heaven. The pursuit of money became a passion and an obsession: the end to which all other ends were means.” 1

Of course there will still be many people with intense, unsatisfied purposiveness who will blindly pursue wealth – unless they can find some plausible substitute. But the rest of us will no longer be under any obligation to applaud and encourage them. For we shall inquire more curiously than is safe today into the true character of this “purposiveness” with which in varying degrees Nature has endowed almost all of us. For purposiveness means that we are more concerned with the remote future results of our actions than with their own quality or their immediate effects on our own environment.

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord].

Therefore I tell you, stop being worried or anxious (perpetually uneasy, distracted) about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, as to what you will wear. Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow [seed] nor reap [the harvest] nor gather [the crops] into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by worrying can add one hour to [the length of] his life? And why are you worried about clothes? See how the lilies and wildflowers of the field grow; they do not labor nor do they spin [wool to make clothing], yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory and splendor dressed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive and green today and tomorrow is [cut and] thrown [as fuel] into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Therefore do not worry or be anxious (perpetually uneasy, distracted), saying, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ For the [pagan] Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; [but do not worry,] for your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.” 2

The “purposive” man is always trying to secure a spurious and delusive immortality for his acts by pushing his interest in them forward into time. He does not love his cat, but his cat’s kittens; nor, in truth, the kittens, but only the kittens’ kittens, and so on forward forever to the end of cat-dom. For him jam is not jam unless it is a case of jam to-morrow and never jam to-day. Thus by pushing his jam always forward into the future, he strives to secure for his act of boiling it an immortality.

The Book of Lambspring, 1599, illustration from re-edition “Dyas chymica tripartita”, 1625. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 ( Used with permission.

Let me remind you of the Professor in Sylvie and Bruno:

“Only the tailor, sir, with your little bill,” said a meek voce outside the door.

“Ah, well, I can soon settle his business,” the Professor said to the children, “if you’ll just wait a minute. How much is it, this year, my man?” The tailor had come in while he was speaking.

“Well, it’s been a-doubling so many years, you see,” the tailor replied, a little grufy, “and I think I’d like the money now. It’s two thousand pound, it is!”

“Oh, that’s nothing!” the Professor carelessly remarked, feeling in his pocket, as if he always carried at least that amount about with him. “But wouldn’t you like to wait just another year and make it four thousand? Just think how rich you’d be! Why, you might be a king, if you liked!”

“I don’t know as I’d care about being a king,” the man said thoughtfully. “But it dew sound a powerful sight o’ money! Well, I think I’ll wait–”

“Of course you will!” said the Professor. “There’s good sense in you, I see. Good-day to you, my man!”

“Will you ever have to pay him that four thousand pounds?” Sylvie asked as the door closed on the departing creditor.

“Never, my child!” the Professor replied emphatically. “He’ll go on doubling it till he dies. You see, it’s always worth while waiting another year to get twice as much money!”

Perhaps it is not an accident that the race which did most to bring the promise of immortality into the heart and essence of our religions has also done most for the principle of compound interest and particularly loves this most purposive of human institutions.

I see us free, therefore, to return to some of the most sure and certain principles of religion and traditional virtue – that avarice is a vice, that the exaction of usury is a misdemeanour, and the love of money is detestable, that those walk most truly in the paths of virtue and sane wisdom who take least thought for the morrow. We shall once more value ends above means and prefer the good to the useful. We shall honour those who can teach us how to pluck the hour and the day virtuously and well, the delightful people who are capable of taking direct enjoyment in things, the lilies of the field who toil not, neither do they spin.

But beware! The time for all this is not yet. For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to every one that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. For only they can lead us out of the tunnel of economic necessity into daylight.


– John Maynard Keynes, Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Essays In Persuasion, The Future, 1930



POSTSCRIPT:  Goya’s painting Saturn Devouring His Son depicts the myth of the Greek titan Cronus (“Time”), in Goya’s title Romanized to Saturn; the god of generation/birth/life and dissolution/death (note the Union of Opposites) wealth, abundance, agriculture, periodic renewal and “liberation”.

In Rome, the Temple of Saturn housed the state treasury (Aerarium). The famous Saturnalia celebrated him with feasting, role reversals, free speech*, and revelry.

According to tradition, Cronus (i.e., the Semitic god El) – who envied and overthrew his father† Uranus – feared that one of his sons would overthrow him, and so devoured them at birth.

Have you spotted the ancient alchemical “transformation” allegory for debt-at-compounding-“interest” magick ‘money’ yet?

Chronos (“Time”) and Mercury-Hermes. Dragon symbolises the female (debt) principle | Abraham Eleazar, Uraltes chymisches Werck, ‘Flamel’, 1735. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 ( Used with permission.

* One wonders whether the “free speech” of the Saturnalia was similar to that of the role-reversing cult festivals of the Sumerian goddess Inanna (eg, an emphasis on the scatological), where all social taboos were deliberately broken in a debauched (de-value-d), “carnivalesque” celebration of the goddess.

† “Rabbi Nathan met the prophet Elijah. He asked him, ‘What was the Holy One, Blessed be He, doing in that hour?’

“Said Elijah, ‘He was laughing and saying, “My children have defeated me, my children have defeated me.”’

Babylonian Talmud, Bava Mezia 59b



[1] Lewis Mumford, Myth of the Machine (1967)
[2] Jesus of Nazareth, Gospel of Matthew 6:24-33 (Amplified Bible)


Oceans of the heart

“Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninov, possibly the greatest composer of the 20th century, created the impossible, and what later was considered ‘superhuman’ – he captured the whole scale of human emotions in music. And while there is no question about the effect his music produces on us, there is a bigger question that startles us: if his music is only a transposition of his deeper emotions on paper, then how can anything of that scale, anything as big as an ocean find room in a man’s heart, and most importantly, what natural force could ever cause his soul to stir so much?”

~ Anna Novikova, Rachmaninov’s Little Russia in the Alps,
‘Our Russia’ magazine



The cloud of forgetting

One of my all-time favourite books is a 14th century Christian mystical work entitled “The Cloud of Unknowing”.

Should you not yet have read an old post of mine — No Man’s Land — then I would encourage you to do so now, before continuing further. Some things are best and most fully received in right order; this, I suggest, is such a thing.

It is not without some hesitation that I have chosen to quote from this chapter openly on the internet. For I am acutely cognisant of the wise warning given in the Prologue:

“… And over this I charge thee and I beseech thee by the authority of charity, that if any such shall read [this book], write it, or speak it, or else hear it be read or spoken, that thou charge him as I do thee, for to take him time to read it, speak it, write it, or hear it, all over. For peradventure there is some matter therein in the beginning or in the middle, the which is hanging, and not fully declared where it standeth: and if it be not there, it is soon after, or else in the end. Wherefore if a man saw one matter and not another, peradventure he might lightly be led into error; and therefore in eschewing of this error, both in thyself and in all other, I pray thee for charity do as I say thee…”

And so, with the author’s sincere urging first passed on to you, and, I trust, the knowledge of my earlier post held in memory for context, “Here Beginneth The Three And Fortieth Chapter”:

“That all witting and feeling of a man’s own being must needs be lost if the perfection of this work shall verily be felt in any soul in this life.

Look that nought work in thy wit nor in thy will but only God. And try for to fell all witting and feeling of ought under God, and tread all down full far under the cloud of forgetting. And thou shalt understand, that thou shalt not only in this work forget all other creatures than thyself, or their deeds or thine, but also thou shalt in this work forget both thyself and also thy deeds for God, as well as all other creatures and their deeds. For it is the condition of a perfect lover, not only to love that thing that he loveth more than himself; but also in manner for to hate himself for that thing that he loveth.

Thus shalt thou do with thyself: thou shalt loathe and be weary with all that thing that worketh in thy wit and in thy will unless it be only God. For why, surely else, whatsoever that it be, it is betwixt thee and thy God. And no wonder though thou loathe and hate for to think on thyself, when thou shalt always feel sin, a foul stinking lump thou wottest never what, betwixt thee and thy God: the which lump is none other thing than thyself. For thou shalt think it oned and congealed with the substance of thy being: yea, as it were without departing.

And therefore break down all witting and feeling of all manner of creatures; but most busily of thyself. For on the witting and the feeling of thyself hangeth all witting and feeling of all other creatures; for in the regard of it, all other creatures be lightly forgotten. For, an thou wilt busily set thee to the proof, thou shalt find when thou hast forgotten all other creatures and all their works — yea, and thereto all thine own works — that there shall live yet after, betwixt thee and thy God, a naked witting and a feeling of thine own being: the which witting and feeling behoveth always be destroyed, ere the time be that thou shalt feel soothfastly the perfection of this work.”

Read/download The Cloud of Unknowing here.


Hear hear, Vladimir

“Today, many nations are revising their moral values and ethical norms, eroding ethnic traditions and differences between peoples and cultures. Society is now required not only to recognise everyone’s right to the freedom of consciousness, political views and privacy, but also to accept without question the equality of good and evil, strange as it seems, concepts that are opposite in meaning. This destruction of traditional values from above not only leads to negative consequences for society, but is also essentially anti-democratic, since it is carried out on the basis of abstract, speculative ideas, contrary to the will of the majority, which does not accept the changes occurring or the proposed revision of values.”

— Vladimir Putin, Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly, December 12, 2013


“To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in them both, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it (…) To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality.”

— George Orwell, defining “doublethink”, 1984