Monday, June 17, 2013

The New Aeon, Immanentizing the Eschaton, and Slouching Toward Liberation of Consciousness in Two Parts (Part I)

“It was the year that they finally immanentized the eschaton . . .” the famous opening of The Illuminatus! Trilogy by novelist Robert Shea (1933-1994) and counterculture philosopher Robert Anton Wilson (1932-2007). Having been absorbed into the underground dictionary of postmodern counterculture, the term “immanentize the eschaton” got the privilege of being uttered with a wry smile and a flippant wink. If nothing else, it sounds cool even if the word “immanentize” is  jargon that kind-of –sort-of combines “imminent” (meaning about to occur) with  “immanent” (meaning all-pervading) and twists adjectives into verbs.  In context, “immanentize the eschaton” means “to create heaven on earth” and/or hasten the end of the world or at least the end of a consensus paradigm.

 Sociopolitical commentators use the term in tracts that criticize agendas that seem idealistic, romanticist—or “liberal.”  That is, the phrase is meant to be read dripping in sarcasm and ridicule of those whose agendas slouch toward social utopias.

 Among Christians, the term denotes bringing on the apocalypse—the end of this world and its transfiguration into an idealized one for the Christian elite. The signs of imminence are usually immanent to certain Christians although the actual event (inferred from interpretations of Revelations) keeps receding into the future. Never mind that these Christians are anticipating something that was supposed to happen 2000 years ago. Bible scholars have pointed out that early Pauline Christianity was an end-times cult that changed its tune when the Parousia (Second Coming) didn’t occur in 70 CE when the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. Furthermore, the Beast mentioned in Revelations probably refers to Nero (37-68), and the Whore that the Beast rides is probably ancient Rome and/or the Magna Mater cult (and, no, it’s not Aleister Crowley). Still, Dispensationalist Christians, and a host of other thanatericist menaces masquerading as transcendentalists, remain undaunted.

Among counterculture occultists, the slogan “immanentize the eschaton” is associated with rhetoric about the epiphany of a New Aeon, an era of Deconstructionism and attendant ideological scrutiny and intellectual freedom. It is the end of the world as we know it . . . or as we are accustomed to it being . . . or as we are deluded and conditioned into thinking it is or is supposed to be . . . .  It is not a cataclysmic conflagration as conceived by religious fundamentalists, nor is it an “ascension” to a “higher vibrational frequency” as touted by New Age gurus. It is the page turn into another era . . . the next one within the Time-Space continuum of the original long-running smash hit series As the World Turns, to be confused with the soap opera of the same name but only metaphorically.

It is gnostic in that it is viewed as a paradigmatic shift in thought but it is not associated with sociopolitical, philosophical, or spiritual utopian visions.  It is hard to say whether its perspective is jaded or enlightened. It’s a little bit mongrelized Zen or Dzogchen, a little Gestalt Therapy, more than a little bit of Deconstructionism, and an interface for Hermeticism and Existentialism where the realization that nothing and everything is True may possibly confer spiritual liberation and mystical empowerment if not true civil liberties.

The term “Immanentization of the Eschaton” was coined by political philosopher Eric Voegelin (1901-1985) who used it in a tract that conflated certain sociopolitical ideas (such as Nazism and Communism) with his incomplete and biased understanding of Christian Gnosticism. He warned of the folly and danger of trying to create heaven on earth. One can strongly argue that creating heaven on earth as history is unfeasible, considering that one person’s heaven is another’s hell in an ecosystem where one’s pleasure is predicated on another’s pain

 A passage called The Gospel According to Fred, 1:6 in the counterculture classic The Principia Discordia about who should and shouldn’t be immanentizing the eschaton gives oblique insight into what New Aeon zeitgeist is.

Gen. Pandaemonium, Commanding [. . . ]
The Orders are composed of persons all hung up on authority, security and control [ . . . ]

1. The Military Order of THE KNIGHTS OF THE FIVE SIDED TEMPLE. This is for all the soldiers and bureaucrats of the world.
2. The Political Order of THE PARTY FOR WAR ON EVIL. This is reserved for lawmakers, censors, and like ilk.
3. The Academic Order of THE HEMLOCK FELLOWSHIP. They commonly inhabit schools and universities, and dominate many of them.
4. The Social Order of THE CITIZENS COMMITTEE FOR CONCERNED CITIZENS. This is mostly a grass-roots version of the more professional military, political, academic and sacred Orders.
5. The Sacred Order of THE DEFAMATION LEAGUE. Not much is known about the D.L., but they are very ancient and quite possibly were founded by Greyface Greyface [an 11th century malcontented hunchback] himself. It is known that they now have absolute domination over all organized churches in the world. It is also believed that they have been costuming cabbages and passing them off as human beings
[ . . . ]
Don’t let THEM immanentize the Eschaton.

It goes on to quaintly discuss The Curse of Greyface—that is, the plight of mankind.  The Principia Discordia says:

Greyface and his followers took the game of playing at life more seriously than they took life itself and were known even to destroy other living beings whose ways of life differed from their own. 

The unfortunate result of this is that mankind has since been suffering from a psychological and spiritual imbalance. Imbalance causes frustration, and frustration causes fear. And fear makes for a bad trip. Man has been on a bad trip for a long time now.

The take-home message: People like Greyface have already immanentized a paradigm. Don’t extend a subscription renewal to their ilk. Those who seek to make an unwieldy world safe for themselves by self-righteously containing and controlling others, generally in the form of thought-policing . . . well, just don’t go there, Man. It’s a recipe for disaster if not business-as-usual.  Vote No on Proposition Brave New World. K?

 A more serious and confrontational stance on this theme is reflected in a manifesto called Liber Oz, attributed to Aleister Crowley (1875-1947). It pronounces that “There is no god but man” and that persons, therefore, are free to live, work, eat, create, love, think, speak, and die as they choose and have a right to defend these rights even unto the death (of the oppressor).  The penultimate line in the manifesto, which is embellished with quotes from Liber Al vel Legis (AL; “The Book of Law”), concludes with “the slaves shall serve.” –AL. II. 58. That is, either “get it” or be mill grist. Or as Thelemic occultist/veritable rocket scientist Jack Parsons (1914-1952) said: “There is not further evasion of nature’s immemorial ultimatum: change or perish but the choice of change is ours.”

Selected bibliography

Peter Carroll. Liber Null & Psychonaut. San Francisco: Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC. 1987.

Aleister Crowley. Liber Oz. Accessed June 17, 2013.

Jack W. Parsons. Freedom is a Two Edged Sword.  Reno, Nevada: New Falcon Publications, 2001.

The Principia Discordia. Accessed June17, 2013.

Wikipedia entry on Eric Voegelin.  Accessed June 17, 2013.

 Excerpt from Chapter 18 The Wheel of the Ouroboros from The Savior at the End of Time Book 3 in the Sorcerers and Magi Series

“Is there virtue in ‘immanentizing the Eschaton’? Forcing change,” Lumie asked.

“To immanentize the Eschaton means to bring about an end to all things to allow for the emergence of a new, improved aeon. It is a theoretical goal of Inchaotes: to reduce everything to pure and sublime Chaos where nothing is true and every conceivable thing in its splendorous potentiality is permitted by intention rather than by neurosis, automation, or accident,”de Lux said, as if to show that he was hip and well informed.

“Can the Chaos Principle be transcended and is this is your goal, Lord de Lux Sortiar?” Lumie asked.

de Lux grinned as if deeply satisfied and perhaps even aroused by her question. “Yes,” he said. “Immanentizing the Eschaton.” He wearily sighed on the hackneyed phrase. Then he smiled and nodded at the young couple. This gesture made Dade feel relieved. Indeed, he was stricken by an enthusiasm that he wasn’t sure was authentic or imposed by spellcraft waged by de Lux.

“Transcending the Chaos and Clarus Principles, busting the paradigm, bringing on the New Aeon,” Dade muttered. “How can that happen without peril to Zosimo Sortiar or us?”

“Well, it can’t, “de Lux flatly replied. “But my wife likes to say, ‘Nothing bad is happening.’ This is always so but only relevant in regard to the Grand Scheme of Things. As for ordinary individual entities in consensus reality, bad things are happening constantly, consistently, and predictably. But what is ‘bad’ and what is ‘good’? Qualifiers related to our very puny need for comforts and threats to gaining or maintaining those comforts. But in the denser Planes—as the one’s in which we now traverse—one’s good fortune is another’s ill. The Grand Scheme of Things is sustained through self-consumption, symbolized by the ouroboros. The eater and the eaten. “May that I be an eater and not the eaten.” de Lux quoted from an antique Hindu scripture called the Taittiriya Upanishad.

“Your quaint Inchaote rhetoric and rebel fantasies about subverting the paradigm are like the ramblings of a cartoon mad scientist of Outer-Plane science-fiction kitsch,” de Lux said. “Do you really understand the price of stopping the world and making it spin in the direction opposite the one it is accustomed to? Or have you ever imagined what would become of you if this Universe were sucked through a black hole into another dimension in which its remnants would be recycled into some other configuration?”

Dade argued that he and his inner group were not in the habit of bantering on such things—nor was Zosi. It was just—as de Lux had said—rhetoric and role-playing among young Inchaote sorcerers and magi. Lumie added that for some, it was a launch pad to go deeper and understand the real sense of self.

“Mmm,” de Lux grunted again. He reached behind him and with a pointed finger, drew a small, green and purple flashing object toward him. It was one of Zosi’s Gadgiwudgets. It had been hovering near the ceiling in a corner of the room. de Lux poked it a few times to get the shy widget to do its thing, but Dade and Lumie already knew what it was supposed to do.

After some jostling, it took on the form of a fluorescently luminous green, purple, and gold ouroboros that had a mirror in its center that always only reflected the person who was looking at it no matter how many people were gazing upon it at the same time; they all only saw a reflection of themselves and not each other. The mirror flashed like a beacon as the hologram whirled and rapidly shot through a series of transformations accompanied by a range of sounds, including the voices of parrots chirping “what the fuck” in the background.

The ouroboros object would then regurgitate its tail with the aack sound of a hairball-spewing cat. Following this, the squeaking sound that tube balloons make when twisted into shapes would resound while the ouroboros folded itself into a figure-eight and then back into a circle before snapping apart, spewing sparks like a Chinese fire-cracker. Then the sequence would repeat itself.

“That’s an adorable one, don’t you think?” de Lux said and mentioned that it was one of La Maga Magus’s favorites. “She laughs for hours on end with this thing,” de Lux remarked. “It makes a great sex toy—if you like the sound of women laughing instead of yowling, that is.” Then he soberly told them something using Zosi’s near exact words:
“You have to pull the tail out of the mouth of the ouroboros or else hack it in two so that the enclosed space and all-around space are indistinguishable. There is no finitude there, no boundaries and so there are no thoughts, judgments, or expectations. Then things are just as they are. They are real and boundless and not projections of thought, which are illusions. And also,” de Lux said, “It’s not enough to avoid a dragon; you have to kill it. Something I believe you recently received instruction about, Lady Illuminata Sofiel Magus,” de Lux said.

“A hard lesson about not being squeamish,” Lumie uttered.

“That’s it exactly,” de Lux announced. “When you’re in a period of transition, or any time for that matter, and you see the thing that is suspect and courts your fear, rush to it and embrace it as if in ardor,” he said and continued. “Claiming it as your own, it will fully surrender and return to its true nature within you. Heaven, hell, darkness, light, and all pairs of opposites are illusions and artificial constructs. They are projections of thought. Forgetful of this, the thinker experiences phantasms in the plane of duality and allows those phantasms an advantage, forgetting their source. Do not do this. This is what makes the wheel of the ouroboros go round.” –zsd23

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