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Old 11-20-16   #5
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Cyprus
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Default Re: The Hesychastic tradition and the use of (dark) Fury

The practice of hesychasm results in the development of a modality of thought and perception which is distinct from ordinary rational thought (for fans of the oriental approach Musashi references this as "The state of direct penetration" in the Book of Five Rings). It is not irrationality nor intuition but something else entirely. Rather than putting together axioms, or even sets of observations, and then deducing some specific implications regarding the whole from that this modality of thought looks at the whole and how the individual specific instance under consideration fits into that much larger picture.

Hesychasm, literally the practice of inner stillness, has a lineage extending back to Ancient Greece within the Western tradition (though also identifiable as the main technique across cultures and traditions). More specifically, within the Western tradition, we can trace it back to the work of Parmenides and Empedocles. To enable others to look into this side of hesychasm more easily, I will reference the work of classical scholar Peter Kingsley in the field, who has done the clearest translations and published the best explanations currently available.

Both Parmenides and Empedocles point to one particular quality which they say is developed in the practitioner as a result of his practice of hesychia: metis. This is “a particular quality of intense awareness that always manages to stay focused on the whole,” ("Reality" by Peter Kingsley, 2003, p90) though it also has implications of cunning and practical intelligence to it. In other words, far from making the practitioner less able to interact effectively with the world (as being irrational would do) the practice of hesychia actually makes him more capable of doing so. This stands in distinction to the general masses who are “incapable of discriminating” and remain at the mercy of the fortunes of life, like “akrita phula”, leaves blown in the wind (Parmenides trans. Kingsley, 2003, p 95). Even more particularly, both authors distinguish this world as deceptive, and life’s path through it as subject to more deception still, and single out this quality of metis as the best recourse available to steer one’s way effectively through the maelstrom (Kingsley, 2003, eg pp 207, 380‐381). It is not, however, rationality as such nor a particular quality of rationality which may be developed through the exercise of rationality (Kingsley, 2003)

Through the development of metis, then, the practitioner comes to recognise the unity of all the cosmos and the individual soul’s role in it (Kingsley, 2003, p 121) and, through doing so, recognizes that the cosmos is perceiving itself through him (Kingsley, 2003, pp 186‐187). This enables him to participate in the motion of the consciousness of the cosmos and:

"Then, instead of being caught somewhere along the circle like an animal in a cage, we stop being a victim of reality and become the cage". (Kingsley, 2003, p185)

This, in turn, enables the practitioner to somehow participate in a relevant and meaningful manner in the still, eternal present where reality is continually being decided, moment by moment (Kingsley, 2003, p169).

This is definitely not ordinary rational thought we are talking about here. However, due to its provenance (the founder within Western tradition of both rationalism and logic) it is more than a little problematic to dismiss it as simply illogical or irrational. Rather, it is something else, something much neglected and even maligned in modernity. However, if it really does have the power and validity ascribed to it by the ancient authors then it may yet prevail...

All the best,

My ambition? Restart Temple of Venus as one of the mainstream religions of this planet, bigger than Islam for example.

Closed circuit induction loops: you sow, you reap. Not open to those with no Principles. "Unless you always have the potential within, the Great Function will not appear." -
Yagyū Munenori.

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