A perpetually open mind is like a perpetually open mouth…

Does the following have anything to do with “the papal visit” in the United States? Only very obliquely. If you do want a connection, I suppose the following analysis might help illuminate the way Francis is addressing the United States, and, in turn, the way Americans are generally responding to him. Evola is an author I have only recently begun exploring, so I welcome you to join me in pondering the following on its own terms.

American “Civilization” (from “Civiltà Americana”) by Julius Evola (1945):

[John Dewey’s] theories are entirely representative of the vision of man and life which is the premise of Americanism and its ‘democracy’.

The essence of such theories is this: that everyone can become what he wants to, within the limits of the technological means at his disposal. Equally, a person is not what he is from his true nature and there is no real difference between people, only differences in qualifications. According to this theory anyone can be anyone he wants to be if he knows how to train himself.

This is obviously the case with the ‘self-made man’; in a society which has lost all sense of tradition the notion of personal aggrandisement will extend into every aspect of human existence, reinforcing the egalitarian doctrine of pure democracy. If the basis of such ideas is accepted, then all natural diversity has to be abandoned. Each person can presume to possess the potential of everyone else and the terms ‘superior’ and ‘inferior’ lose their meaning; every notion of distance and respect loses meaning; all life-styles are open to all. To all organic conceptions of life Americans oppose a mechanistic conception. In a society which has ‘started from scratch’, everything has the characteristic of being fabricated. In American society appearances are masks not faces. At the same time, proponents of the American way of life are hostile to personality.

The Americans’ ‘open-mindedness’, which is sometimes cited in their favour, is the other side of their interior formlessness. The same goes for their ‘individualism’. Individualism and personality are not the same: the one belongs to the formless world of quantity, the other to the world of quality and hierarchy. …

There is a popular notion about the United States that it is a ‘young nation’ with a ‘great future before it’. Apparent American defects are then described as the ‘faults of youth’ or ‘growing pains’. It is not difficult to see that the myth of ‘progress’ plays a large part in this judgement. According to the idea that everything new is good, America has a privileged role to play among civilised nations. …

The structure of history is, however, cyclical not evolutionary. It is far from being the case that the most recent civilisations are necessarily ‘superior’. They may be, in fact, senile and decadent. There is a necessary correspondence between the most advanced stages of a historical cycle and the most primitive. America is the final stage of modern Europe. Guenon called the United States ‘the far West’, in the novel sense that the United States represents the reductio ad absurdum of the negative and the most senile aspects of Western civilisation. What in Europe exist in diluted form are magnified and concentrated in the United States whereby they are revealed as the symptoms of disintegration and cultural and human regression. The American mentality can only be interpreted as an example of regression, which shows itself in the mental atrophy towards all higher interests and incomprehension of higher sensibility. The American mind has limited horizons, one conscribed to everything which is immediate and simplistic, with the inevitable consequence that everything is made banal, basic and levelled down until it is deprived of all spiritual life. …

“Our” [Italian] American Media

Americanisation in Europe is widespread and evident. In Italy it is a phenomenon which is rapidly developing in these post-war years and is considered by most people, if not enthusiastically, at least as something natural. Some time ago I wrote that of the two great dangers confronting Europe – Americanism and Communism – the first is the more insidious. Communism cannot be a danger other than in the brutal and catastrophic form of a direct seizure of power by communists. On the other hand Americanisation gains ground by a process of gradual infiltration, effecting modifications of mentalities and customs which seem inoffensive in themselves but which end in a fundamental perversion and degradation against which it is impossible to fight other than within oneself. …

The Industrial Order in America

In his classic study of capitalism Werner Sombart summarised the late capitalist phase in the adage ‘Fiat producto, pareat homo’. In its extreme form capitalism is a system in which a man’s value is estimated solely in terms of the production of merchandise and the invention of the means of production. Socialist doctrines grew out of a reaction to the lack of human consideration in this system.

A new phase has begun in the United States where there has been an upsurge of interest in so-called labor relations. In appearance it would seem to signify an improvement: in reality this is a deleterious phenomenon. The entrepreneurs and employers have come to realise the importance of the ‘human factor’ in a productive economy, and that it is a mistake to ignore the individual involved in industry: his motives, his feelings, his working day life. Thus, a whole school of study of human relations in industry has grown up, based on behaviourism … with the precise aim of defining the best means to obviate all factors that can hinder the maximisation of production. … The private lives of employees are not forgotten – hence the increase in so-called personnel counselling. …

On the other side of the Iron Curtain man is treated as a beast of burden and his obedience is maintained by terror and famine. In the United States man is also seen as just a factor of labour and consumption, and no aspect of his interior life is neglected and every factor of his existence is drawn to the same end. In the ‘Land of the Free’, through every medium, man is told he has reached a degree of happiness hitherto undreamed of. He forgets who he is, where he came from, and basks in the present.

American “Democracy” in Industry

… The big businesses are run in the same way as government ministries and are organised along similar lines. They have co-ordinating and controlling bodies which separate the business leaders from the mass of employees. Rather than becoming more flexible in a social sense the “managerial elite” (Burnham) is becoming more autocratic than ever – something not unrelated to American foreign policy.

This is the end of yet another American illusion. America: the ‘land of opportunity’, where every possibility is there for the person who can grasp it, a land where anyone can rise from rags to riches. At first there was the ‘open frontier’ for all to ride out across. That closed and the new ‘open frontier’ was the sky, the limitless potential of industry and commerce. … Given the ever increasing specialisation of labour in the productive process and the increasing emphasis on ‘qualifications’, what used to seem obvious to Americans – that their children would ‘go further’ than they would – is for many people no longer obvious at all. Thus it is that in the so-called political democracy of the United States, the force and the power in the land, that is to say the industry and the economy, are becoming ever more self-evidently undemocratic. … If the mask of American ‘democracy’ were thereby removed, it would become clear to what extent ‘democracy’ in America (and elsewhere) is only the instrument of an oligarchy which pursues a method of ‘indirect action’, assuring the possibility of abuse and deception on a large scale of those many who accept a hierarchical system because they think it is justly such. This dilemma of ‘democracy’ in the United States may one day give place to some interesting developments.

About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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5 Responses to A perpetually open mind is like a perpetually open mouth…

  1. Tamsin says:

    Dewey was a bad apple. Rotten fruit. What Evola claims about him makes sense, but he had a different effect on American education for the masses… Instead of becoming anything you want to be, you become a little worker bee in your community. A useful result according to the atheist world view of his elite progressive circles. Nobody is a child of God. Nobody is created in His image and likeness.

    The name Burnham was familiar; “The Managers vs. the Managed”, http://tws.io/1MOGXTX.

    If the mask of American ‘democracy’ were thereby removed, it would become clear to what extent ‘democracy’ in America (and elsewhere) is only the instrument of an oligarchy which pursues a method of ‘indirect action’, assuring the possibility of abuse and deception on a large scale of those many who accept a hierarchical system because they think it is justly such.

    The suppression of the CMP videos has made this more clear to me than ever before in my life. If they don’t tell us themselves that baby parts are being sold, they think to carry on with ruling over us as though we don’t know that baby parts are being sold, and they’re right.

    Charles Murray was recently interviewed on The Federalist podcast to defend his assertion that the American Experiment is over.

  2. PastorAeternus says:

    The parallel is striking: The “interior formlessness” of Americans and “The Heresy of Formlessness” (Martin Mosebach) – a formless New Mass for a formless New People.

  3. Quite so! “In America, you can be anything you wanna be.” – “In the Novus Ordo, liturgy can be anything you need it to be.”

  4. Contrary to Tradition, modern Popes are jake with religious liberty and the private exercise of religion (that is one reason why Franciscus will mention Moses – Christians, Jews, and Mahometans can all agree he is/was a law maker- but not Jesus) and that private exercise of religion means the state has no check on what it does (in theory we the people were to be that check but the state runs the schools and they keep the people stupid) for there is no official confessional state – as there ought be in Tradition – to oppose the will and power of the establishment.

    Even well-educated Catholic men think one can vote for these evil monsters running for POTUS without cooperating with evil and without bestowing legitimacy upon this monster called America (see Zippy’s Blog and all of his grave arguments against voting)

    Name the Pope (Leo XII automatically comes to mind, but also Pius IX ) who stands-up to this secular monster dominating the world, and not only stands up to it but tells it it is wrong to legislate against the Law-Giver Jesus Christ, King of Heaven and Earth who told the world that all power has been given unto Him and that everyone must obey His Commandments if they want eternal life.

  5. Saint Vincent of Lerins: Commonitorium

    Chapter 20.

    The Notes of a true Catholic.

    [48.] This being the case, he is the true and genuine Catholic who loves the truth of God, who loves the Church, who loves the Body of Christ, who esteems divine religion and the Catholic Faith above every thing, above the authority, above the regard, above the genius, above the eloquence, above the philosophy, of every man whatsoever; who sets light by all of these, and continuing steadfast and established in the faith, resolves that he will believe that, and that only, which he is sure the Catholic Church has held universally and from ancient time; but that whatsoever new and unheard-of doctrine he shall find to have been furtively introduced by some one or another, besides that of all, or contrary to that of all the saints, this, he will understand, does not pertain to religion, but is permitted as a trial, being instructed especially by the words of the blessed Apostle Paul, who writes thus in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, There must needs be heresies, that they who are approved may be made manifest among you: 1 Corinthians 2:9 as though he should say, This is the reason why the authors of Heresies are not immediately rooted up by God, namely, that they who are approved may be made manifest; that is, that it may be apparent of each individual, how tenacious and faithful and steadfast he is in his love of the Catholic faith.

    [49.] And in truth, as each novelty springs up incontinently is discerned the difference between the weight of the wheat and the lightness of the chaff. Then that which had no weight to keep it on the floor is without difficulty blown away. For some at once fly off entirely; others having been only shaken out, afraid of perishing, wounded, half alive, half dead, are ashamed to return. They have, in fact swallowed a quantity of poison— not enough to kill, yet more than can be got rid of; it neither causes death, nor suffers to live. O wretched condition! With what surging tempestuous cares are they tossed about! One while, the error being set in motion, they are hurried wherever the wind drives them; another, returning upon themselves like refluent waves, they are dashed back: one while, with rash presumption, they give their approval to what seems uncertain; another, with irrational fear, they are frightened out of their wits at what is certain, in doubt whither to go, whither to return, what to seek, what to shun, what to keep, what to throw away.

    [50.] This affliction, indeed, of a hesitating and miserably vacillating mind is, if they are wise, a medicine intended for them by God’s compassion. For therefore it is that outside the most secure harbour of the Catholic Faith, they are tossed about, beaten, and almost killed, by various tempestuous cogitations, in order that they may take in the sails of self-conceit, which, they had with ill advice unfurled to the blasts of novelty, and may betake themselves again to, and remain stationary within, the most secure harbour of their placid and good mother, and may begin by vomiting up those bitter and turbid floods of error which they had swallowed, that thenceforward they may be able to drink the streams of fresh and living water. Let them unlearn well what they had learned not well, and let them receive so much of the entire doctrine of the Church as they can understand: what they cannot understand let them believe.

    Chapter 21.

    Exposition of St. Paul’s Words.— 1 Tim. vi. 20.

    [51.] Such being the case, when I think over these things, and revolve them in my mind again and again, I cannot sufficiently wonder at the madness of certain men, at the impiety of their blinded understanding, at their lust of error, such that, not content with the rule of faith delivered once for all, and received from the times of old, they are every day seeking one novelty after another, and are constantly longing to add, change, take away, in religion, as though the doctrine, Let what has once for all been revealed suffice, were not a heavenly but an earthly rule—a rule which could not be complied with except by continual emendation, nay, rather by continual fault-finding; whereas the divine Oracles cry aloud, Remove not the landmarks, which your fathers have set, Proverbs 22:28 and Go not to law with a Judge, Sirach 8:14 and Whoso breaks through a fence a serpent shall bite him, Ecclesiastes 10:8 and that saying of the Apostle wherewith, as with a spiritual sword, all the wicked novelties of all heresies often have been, and will always have to be, decapitated, O Timothy, keep the deposit, shunning profane novelties of words and oppositions of the knowledge falsely so called, which some professing have erred concerning the faith. 1 Timothy 6:20

    [52.] After words such as these, is there any one of so hardened a front, such anvil-like impudence, such adamantine pertinacity, as not to succumb to so huge a mass, not to be crushed by so ponderous a weight, not to be shaken in pieces by such heavy blows, not to be annihilated by such dreadful thunderbolts of divine eloquence? Shun profane novelties, he says. He does not say shun antiquity. But he plainly points to what ought to follow by the rule of contrary. For if novelty is to be shunned, antiquity is to be held fast; if novelty is profane, antiquity is sacred. He adds, And oppositions of science falsely so called. Falsely called indeed, as applied to the doctrines of heretics, where ignorance is disguised under the name of knowledge, fog of sunshine, darkness of light. Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Professing what? What but some (I know not what) new and unheard-of doctrine. For you may hear some of these same doctors say, Come, O silly wretches, who go by the name of Catholics, come and learn the true faith, which no one but ourselves is acquainted with, which same has lain hid these many ages, but has recently been revealed and made manifest. But learn it by stealth and in secret, for you will be delighted with it. Moreover, when you have learned it, teach it furtively, that the world may not hear, that the Church may not know. For there are but few to whom it is granted to receive the secret of so great a mystery. Are not these the words of that harlot who, in the proverbs of Solomon, calls to the passengers who go right on their ways, Whoso is simple let him turn in hither. And as for them that are void of understanding, she exhorts them saying: Drink stolen waters, for they are sweet, and eat bread in secret for it is pleasant. What next? But he knows not that the sons of earth perish in her house. Proverbs 9:16-18 Who are those sons of earth? Let the apostle explain: Those who have erred concerning the faith.

    Chapter 22.

    A more particular Exposition of 1 Tim. vi. 20.

    [53.] But it is worth while to expound the whole of that passage of the apostle more fully, O Timothy, keep the deposit, avoiding profane novelties of words.

    O! The exclamation implies fore-knowledge as well as charity. For he mourned in anticipation over the errors which he foresaw. Who is the Timothy of today, but either generally the Universal Church, or in particular, the whole body of The Prelacy, whom it behooves either themselves to possess or to communicate to others a complete knowledge of religion? What is Keep the deposit? Keep it, because of thieves, because of adversaries, lest, while men sleep, they sow tares over that good wheat which the Son of Man had sown in his field. Keep the deposit. What is The deposit? That which has been entrusted to you, not that which you have yourself devised: a matter not of wit, but of learning; not of private adoption, but of public tradition; a matter brought to you, not put forth by you, wherein you are bound to be not an author but a keeper, not a teacher but a disciple, not a leader but a follower. Keep the deposit. Preserve the talent of Catholic Faith inviolate, unadulterate. That which has been entrusted to you, let it continue in your possession, let it be handed on by you. You have received gold; give gold in turn. Do not substitute one thing for another. Do not for gold impudently substitute lead or brass. Give real gold, not counterfeit.

    O Timothy! O Priest! O Expositor! O Doctor! If the divine gift has qualified you by wit, by skill, by learning, be a Bazaleel of the spiritual tabernacle, engrave the precious gems of divine doctrine, fit them in accurately, adorn them skilfully, add splendor, grace, beauty. Let that which formerly was believed, though imperfectly apprehended, as expounded by you be clearly understood. Let posterity welcome, understood through your exposition, what antiquity venerated without understanding. Yet teach still the same truths which you have learned, so that though you speak after a new fashion, what you speak may not be new.

                                                  <> end quotes <>
    

    Read this once a month in its entirety and tell me we are not standing at the abyss besieged by papal pronouncements that we are Pharisees because we completely reject his surprises.

    Everyone knows who it is who has chosen certain clerics to participate in the Synod and the profane ideology of those participants and how it is those perverse prelates stand steadfastly against Tradition, thus, ABS sees no way to avoid the obvious conclusion that Franciscus is an antichrist.

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