For a dweller in the countryside the return to the pulse, nerve and mind of urban modernity is always experienced as surreal. Something is amiss in the ecstasy of somnambulism. Traditionally, man should be ruled by reason, the mind. It is by the reflective mind we align ourselves with source and can serve as a mirror for the rays of the celestial Sun. The mind, the nous, should contemplate what is higher, perfect and true. It is this that brings beauty to the world of men and tempers our soul into perfection. When we contemplate the celestial and eternal a steady sharpness manifests through our mundane existence and we will by this connection to origin and source be able to live our destiny and thus experience blessings and understand the role of all things that meet us on the road of Fate.
The disgrace of modernity started in many ways with Descartes investigation of the existence of God motivated by a peculiar line of thought focusing on metaphysics being the basis of physics in a material sense. The consequences followed naturally a materialistic orientation where the created was used to prove the existence of a creator; thus by treating the creator and the created as being of the same order the atheist arrogance of modern man cane through the systematic doubt of Descartes.
A truly unique development took place from the end of the renaissance where the first purely material civilization emerged and shaped into the modern west. As the philosopher-sage René Guénon commented in one of his earlier books ‘East & West’:
“The civilization of the modern West appears in history a veritable anomaly: among all those which are known to us more or less completely, this civilization is the only one which has developed along purely material lines and this monstrous development, whose beginning coincides with the so-called Renaissance, has been accompanied, as indeed it was fated to be, with a corresponding intellectual regress; we say corresponding and not equivalent, because here are two orders of things between which there can be no common measure. This regress has reached such a point that the Westerners of today no longer know what pure intellect is; in fact they do not even suspect that anything of the kind can exist."
And indeed, an intellectual regress has taken place. Intellect has today a limited understanding of referring to human reason and rational thinking. It is a purely material category which is understood to be our divine potential and this naturally leads to a profane perspective upon the psyche and our constitution as human beings and our role. The modern constitution is one where man mirrors himself in the world of matter and search or the imprints he set on the infernal world. Failing this repeated attempts are engaged into, the dread of mortality drives all actions, a mark on the world must be made.
The soul who has a natural curiosity with the scent and experiences in the world of matter is by this trapped in matter, imprisoned in the ambition of the body and lose sight of the higher aspiration as the body tells the soul that the soul reigns superior in their passionate war upon mortality. Modern man act in unintelligible ways; the passionate soul has taken over the reason for so many and solely mediates between the world and our passionate experience about it. Instead of the tripartite ascent of traditional thought along the vertical axis, we have today a two dimensional understanding of the world is solely horizontal. Time is linear and what defies this mortality and linearity is superstition and primitive wisdom. For some, when this is spoken off, something cracks in the soul of the attentive listener and I believe nostalgia, a longing for truth and beauty is caressed – but alas, so hastily forgotten. This primitive and “un-modern” thought is not only found in the writings of the wise ones from Pythagoras and Plato up to Ficino, but also amongst ‘primitive’ people who in their ‘savageness’ makes our profane and material constitution to be utter barbaric and senseless. For instance, in ifá metaphysics we are told that in order to obtain a calm and content state of mind (Ori rere) we need to establish an alignment between okan (heart) and ori (head). This is possible by Ifé (love) that tempts the heart to be turned towards the head, towards the consciousness. Here we find Ori Inu, the inner head, which is understood to be a portal or a well to lailai. Lailai is the realm of beginnings; it is the state of perfection where the imprints of the One upon the world are found. It is the realm of Ideas. When man enters this state of mind he makes dream manifest, because this is the world of dreams and images that induces peace and tranquility by virtue of wisdom and understanding in the ori or mind. The Modern constitution tells that dream is fantasy; all that is real is what the senses can touch, fell, smell and observe. How far is this not from the world the sages of the past lived in where this world of matter were just a crude conglomerate of ideal truths, immaterial and immortal in the celestial realm. The constitution of Modern man is a barbaric constitution, one that exalts matter and selfishness. It is about how to make a mark on the world, it is about how to drain the world for egoistical gains. The modern constitution compel men to make a career on the standards of this equally profane society that molded and shaped the modern idea of self; a selfhood free for sensibility, where the contemplation of what is beautiful, eternal and true no longer exists unless one seeks to escape the depressing condition of modern living, where a flight into fantasy is embarked upon.
It is a sad, mad world that has adopted an order of being and understanding alien from the natural order and this of course is reflected in the modern selfhood, fragmented and chaotic, searching for meaning in new born lives or their destruction… Our psyche reflects profane society – and not what are eternal and good, our origin and return. This is the death of the mind, and thus of reflection and reason.