Tradition, Truth & Toil

The idea of ‘tradition’ is subject for a variety of interpretations – and this is not puzzling given the various fields of human activity we see this word being used within. We can speak of a cheese receipt being traditional by the mere virtue of being passed down in generations. There is a succession stretching over time that passes down a given knowledge.  In this sense virtually anything passed down in history can be understood to be traditional.

When we speak of tradition in relation to cult, faith and doctrine – when we venture within the fields of the sacred and the caves of mystery a particular world view is what is subject for the succession or transmission.

The traditional world view is often called perennial and replicates an enchanted world view, typical for the pre modern era where the visible and invisible shared the same space. The clearest exposition of traditional doctrine in this sense is found in Plato and his neo Platonic successors; we might speak of a philosophical succession dating back to the beginning of time – but having a common reference in Plato and the world of Ideas.

The beginning of time marks the division between the Age of Saturn, the golden era prior to Jupiter establishing laws and time. Law and time lies as foundation for the modern world view – or paradigm, if you will. Law manifests in the claim for order, symmetry, duality and normative taxonomies in any field of human activity, in all possible domains. Taxonomies are of course useful heuristics for moving around in the world, but basically taxonomy is solely an attempt of descriptive exegesis of what a thing or object might be. These descriptions are always conferred in relation to a specific placement in time – where the person doing the descriptive process is itself a product of time, history, culture and geography. Hence taxonomy tends to establish the same from the other, to isolate something by rejecting its connection to other things.  

The traditional ordering differentiates from the modern taxonomy by being rooted in ideas, eternal principles that can manifest in countless variations. Rather than describing a manifestation in relation to other manifested objects and things the order seeks to disclose origin, the essential nature of the manifested. It is a view based on a vertical perception and not the horizontal perception so typical for the laws and time ruling the modern era.

This means that a tradition in order to be traditional in a sacred context must be rooted in a connection with source and the eternal ideas. This comes with a hierarchy often presented as a golden chain of being where the pure mind is emanating eternal ideas until it reaches manifestation. Manifestation is a complex, because all things manifested is a composite of several ideas – however with an inherent essence that gives it a particular direction.

The traditional world view is like a pole situated in a cosmic vision and understanding of all things emanating from the One and ultimately creating the vast field of human experience. The human experience is a binary. As we walk the world of experience we are also generating our inner world. These are two different planes – but certainly our inner world do evoke the eternal ideas – albeit in the form of a mixis – a cluster. The compass for organizing our inner world is the psyche or soul and eros. The soul is the divine extension in all human beings and eros is the very force of creation as manifest in love, lust, attraction and rejection.

Our inner world is yet again a binary – or rather, a crossroad – because mediated by the soul we find a given set of predispositions in the human organism and in the moment we take our first breath we are confronted with a unique environment and world. Our divine soul and the sparks of inner life start its journey towards self discovery.

The human journey, with all its bitterness and honey, rejection and attraction, love and misery is also what makes our condition human.  Typical Gnostic themes see the world of matter as a prison or as Hell itself. It can also be viewed as an adventure becoming any hero and fool or as a cosmic joke. No matter what idea we embrace to bind the canvas for the human experience the condition remains – and with this the journey towards Self.

This journey is on traditional premises done with the aid of a heart connected to source and a soul watched over by daimons. This journey is for modern man a race of ambition and depression where purpose is sought in social acclaim and acceptance. There is no conflict in this per se, except that the traditional man and woman will know why the choices are made and the roads are taken and will not seek ambition for ambitions sake – but because this was what was in store by his or her own Fate.

There is  an acceptance of sacred doctrine and celestial order in the traditional perspective, a certain humbleness in the face of Truth that might provoke the boastful pride of the spirit of modernity that discard Fate and Path in favour of ambition and self glorification. Instead of finding your Self there is a tendency of creating a Self that only has a temporal and passing worth, void of eternal virtue.

A traditional perspective will focus on Truth – the Truth itself as something dynamic and active and less on the modern taxonomies that aim towards separation and opposition. Truth is always One – and it hath many radiations and rays, because the nature of Truth is to understand by the virtue of wisdom, and wisdom is what moves the eternal Ideas.  At the end we are left at the Crossroads’ of life with the chain of choices that brings us closer to Self or further away from it. These two perspectives and its paradox William Blake says the following of:

A Divine Image
Cruelty has a human heart,
And Jealousy a human face;
Terror the human form divine,
And Secrecy the human dress.

The human dress is forged iron,
The human form a fiery forge,
The human face a furnace sealed,
The human heart its hungry gorge. 

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sun rise.