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New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)

Tuesday, December 27

the russians are coming! the russians are...

This is yet an undeveloped thought, as are many of the posts here. Plus, there are lots of unfinished Mystic-B files waiting here on my hard drive for the time to complete them. However, I particularly didn't want to space out this one.

It occurred to me recently that at least three major influences on the subject matter of this study came from Russia.

  • H.P. Blavatsky
    The Madame should need no introduction here. Founder of Theosophy, creator of an intrinsically racialist ontology, spiritualist extraordinaire, charlatan supreme.
  • G.I. Gurdjieff
    This exceedingly odd personage has emerged here lately mostly in conjunction with his student, A.R. Orage, and the latter's deeply antisemitic views as expressed in The New Age, a small but highly influential journal he edited from 1907 to 1922.
  • Ayn Rand
    Author of the Virtue of Selfishness and all manner of bombast masquerading as "philosophy," this randy borderline has often been featured here in her strongly supporting role as poster girl for pathological narcissism. She's not the brightest of these three by a long shot, but she might be the flakiest. No small feat, given the competition.

So what is it about these Russians? I came across a passage in Gurdjieff: The Key Concepts (p. 159) that may help to explain the basic mindset. While it may not apply directly to Rand, who favored plagiarizing Nietzsche, this cultural background may have abetted her inclination to pander to popular delusions.

OCCULT / OCCULT REVIVAL
Moscow and St Petersburg were centres for the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century occult revival. From 1881 to 1918 thirty occult journals and more than 800 occult titles were published in Russia, reflecting interests in spiritualism, Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, alchemy, psycho-graphology, phrenology, hypnotism, Egyptian religions, astrology, chiromancy, animal magnetism, fakirism, telepathy, the Tarot, black and white magic, and Freemasonry (Carlson 1993: 22). Gurdjieff took notice of contemporary interests and presented his teaching accordingly. The cosmological form of his teaching was fully outlined between 1914 and 1918 in a form that takes account of the occult revival in Russia.
The embedded reference is to 'No Religion Higher Than Truth' - A History of the Theosophical Movement in Russia, 1875-1922 (Princeton UP, 1993). The graphic below is from the cover of The Masters Revealed: Madame Blavatsky and the Myth of the Great White Lodge.



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