In the First Circle (Solzhentisyn)

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Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr. In the First Circle. New York: Harper Perennial, 2009.

In 1968 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn published an edited version of In the First Circle, titled simply First Circle.  He knew the full novel would never pass Soviet censors.  This is the full novel. This book is the triumph of the human spirit and the expose that scientific and state socialism is pure evil. 

The key event is not the phone call to the US attache about the atomic bomb.  Rather, it was when Gleb decides not to join the mathematicians’ “inner ring” in prison.  Truth be told, it really isn’t even that important a decision. However, it is a decision big enough to let him find his humanity.

Each chapter or collection of chapters is about a key character.  In this Solzhenitsyn also describes his historical methodology (i.e., “nodal points”). As Sologdin says, “Think like a mathematician.  Apply the nodal points method….Get an overall view of Lenin’s life, spot the main breaks in gradualness, the sharp changes in direction, and read only what relates to them.  How did he behave at those moments? And there you have the whole man” (181).

One of the key themes in this book is the resistance to reducing everything to material and economic factors. In his intra-novel novella on Stalin, Solzhenitsyn notes Stalin’s problem with language: is language part of “base” or “superstructure?”  In Marxist theology (and it is a theology), the economy is the base. The social phenomena is the superstructure. Language isn’t a mode of production, so it can’t be the base. However, it’s not clear how language functions as a superstructure, since language is more foundational than that. Superstructures change and can be discarded.  Language may adapt, but it never disappears.

Continuing this critique of Marxism, and the Marxist dictum that being (seen as economic forces) determines consciousness, the protagonist Gleb, not yet converted is rebuked: “If that were true, life wouldn’t be worthwhile….why do lovers remain faithful to each other when they are parted?  ‘Being’ demands they be unfaithful! And why do people in exactly the same circumstances, in the same camp even, behave so differently” (333)? The interlocutor goes on to note that we all have an inner essence.

Is Marxism even a science?  Rubin and some other guy have a fun conversation (483). Marxism claims its whole doctrine is derived from the nuclear concept of commodity and stems from the three laws of dialectic.

a) transformation of quality into quantity
b) interpenetration of opposites
c) negation of the negation

A scientific law must give direction and coordinates.  Revolutionary progress does not do this. Key problem: does the Marxist “negation of the negation” always take place in the course of development (489)? How do we know when to expect it?  We don’t. Even the Marxist Rubin admits that you can’t move from “the dialectic themselves to concrete analysis of phenomena.”

Here is the obvious problem with these three laws: there is no evidence they apply in the social realm.  The fact that water changes to steam has nothing to do with the bourgeoisie changing into the proletariat.  Nonetheless, the Marxist lecturer gives a good overview of Marxist metaphysics (and it is a metaphysics). “Matter alone is ultimate” (646-648).

Gleb comes to a different realization.  No ideology can change society. Progress doesn’t mean material progress.  Something else is needed. He comes on the truth almost by accident. He tells his friend Gerasimovich that they need to get the information out.  Ger. counters, “I thought you didn’t believe in radio or progress.”
Gleb: “No. They can jam it.  I’m saying that maybe….a new means will be discovered for the Word to shatter concrete.”
“But that completely contradicts the laws of resistance to materials.”
Gleb: “Not to mention dialectical materialism. So what? Remember ‘In the Beginning was the Word. So the word is more ancient than concrete. The Word is not to be taken lightly” (672).

On Prison Camp Names

“….Ozerlag, Luglag, Steplag, Kamyshlav…:”
“Makes you think there’s some unrecognized poet sitting in the ministry of State Security. He hasn’t got the stamina for whole poems, can’t get it together, so he thinks up poetic names for prison camps” (10).

One of the more moving climaxes of the book is when Gleb Nerzhin realizes that “the People” is an abstraction created by the Party elites.  Only your soul, not Party leadership, not Revolutionary dogma, can admit you to humanity (496).

Another fun development is when Gleb speaks with the half-blind Spiridon.   Gleb wants to see the real people, and not a socialist abstraction. He gets Spiridon, and what a joy Spiridon is. Spiridon’s criteria for morality is fairly simple: “He spoke ill of no one. He never bore false witness. He killed only when at war. He wouldn’t steal a crumb from any person, but he robbed the state whenever opportunity afforded, with a cool conviction that it was right” (505).

Hegel and Modern Society (Charles Taylor)

Taylor claims this isn’t merely a summation of his earlier tome on Hegel. That’s not really true. A number of pages are lifted but I think he succeeds in succinctly tying Hegel’s ontology to Hegel’s politics and showing the latter’s relevance for the modern age.

Hegel’s Ontology

Hegel sought to synthesize the Romantic desire for freedom and expression with the Rationalist desire for Reason. The Romantics saw Enlightenment science severing man’s unity. Man can only be self-conscious when he abstracts himself from the world. But when he does that, he severs himself from the organic unity of life. Reason and Life are thus opposites. But they are opposites which can’t exist without the other.

This leads us to Geist (God, sort of) as the Embodied Subject. A rational subject must be embodied because their must be an opposite pole in which it may flourish. Hegel rejects both Christian theism (God independent of the world) and naturalism (God as not absolute). Self-positing: God eternally creates the conditions of his existence. Hegel is not so much arguing for an existent reality, but for the conditions that Geist be.

What is the Dialectic?

we start with the most elementary notion of what consciousness is, “to show that this cannot stand up, that it is riven with inner contradiction and must give way to a higher one, which is also in turn shown to be contradictory” (55).

Politics as Alienation Overcome

Modern society has seen the proliferation of Romantic views of life along with the rationalization and bureaucratization of collective structures and an exploitive stance toward nature (71). The adequate form of Spirit (remember, Spirit must be embodied) is social. Man has to be part of something larger than himself, since man cannot exist by himself.

alienation: this happens whenever the public existence no longer has meaning for me: e.g., the perceived futility of voting; nominal religious belief in Church-States. Individuals then strike out on their own to define their individuality. They then (ironically) come together as a new social unit.

Negative freedom would require that the whole outcome be decided by me. Yet, the whole outcome is a social one, so it cannot be decided by me alone. Thus, negative freedom is impossible.

The Modern Dilemma

Here is why modern liberal society is doomed: radical participation in civic structures is only possible if there is a ground of agreement, or underlying common purpose (Augustine’s common objects of love). Democracy and participation cannot create this; they merely presuppose it. The demand for absolute freedom by itself is empty.
Modern ideology and equality leads to homogenization [Taylor isn’t always clear on what he means by homogenization] of society. It is an acid drip on traditional structures, yet it cannot replace them.

Hegel and Marx

This is where Charles Taylor, using Hegel’s analysis, cuts Marxism to the bone. The Soviet view sees the proletarian party as “engineers of building in conformity with the laws of history…[combining] two opposed pictures of the human predicament. It shows us man, on one hand, imposing his will on the course of history…On the other hand dialectical materialism sets out the laws which govern man and history with an iron necessity” (151). “The laws of history cannot be the basis of social engineering and reveal the inevitable trend of events” (152).

Analysis and Conclusion

A Christian cannot accept Hegel’s ontology. It echoes pantheism and is openly process theology. Hegel’s analysis of epistemology on lower levels is sometimes interesting. Hegel’s insights on politics (if not his conclusions!) are occasionally brilliant.

The concepts of social alienation are more pronounced today than ever before. Hegel was spot on. His critique of Negative Freedom of the French Revolution applies equally to Marxism (and its body count) and the Cultural Leninism of today’s America

The Myth of Eternal Return (Eliade)

Mirceau Eliade gives a fine presentation on non-biblical views of history (though he wouldn’t necessarily call it that).  Ultimately, Eliade’s analysis shows why Judeo-Christian “creational” views of reality can never be harmonized with polytheistic or classical Greek (but I repeat myself) views of ontology.

At the heart of these pagan systems is “the abolition of concrete time” (Eliade 85). In this text Eliade is going to use Jungian language about archetypes, yet I don’t think he really means what Jung means.  These archetypes are patterns in which man is to live his life. Man’s philosophy cannot be divorced from his liturgical acts (no matter how degenerate). As a Christian, we can say that these archetypes are similar to the stoichea that St Paul warned against.  We are not controlled by lunar cycles and season. That is the Old Creation. We live in the New Creation.

Archetypes and Repetition

Original ontology: revealed by a conscious repetition of paradigmatic gestures (Eliade 5).

  1. Reality is a function of the imitation of a celestial archetype.
  2. Participation in the symbolism of the Center.
  3. Rituals materialize a meaning.

The Symbolism of the Center

This usually involves:

  1. The sacred mountain where heaven and earth meet–the center of the world (12).
  2. Every temple or palace is an extension of the sacred mountain and becomes a center.
  3. The center is an “axis of the world” and is the meeting place between heaven and hell.  

Liturgy:  Repetition of the Creation moment.

Serpent symbolizes chaos (19).

Regeneration of Time

The New Year feasts point back to a repetition of a cosmogenic act (52).

Deluge: creation reverts to chaos; fusion of all forms (59).  This is actually what an orgy is, which is precisely the liturgical function of these philosophies.  Eliade notes the “symmetry between the dissolution of the ‘form’ (here the seed) in the soil and that of social forms in the orgiastic chaos (69).

In more monistic systems like Hinduism, there is the desire for the “primordial unity [that] existed before the Creation” (78).  As in Gnosticism, creation = fall. As in Greek philosophy, distinction = dialectically violent negation. Eliade then connects these to various strands of Greek philosophy (Heraclitus Fragment 26B; Zeno, etc). Put simply, the Greeks wanted an ontology “uncontaminated by time and becoming (89).

Eliade has an excellent section on Hindu cycles.  This is more relevant today as some in the Alt Right are seeking Dugin’s philosophy of the Kali Yuga.  Which is ironic: many of the so-called “white nationalists” are embracing Hindu metaphysics (note: Dugin is not a white nationalist).  This is a “metaphysical depreciation of history, which….provokes an erosion of all forms by exhausting their ontologic substance” (115).  That is a one sentence summary of the entire book.

Criticisms

In the midst of a fine survey of Canaanite ontology, Eliade collapses Yahwism into it, noting “marriage, sexual license….were so many moments of an extensive ceremonial system” (61).  This is the complete opposite of Yahwism. It is a good description of Plato’s communal wives, but it is the antithesis of Hebrew ethics.

Some notes on social Marxism

I am going to call it social marxism rather than Cultural Marxism, and for a few reasons.  Cultural Marxism is a specific subset of Critical Theory that draws from Marcuse and Fromm.  Most of the hucksters today aren’t actually peddling that, and certainly not in the churches.

Social Marxism is simply a social application of some of Marx’s concepts, like alienation and Hegel’s slave-master dialectic.

Here is Marx’s sociological ideas in a nutshell. It is a universal acid-drip. If you are using language like “alienation” or similar rot, you are a sociological Marxist. This is what the Radical Orthodox guys call an ontology of violence.

Thesis: Hegel cannot escape an alienation that exists between the people and the state.

Hegel’s logic: the Idea becomes a subject; other concepts, like political sentiment, become predicates of the Idea (Marx 65). Marx will take this and de-essentialize it. The substance now is only a Subject.

As demoniac Herbert Marcuse noted,

The distinction between reason (Vernunft) and understanding (Verstand) is the distinction between common sense and speculative thinking (44).

True thought is a triad (Triplizitat). A dynamic unity of opposites.

S is P.

To know what a thing really is we have to get past its immediately given state (S is S). S is S doesn’t tell us much. If we follow out the process S becomes something else, P, but still retains its own identity.

The earlier Hegelian analyses saw society as one of “ever repeated antagonisms in which all progress is but a temporary unification of opposites” (60-61). Only a universal revolution can overcome the universal negativity.

The alienation of labor creates a society split into opposing classes (289).

Division of labor: the process of separating various economic activities into specialized and delimited fields (290).

Key argument: Since the individual, on either Hegelian or Marxian lines, is a “Universal,” then the proletariat can only exist “world-historically;” therefore, the communist revolution is necessarily a world-revolution (292).

Summary: as long as we are milking perceived grievances and positing alienation between power structures (or more particularly, a structure of violence between Rich Capitalist CIS male and Woke PCA Blogger), then we are engaged in Cultural Marxism.

Hellenism as Dialectic

Earlier models of theology did theology “by century,” or a list of pithy sayings on a topic.  I doubt I will get to a hundred, but it is a good guideline.  When I attack Hellenism, in this context I mean the matrix in which the church found itself.  I do not deny that the Fathers and NT used “substance” language.  I think it is good that they did.  I simply deny that reading the Greek philosophers as if they are the next best thing is a good idea. Unless I note otherwise, the following are theses that define dialectical Hellenism. D = Dialectic.

  1. Basil notes, contra Hellenism, that terms referring to the divine essence aren’t de facto conferring material limitations to it (McGuckin 2017: 318).
  2. D: The One and the Many are mutually correlative.
  3. D: Deity is defined by self-origination
  4. D: Distinction is opposition: two contrary attributes cannot coinhere in the same subject at the same time.  This rules out the Incarnation.  It also rules out dyotheletism.
  5. D: Definition = limit.
  6. Contra Hellenism, God has no opposite (St Maximus, Cap. Char. 3.28) . If he had an opposite, then that opposite would define him.
  7. D: Things are distinguished by their opposites (Plato, Phaedo103d; same logic is use in Thomist Trinitarianism).
  8. D: The “infinite” implies “boundary markers” (Barnes, Early Greek  Philosophy 216).
  9. St Paul said we are no longer under the stoichea of the age (Galatians 3-4).
  10. D: Democritus says it’s stupid to want children (Barnes 280) and sex is irrational.
  11. “When Socrates was seized by a problem, he remained immobile for an interminable period of time in deep thought; when Holy Scripture is read aloud the Hebrew moves his whole body ceaselessly in deep devotion and adoration.”
  12. The hero for the Greek was Hercules.  The hero for the Hebrew is David, who served the covenant people.

Review: Orthodoxy and Esotericism (Kelley)

My friend James Kelley gave me a complimentary copy.kelley

It is common parlance to say, “We should apply our faith to culture.”  In such slogans the words “faith” and “culture” are never defined and always used in the most abstract categories.   Kelley does us a service by bringing an advanced level of Patristic theology to such wide-ranging topics as history and esoterism.  One can go a step further: Kelley’s insights regarding (Joseph Farrell’s usage) of Sts Maximus the Confessor and Athanasius can provide us a useful compass in witnessing to those trapped in the occult.  I don’t know if Kelley himself holds that view, but it is something that came to my mind.

Ordo Theologiae

The first part deals with rather esoteric thinkers like Paul Virilio, Joseph P. Farrell, and Phillip Sherrard.  Special interest goes to Farrell.  

Here is the problem: In order for the Plotinian one to account for creation, it must already contain within himself all plurality.  Therefore, epistemology and ontology had to proceed by dialectics.  We know something by defining it by its opposite.

How was the Church to respond to this?  The best way was by simply breaking its back.  Kelley shows this by examining Athanasius’s response to Arius and Maximus’s response to monotheletism.  

For Athanasius there are three primary categories that should not be confused: nature, will, and person (Kelley 35).  The person of the Father generates the Son according to essence (since the hypostasis of the Father is the font of essence).  Creation, by contrast, is according to the will.  This leads later fathers (such as Basil) to identify three categories:

(1) Who is doing it?

(2) What is it they are doing? (energies)

(3) What are they? (essence)

The key point, however, is that Person, Nature, and Energy are not to be identified, or we have something like Plotinianism or Arianism.  

Maximus is even more interesting:  the human will cannot be passive nor defined by its contrary, the divine will.  That would mean because the divine nature/will is good, then the human nature must be evil (41). If we define something by its opposite, then we are also saying that said something (God) needs its opposite.  

I must stop the analysis at this point.  But know that the section on Joseph Farrell is a crash course in advanced theology.

Esoteric Studies

Kelley places the Nation of Islam’s cosmogony within the earlier Gnostic myths (89).  He has a fascinating section on Jim Jones.  It almost reads like a novel or a news article.  His larger point is that in these cults (NOI, Scientology, etc) there is a dialectic of a “life-force creating (or self-creating) within a primordial darkness.”

His chapter on Anaximander’s apeiron is worth the price of the book.  But what makes it interesting is Kelley’s tying Anaximander’s apeiron with Tillich’s Ungrund and Barth’s unknowable God.  The problem:  How can this “god” have any contact with creation?  Anaximander gives us a dialectically unstable answer:  this apeiron already contains within it the coincidence of opposites.

Conclusions and Analysis

Like all of Kelley’s works, this cannot help but be interesting.  How often do you read a theology book and you ask yourself, “I can’t wait to turn the page to see what happens next”?  But normally that level of excitement is for fluff.  This it most certainly is not.  Some chapters are very advanced theology, while others, like the one on Paul Virilio, are probably out of my league.

My only quibble is he set up a great dismantling of Karl Barth’s theology and then didn’t do it.  I understand that could be for space reasons.  Is Barth’s Unknowable God the same as Anaximander’s apeiron?  Maybe.  If they are, then one has at his fingertips a very destructive critique.

Aside from that, this book is most highly recommended.

Note: I received this as a complimentary copy and was under no obligation to post a positive review.

Athanasius, Orations Against the Arians

This work is a step up from Athanasius’s smaller treaty on the Incarnation.  Here we begin to see a fully worked-out theological ontology.  This review, however, will not deal with the controversies concerning Proverbs 8 in the Nicene world.  That would take up too much space.Saint-Athanasius-life-4

One needs to see Arius’s thought in context before one can appreciate how Athanasius fundamentally destroyed the Hellenistic mindset.  It’s not simply that Arius thought Jesus was created.  He did, but Arius also thought he was being faithful to the conservative philosophical tradition in Alexandria.  That tradition is best seen as the shadow of Neo-Platonism.  It’s not a pure Neo-Platonism (if such a monster even exists), but it’s close enough on issues like simplicity.

Disclosure: I relied heavily on Joseph Farrell’s (D.Phil Oxford, Patristic Theology)  analysis of the Athanasian crisis, as well as conversations with several of his students.  Any faults are entirely my own.

Establishing the Dialectic

Short answer: Arius defined the deity in terms of a specific property of the Father (unbegottenness), but behind this definition was embedded a philosophical dialectic, which, if left unchecked, would control orthodox categoreis. The Arians saw divine simplicity unicity of a nontransferable monadic state, to use John McGuckin’s fine phrase. If the Father is simple essence, and the Son is not the Father, then the Son is of a different essence.  The problem is that the Hellenistic/Arian mind identified God’s essence with a particular property (unbegottenness). It was Athanasius’s genius to break the back of this system by noting that essence isn’t the same as person or property.

Arius shows what Origenism looks like if taken to its Neo-Platonic conclusion.  The One is utterly simple and beyond.  It is beyond subject and object, yet if the One “thinks” (or makes any kind of distinction, be it the idea to create the world or the decision to beget the Son), and given that person-will-essence are identical, and that ideas/operations are now simply effluences of the essence, Arius is forced to one of several conclusions:

  1. a) The ideas produced by the one are also identical to the one
  2. b) It is completely separate from the one by means of duplication and distance.
  3. c) If the Son is eternal, then Creation, being an object of willing, is also eternal, since the act of will is equal to the eternal essence per Arian simplicity.  Simply put, for this tradition, there can’t be distinctions between operation and essence, because the essence itself does not allow for any distinctions!

Why does (c) follow? If God has the property of being-Creator as well as the property of being-Father, and the essence is eternal, and the essence is identical to the act of will/property, then he must be eternally creator, which draws out another inference

cc) Creation is eternal

Smashing the Dialectic

d) The generation of the Son is according to the essence, since the being is from the Father, while the creation of the world is according to the divine will.  

As James Kelley notes, for “Arius the category of what God is (nature) is the same as what God does (operation).”

Now for the actual text….

Discourse I

* The Father and Son were not generated from some pre-existing origin….but the Father is the Origin of the Son and begat him (I.5).

*The Difference between Work and Begetting: “The work is external to the nature, but a son is the proper offspring of the essence” (I.8.29).

Discourse II

* The Word must be the living Will of the Father, and an essential energy (enousion energia), and a real Word” (II.14.2). Athanasius’s point is that the Word can’t be a product of the Father’s will since he is the Father’s will.  

That blunts Arius on one point but it raises another problem: isn’t making the Word the Father’s will confusing person with nature, which is what Arius did?  One could say that Athanasius isn’t defining the Deity of the Son in terms of a specific divine property.  

Elsewhere Athanasius notes that the Son is in the Father and the Son’s being is proper to the Father.  And given that Athanasius follows the Patristic ordo in reasoning from Person to Operation to Essence, then the Son’s being the living will points to a unity of operation.  Hence, we now see that the Son reveals the common operation and energy, and so reveals the common essence.

Discourse III

* The Son doesn’t “participate” in God.  This is a break with Platonism (III.23.1).

* The Son is in the Father….because the whole Being of the Son is proper to the Father’s essence….For whereas the Form and Godhead of the Father is the Being of the Son, it follows that the Son is in the Father and the Father in the Son” (III.23.4).

Christ’s being in the flesh deifies the flesh, and only God can properly deify (III.27.38).

Nota Bene:

Athanasius has a robust angelology

  1. Angels are not the same as the Thrones, nor the Thrones the same as the Authorities (II.16.19).

 

Relations of relations

If persons are relations of a simple essence,

* How does such a relation become incarnate?

* Does this relation have a relation to the human nature?

* If two (or three) of the persons are relations, then are there relations between the relations?  How does this not entail gnosticism with its endlessly multiplied hypostases?ghd

I suppose one could get around this by saying that the term “relation” takes on a different meaning (albeit with no warning).

Unholy Terror

Schindler’s argument is simple: If Western intervention in Afghanistan in the 1980s created the modern mujahidin, Western intervention in the Balkans in the 1990s globalized it (Schindler, 316). While it is logically impossible to be a consistent Muslim and a consistent secularist (The Koran, Surah 9:5), post-Communist Bosnia was something close to it.[1] The Western Anglo-American elite wanted to believe that an Islamic Bosnia would be a beacon of multi-cultural European values: democracy, women’s rights, and tolerance. While the regime under Alija Izetbegovic never achieved anything similar to that, the tragic irony is that if left alone, Bosnia would have remained nominally Islam and relatively secular: something the Western elites wanted.

unholy terror

In the following essay I will advance several theses: 1) The Clinton Administration (hereafter known as the “Clintonistas”) facilitated the rise of al-Qai’da as a global network; 2) The Clintonistas established a radically Islamic state in the heart of Europe; and 3) the tragedy of the Serbo-Croat-Bosnian war demonstrates a fundamental (and ultimately fatal) dialectic within the heart of the Western mind, whether “conservative” or “liberal.”

Other authors have documented the US’s facilitating the mujahidin against the Soviet Union in the 1980s. It is becoming clear that such a move proved not only disastrous but also unnecessary (Primakov, Russia and the Arabs), as the Soviet Union had already fallen economically and would soon fall politically. Granted, hindsight is 20-20 and one cannot fault the Carter Administration too much for not knowing what radical Muslims would do with advanced NATO weaponry. Unfortunately, Carter’s mistake was repeated with glee by the Clintonistas, with the ultimate effects seen in the falling of the twin towers.

Schindler gives a brief, but fine overview of recent Balkan history from the 19th century until the post-World War 2 era. He sheds helpful light on an area few Westerners understand. To understand the problems in the Balkans, one must realize that religion and nationality are never far apart, contra recent works (Glenny, The Balkans: Nationalism, War, and the Great Powers: 1804-1999).[2] In short, Croatia is Roman Catholic and has political affiliations with Germany. Serbia is Eastern Orthodox and looks to Russia for protection. Bosnia and Albania are Muslim and look to the Middle East for culture and religion. This much could be found in any encyclopedia. Schindler points out the obvious elephant in the room: the reason that Bosnia is Muslim is because the Ottoman Empire enslaved the Balkans and implicitly pressured many Slavs to convert.

Schindler notes that during World War 2 Croatia and parts of Bosnia joined sides with the Nazis while the Serbs (divided between the Chetniks and Tito’s Partisans) fought alongside the Allies. While he only notes it briefly, one must point out that Churchill and Co., abandoned the Chetnik monarchists to the Communists, whom the Communists subsequently executed (with Allied complicity).

Alija Itzebegovic’s Goal

Izetbegovic pulled one of the more incredible stunts in modern political history. He was able to tell Western media outlets and governments that he stood for democracy and pluralism while simultaneously ethnically-cleansing Christians, Jews, and secular Muslims from Bosnia. This makes one wonder whether the West was hypocritical or simply stupid (obviously, the answer is “both”). The result is that Western media outlets would report Serb atrocities but deliberately look the other way at Bosniak atrocities.

The U.S.-Iranian Connection

For reasons that defy common sense, the U.S. government facilitated not only the arrival of jihadist mujahidin into Bosnia, but also Iranian arms, intel networks, and soldiers into Bosnia. While other European forces had no love for the Serbs, the French and Germans were increasingly worried about the U.S. allowing armed Iranians into the heart of Europe. Indeed, as many Europeans noted, the numerous C-130s landing in Bosnia (violating the UN arms embargo) could only have been US planes or US-allowed planes.

The Srebenica “Massacre”

The one area of the war that always gets mentioned is the final Serb assault on the town of Srebenica, with the alleged slaughter of 7,000 Muslim men and boys. Several things must be noted: 1) it is acknowledged that 7,000 men of the Bosnian Muslim infantry were executed in military fashion; 2) Muslims recruit boys to fight for them;[3] 3) the town was not surrounded by the Serbs, thus allowing noncombatants to leave the city; 4) given that the city was controlled by Muslims gang leaders, many Muslims actually deserted to the Serb camp—this fact alone demonstrates how untenable the Hague narrative is: if the Serbs simply wanted to ethnically-cleanse the entire town, they would have done a better job of surrounding it and killing those leaving the city; 5) Alija Izetbegovic knew that he could never defeat the Serbian army alone and had to find a way to enlist outside help. The Clintonistas knew they couldn’t actually start attacking the Serbs without provocation. A deal was made: Izetbegovic would abandon his own people to be slaughtered, provoking international outcry and response.

The Dialectic Breaks Down Neo-Liberalism

Part of my thesis is that the Bosnian war of 1993-1995 (and the Kosovar War of 1999) destroys the way the Beltway Regime (along with the media puppets) views the world. The Clintonistas wanted to see a multi-cultural, tolerant but largely Islamic center in the heart of Europe. The problem is that Izetbegovic acted just like a good, Koranic Muslim. He promised tolerance to the West and marginalized those inside his country who did not share his Islamic vision. Therefore, the neo-liberals are presented with a dilemma: on one hand there is dynamic of multi-cultural, yet fully Koranic Islam (which has been demonstrated to collapse simply into radical Islam) and nationalism on the other hand (e.g., by nationalism I mean local and ethnically geographic communities deciding their own fates). Yet, both of these options are unacceptable for the neo-liberals. The only way the neo-liberal paradigm can function is by forcibly asserting its own narrative. Therefore, the neo-liberal paradigm is reduced to violence.

The Dialectic Breaks Down Neo-Conservatism

The contrasts are more stark in this case. Neocons do not want to identify with neo-liberal paradigms, yet I maintain they ultimately do. Neo-conservatives hate Islam (or only when Islam threatens Israel), thus it seems counter-intuitive that neo-conservatives would back radically Islamic leaders like Hashim Thaci and Alija Izetbegovic, men whose regimes openly state their enemies are Jews and Christians, and who openly state they will kill Jews and Christians. But the problem is deeper for neocons: they cannot oppose Islam in this case because identifying with the Serbs would identify them with a non-communist, yet fully nationalist Russia (Huntingdon, Clash of Civilizations).

Therefore, the neo-conservative paradigm is forced to choose between radical Islam on one hand and a Serbo-Russian identification on the other hand. Both choices are anathema to the neo-conservatives, but given that foreign interventionism is in the essence of the neo-conservative paradigm, a choice has to be made. But any choice that is made will contradict (and ultimately deconstruct) one of the (stated) tenets of neo-conservatism (anti-Islamic, anti-Russian). Therefore, the neo-conservative must choose between the deconstruction of his paradigm or opt out for the violence option. Of course, it goes without saying that neo-conservatism is reduced to violence. The only way the neo-conservative can escape the dialectic is to acknowledge another premise: as evil as radical Islam is, Russia is worse. The American involvement in the Balkans, therefore, must be seen as a miniature war against Russia (Norris, Collision Course: Nato, Russia, and Kosovo).[4]

Final Thoughts on the Book

Schindler’s book deserves widest possible dissemination. He openly exposes the Clintonistas as criminals who are in cohorts with the most odious criminals in the world. There are a few lapses in Schindler’s reading, though. He mentions that Slobodan Milosevic wanted to create a “Greater Serbia.” Perhaps Milosevic stated as much, but even as Schindler’s own reading demonstrates, Milosevic did a poor job of creating a “Greater Serbia.” Indeed, if such were his goal would he not have aided Karadvic and Mladic more? It’s irrelevant that the two leaders were at odds with Belgrade. Both sides would have certainly realized that a combined effort would have easily and quickly won the war—yet this effort never came.

Schindler’s proposal for defeating radical Islam is commendable, but ultimately flawed. It is simply a continuation of the “War on Terror.” To be fair to Schindler, it’s different from the neo-con/neo-lib definition of the War on Terror. Schindler identifies the enemy as a consistently Koranic Islam. However, Schindler’s proposal for “more intel, more arms” against the Muslims will not work. Until the West regains its Christian moral vision, and decides to not cast another vote of “no-confidence” in itself, arms will never defeat Islam.

Practically, this means recognizing that Europe’s cultural and moral roots can never be divorced from the Christian vision (Trifkovic, Defeating Jihad). Europe is faced with two practical options: Nihilism or the Nazarene. Corollaries to this vision: recognize Russia and Serbia as fighting the same enemy (and obviously, to stop funding jihadists in the Balkans, Cyprus, and Chechnya), put a moratorium on immigration from the Middle East, and place the leaders of the Hague on trial for treason against the European and American people.

Sadly, Americans paid the price for the Clinton error, also. By assistinig al-Qai’da in Bosnia, the Clintonistas provided bin-Laden with a competent network from which he would later launch his strikes against the United States.

Works Cited

F. William Engdahl, Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order. Baton Rouge, LA: Third Millennium Press, 2009.

Demons, The Koran. Jihadist Press.

Glenny, Misha. The Balkans: Nationalism, War, and the Great Powers: 1804-1999. New York: Penguin Books, 1999.

Huntingdon, Samuel. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Simon & Schuster Papebacks, 1996.

Norris, John. Collision Course: NATO, Russia, and Kosovo. Westport, CT. Praeger Publishers, 2005

Primakov, Yevgeny. Russia and the Arabs: Behind the Scenes in the Middle East From the Cold War to the Present. New York: Basic Books, 2009.

Schindler, John. Unholy Terror: Bosnia, Al-Qai’da, and the Rise of Global Jihad. St. Paul, MN: Zenith Press, 2007.

Trifkovic, Serge. Defeating Jihad: How the War on Terror May be Won in Spite of Ourselves. Boston, MA: Regina Orthodox Press, 2006

Notes on Plotinus

In light of the recent discussions on analogia entis and such, I decided to post these notes.  I am neither agreeing nor disagreeing with Plotinus. This is just what I jotted down when I read through the Enneads last summer.

First Ennead

Dialektik

“The power of pronouncing upon things how they are and differ with others” (I.III.4).  It is combining and Dividing until one reaches perfect Intellection.

Happiness and the Soul

All living things proceed from one principle but possess life in different degrees. The Intellect contains the soul (soul is a lower part; I.IV.10).  The soul reflects and refracts–as a mirror of sorts–the higher images from the Intellect.  

Eternity is Timeless Being (I.V. 7).  

Our knowing the Transcendental allows us a standpoint for the wider survey.

Beauty isn’t symmetry but symmetry participates in Beauty.  

The Soul exists within a Hierarchy of Being

Second Ennead

By matter I don’t think Plotinus means simple corporeality.  It seems to be the chaotic substratum of flux and difference.  It is the manifestation of flux and disorder.  What accounts for unity within the flux of the cosmos?  How can matter serve the immortality of the cosmos (II.1.3)  Answer: the flux is not outgoing.  Does Plotinus mean that the flux doesn’t emanate like the higher orders of being do?

“The ground of all change must itself be changeless”

A soul, then, of the minor degree, reproduces that Divine sphere, although lacking in power. The coherence of extremes is produced by virtue of each possessing all the intermediates (II.1.6).

E1 ——-I₁——–I₂—————E2

The lower soul is moved by the higher (II.II.3)

On Necessity

Necessity is the mother of the fates. There is an agon in the soul as it relates to matter.  

Structure of the Cosmology

One

Intellectual Principle (but even here there are gradations of being, as Plotinus allows for an image of idefiniteness

World Soul

Kosmos

Each causes the lesser, which in turn is inferior.  The cosmos is an image continuously being imaged.  

Matter

Definition and description:  it is undetermined, void of shape (II.IV.2).  Matter suggests movement and differentiation.  By motion, it is a cleavage.  Matter only has real being in the intelligible realm.  Yet, how can the realm of form have matter?  Plotinus suggests that the matter there is a type of complete unity.

Epistemology problem

Likeness knows by likeness.  The indeterminate knows the indeterminate.  How can soul know matter?  The indeterminate must have some footing in the realm of form.  “In knowing matter it must have an experience, the impact of the shapeless” (II.IV.10).  

Matter = Indeterminacy = The Void = Nonbeing (?).

To clarify, matter isn’t corporeality, but the base of the identity to all that is composite. An absence is neither a quality nor a qualified entity, but the negation of a quality (II.IV.13)

Fifth Tractate: Potentiality

All potentiality has a telos.  It is a “substratum” to states.  It requires an intervention from outside itself to bring itself to actuality.  Therefore, anything that has potentiality is actually something else!

Ennead 3

 Fate

  • A cause penetrates all things
  • This cause cannot be material in origin, since matter = disorder
  • All things are brought to eventuation through causes. There are two kinds:
    • Originating from the soul
    • Originating from the environment

Matter and Evil

  • Conflict and destruction are inevitable (III.II.4).
  • Evil is a falling short in the good (III.II.5).

Structure of the Cosmos (B)

Heavens

Gods

Human beings

Man has come into existence because he occupies an intermediate state. The reason-principles are acts of the Universal Soul. The reason-principle has two phases: one that creates and the other that links the creations.

Ennead 4

The soul is not a quantitative object.  It is a manifestation of Logos (III.5). Much of this Ennead is a long defense of reincarnation, which I won’t cover here. The soul is the medium between Logos and creation (III.11).  

Ennead 5

Problems that are raised for Plotinus.  (Here I am following Rowan Williams’ Arius: Heresy and Tradition).  

  • Can the One have self-understanding, since he would be both subject and object–an active mind working on a passive object (Williams 199ff).  The problem here is that the Form of the one is not simply a structure, but a structuring principle.
  • Thinking and understanding involve distance and duplication.  Understanding is complex because it seeks itself in Otherness (201).
  • Therefore, apparently, when the nous knows itself, it produces multiplicity of the world of ideas, which separates itself from the one.