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A beautiful resistance: The fire is here (2016) — Bidragyder — 8 eksemplarer
A Beautiful Resistance: Left Sacred (2017) — Bidragyder — 3 eksemplarer
A Beautiful Resistance: Everything We Already Are (2015) — Bidragyder — 3 eksemplarer

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True to the Earth is a well researched tour-de-force through what the subtitle says: Pagan political theology. It examines pagan (technically High Pagan, a term used by the author for cultures with no written word) metaphysics, contrasting them with those of our modern monotheistic culture (it doesn’t matter if one does not identify as monotheist or as a religious person, monotheistic metaphysics permeate the thought of what can be called modern human). The author focuses on the entwining and co-development of monotheism and written word, and their mortaring of what is the modern (capitalistic, scientific, single-truth, utilitarian) world-view. Almost from the start he rejects the liberal separation of religion from politics, unveiling the absurdness behind this notion (for the religious worldview informs the way you live and (inter)act in the world).

The main source focus is Ancient Greece, due to the survival of texts coming from the transitive period between an oral- and written-word society, tracing the transition and conflict between the two cultural modes. In that it is reminiscent of Feyerabend’s Against Method, while Derrida’s critique of the written word is not far from sight.

The author traces a multiple of opposing dualities, creating a rich juxtaposition between the two world-views. Thus we have:

Paganism (Polytheism) vs Monotheism

-Plurality (striving for diversity) vs Single truths (rejection of diversity, totalizing)
-Verbs (action, embodied in time and space) vs Nouns (static, generalizations detached from time and space)
-Productive (strives for growth and sprouting of different paths) vs Reductive (tries to reduce everything to a single origin, a Oneness)
-The world as fragments with no specific unifying subject uniting them – a sea of microstories vs A set goal towards which history moves
-Embodied, living, in-world divinities vs The detached incorporeal Divine
-Vagueness, ambiguity and multiplicity of meanings vs Striving for clear, specific, final answers
-A totality of senses vs Domination of vision over the other senses
-Teaching by action vs Teaching by principle or idea
-All things are alive vs Distinction between living and nonliving
-Fluidity of forms vs Stable, rigid forms
-Curiosity, hunger for new ideas and gods vs Rejection of all gods beyond the One, and also of all ideas that conflict with those of the monotheistic world-view
-Each thing has a multitude of qualities, some of them ever-changing, most of them irreducible to simple quantification vs All things can be quantified
-Mixing, hybrids, impurity vs Purity*


*Of special note is the critique of purity: “When your metaphysics is based upon unity, reduction, totalizing, and Oneness, your approach to the world will be shaped by it. Your approach to the world will focus on perfection, purity, and the one narrow path to the only acceptable goal. In such a view, each thing has an essence that it either fulfills or betrays. Likewise, each thing has a purpose that it either serves or neglects. Oneness is purity, multiplicity is sin.”

One of the more intriguing ideas in the book (which also appears in contemporary philosophical and anthropological thought) is that beings are not some out-of-the-world entities or instances of platonic categories that come into being as capsules in the world; instead, they arise from the activities which some parts of the world perform, as well as from relations in which these parts form and develop with each other. Once again it becomes clear how close have current philosophical and human sciences' ideas come with the magical/pagan paradigm of old.

Obviously a critique of capitalism could not be missing from a book titled Pagan Political Theology:” Capitalism is necessarily monotheist in its metaphysics: it reduces all values to one ultimate value, specifically the standard of price. The market admits the fact that people will value different things and will disagree about a given thing’s value, but one element is asserted (and echoed in economics) without question: all things will be reducible to a price people are willing to pay. We see obvious examples of this in terms of risk calculations that determine how many people can be injured or killed by a product before the cost gets too expensive for a company. Human lives, pain, suffering, and death can all be reduced to a price. So too can environmental destruction. How much profit, it is asked, can be extracted from the earth before the destruction outweighs the benefit? Forest and mountains, entire species and nations, all have their price. For the market and the Capitalist there is absolutely nothing which cannot be numbered, calculated: that is, price checked. In this sense Capitalism is leveling, it levels the diversity of values to the basic point of price.”

True to the Earth is a political, philosophical, occult, radical book full of passion, that doesn’t try to be objective or neutral. Think not, however, that is is sloppily written – it is a critical, well-researched text, by an author that clearly has contact with the academia (in fact he is a professor of philosophy). In its pages burns the lust for a different worldview; it acts as a window to a world vibrating with life, a world that is our world as experienced in a way that we have forgotten but must reclaim. A great book by a great publisher (Gods & Radicals Press), my best-spent 10 dollars in recent years.
… (mere)
 
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Athotep | Sep 26, 2020 |

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