Naming Tradition: The Word and World of Pagandom

Naming Tradition: The Word and World of Pagandom

By Evgeny Nechkasov (Askr Svarte) and Jafe Arnold

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“Language is the house of Being” – these words of the great German philosopher Martin Heidegger not only indicate how in everyday speech as well as in philosophy Being pronounces itself, its moods and attunements (Stimmungen) and care (Sorge), but also refer to an important notion in the thinking of this “Black Forest shaman”: dwelling in the world. Dasein is thrown into the world in which it dwells (Wohnen), like in a raised wooden house. To dwell means to experience, to come to know and to make known a surrounding place, to make it one’s own, to become local to and with it, to become “native” and “original.” Dwelling in the world therefore means, among other things, “selecting”[1] the right words for naming things. Words themselves grow forth to meet the meanings and things which are called by them. Authentic existence in the world, according to Heidegger, can thus be found named in a fragment of Hölderlin’s verse: “poetically man dwells.” 

In the world of Tradition, to which much in Heidegger’s thought leads us back in new light, and in which such dwelling was the archetypal norm, naming is always and everywhere a sacred matter. Like the magical word, a name encompasses and touches the essence of an entity, manifests and affects it, and connects it amidst the so many dimensions of correspondences, manifestations, and phenomena that make up the beingful world of the cosmos. Cosmos itself is a name – κόσμος – which the ancient Greeks called the world ordered out of the Gods’ victory over the Titans in the beginnings of time. 

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Plato’s Cave and the Truth of Secret History

Plato’s Cave and the Truth of Secret History

By Jafe Arnold

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“Secret history.” This term, or rather notion, evokes passionate intuitions and suspicions. For some, “secret history” immediately rings like a provocative slogan, behind which lurks a Pandora’s box of “conspiracy theories” muddying, twisting, or, as is officially, fashionably said nowadays, “disinforming” otherwise “explainable” all-too-human affairs. For others, however, “secret history” speaks precisely to “all-too-human” reality on a deeper level. On the one hand, it is affirmed that humans have agency, and that the agencies of some (or any for the matter) are never fully transparent to others. On the other hand, the agency of humans is historical, i.e., such is hardly if ever purely “individual” or “subjective”, but rather is part of and realized within long-standing states of affairs, grander pictures, and forces which are hardly explainable by the immediate agencies of any given number of humans alone at any given time. 

Between these poles of the “all-too-human” reaction to “secret history”, one often finds themself faced by two most visible extremes: a blind, agency-surrendering faith in some “disclosed history”, which as a matter of course “happens” to be whatever revolves around the “official” one, or dissipation into epistemological chaos, into paranoia before unknowable forces and their actors. In both cases, something truly human and truly historical about “secret history” is lost.

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Travel Thoughts – Visiting Prehistory: Malta’s Neolithic Temples

Travel Thoughts

Visiting Prehistory: Malta’s Neolithic Temples

By Jafe Arnold

Mnajdra Temple, Malta / Photo source: Malta Sotheby’s International Realty

Traveling for the first time since the plague broke out is like a breath of fresh air…

Several days ago I had the opportunity to visit some of the prehistoric temples of Malta, which have been on my bucket-list for some time. I first heard of and became fascinated by the temples thanks to Richard Rudgley’s books Secrets of the Stone Age and Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age. Although our time window was short and so itinerary limited, the experience was nonetheless unforgettable… Continue reading “Travel Thoughts – Visiting Prehistory: Malta’s Neolithic Temples”