Wednesday, March 29, 2017


We're investigating the occult secrets of the underworld that stand behind the underground secrets of the triple letter agencies in Washington when they're investigating the president and all his hoods.

There's a big difference, you know, between the underground and the underworld -- not the criminal underworld in the usual sense (although there's plenty of criminality involved), but the underworld as understood in classical  mythology, namely the occult threshold of consciousness that only initiates are privy to; the rest of us depend on intel from such initiates. The plot is evolving and thickening and ticking and plugging along -- well, not at breakneck-speed exactly, but very slowly with stalls and obstacles, and yet quite meticulously to make sure we don't miss a beat, triple-checking and verifying everything before dropping the big bombs on you.

One of the big questions is this: What we're investigating, is it secret or just hidden? Is it so occult that we need top-notch occultists to look into it? Before we can answer that we need to explore our personal idiosyncratic definitions of certain words. Some people seem to think there's a little controversy involved here:

In 1909, Rudolf Steiner published his first edition of the major book, Die Geheimwissenschaft im Umriss, usually translated into English as Occult Science, an Outline or An Outline of Occult Science. Now it seems that some anthroposophists wish to change the title in future editions. Because the word "occult" has negative connotations for many people, so the argument goes, they wish to call it Esoteric Science instead. 

My German is rather rusty, so I'm looking things up. The word geheim is invariably translated as secret in the online dictionaries, and Geheimwissenschaft is always translated as occult science. Scandinavians may have noticed that Die Geheimwissenschaft im Umriss tends to be translated as Vitenskapen om det skjulte (Science of the Hidden), indicating that geheim means hidden instead of secret. There is a difference:

If something is hidden, it means I can't see or hear it, and I wouldn't know where or how to find it. My late beloved Significant Other who passed away a little over a year ago, -- well, she always blamed lost or hidden items on the gnomes. She said the gnomes don't like messy clutter, so they hide things and put them back when you've cleaned and tidied up. Well, when you clean up your cluttered home, you find those lost or hidden things but it's nice to be thankful to the gnomes anyway.

Sølvi-Ann Aarøy (1948-2016)

But now for the fun part: I've always been culturally conservative, especially what language is concerned. Occult is one of my favorite words, and occultist even more so. And I'm very pleased that the word can be used as a scarecrow against religious fundamentalists, the Christian Taliban, the Moral Mafia. It's like saying boo to them, and they run away after threatening you with hellfire and brimstone.

I would highly recommend that Waldorf schools use this word frequently, as much as possible, in order to prevent such fundies from sending their kids to Waldorf and then, after discovering that the founder was an occultist. suing them in court and smearing all anthroposophists in the media afterwards, including quiet philosophical ones like myself who have nothing to do with Waldorf but read Steiner by candle light deep in the woods somewhere -- in utter occult secrecy. The stuff I publish is only anthrotainment, and only anthro-fundies and anthro-wackos would argue with that.

It has been pointed out to me that esotericism is no dabbling, which is absolutely true; the Doctor used the term frequently, especially to distinguish the esoteric from the exoteric, like in the title of one of his lectures, Exoteric and Esoteric Christianity. It's the distinction between dogmatic church doctrine (exoteric) on the one hand, and the endeavor to explore the deeper substance of religious mysteries (esoteric) on the other hand. The latter insights have been kept secret from the public through the centuries by certain heretical groups hiding from the church, which would subject esotericists to severe punishment if discovered.

So I would never describe esotericists as dabblers, but it needs to be said that when esotericism is subjected to academic analyses in theses, treatises, dissertations, expositions, the objectivity that works so well in other types of studies dries up, becomes drenched of all life, and ends up in dabbling mode. If it is claimed in the first chapter of a syllabus book on the history of religion and spirituality that the most important thing is to define our key concepts and then analyze these definitions, we have killed it before we begin. And that is why the study of esotericism at a standard university is doomed to failure. The same can be said of poetry. Our poet hit the nail on the head:

Now I wish I could write you a melody so plain
That could hold you dear lady from going insane
That could ease you and cool you and cease the pain
Of your useless and pointless knowledge
                   ( -- Tombstone Blues, Bob Dylan)

So let's have some fun while I'm doing my own type of dabbling by rambling about analyzing my own definitions of the terms we're talking about here to explain why the English translation of Geheimwissenschaft should remain as it is.

It seems to me that an esotericist is no match for an occultist. An esotericist is a person who likes esoteric literature and develops his views that way. He's a philosopher, meditator, bookworm. An occultist, on the other hand, is an active, empirical investigator of the hidden, he's lurking in and out of the shadows, he's FBI's James Comey of the Underworld (which the threshold is called in classical myths).

Because the Norwegian rendition of geheim is skjult (hidden) in the book title, I was left with the impression that occult means hidden. However, the dictionaries say that geheim means secret, which may indicate that occult should mean secret instead of hidden. If something is hidden, I can't find it without effort, but if it's secret, I know all about it but won't tell anybody. So hidden means where-do-I-find it while secret is hush-hush.

Incidentally, comments are disabled for this blog because of anthro-wackos, but if you feel like expressing something, just publish your groan on your own cyberterritory or do like our above-mentioned poet:

Now I got a friend who spends his life
Stabbing my picture with a bowie knife
Dreams of strangling me with a scarf
When my name comes up he pretends to barf
I’ve got a million friends!
       ( -- I Shall Be Free No. 10, Bob Dylan)

Back to our discussion: Let's say Geheimwissenschaft is investigating a topic, and the occultist says he'll publish a report when the investigation is done, just like Comey. Now, there are left-handed and right-handed occultists. This is a technical term that has nothing to do with being left- or right-handed. My point here is that I've never heard of left- or right-handed esotericists.

The bottom line is that anybody can claim to be an esotericist, but only spiritual investigators can call themselves occultists. So Occult Science tells us that it's been written by an occultist, a spiritual-scientific investigator. An esotericist is just a bookworm in a library somewhere, an absent-minded professor who forgot to tie his shoes or something.

Hidden Science may be the best English rendition of Geheimwissenschaft. But then again, that would make me think of a lost object, like the science of how to find my keys or wallet on my way out the door. Roman Catholics have a saint for lost objects, don't remember his name. But this means that hidden science may be about an occult technique to communicate with the saint who knows where all lost and hidden objects are: Vatican Science as practiced by sinister Jesuit left-handed occultists.

And what are we going to do about "Lucifer Gnosis"? Call it Morning Star Knowledge because the Taliban doesn't like Lucifer?

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