Bravo. Reflexive condemnation of the Enlightenment has always made me a bit uncomfortable. Not because I necessarily sympathize with the ideologies that emerged from it, or am particularly wedded to the mythologies retroactively imposed upon the era. Rather, it's the energy of that time I find bewitching. The intellectual ferment, the openness to the world, the willingness to question and test and innovate. It's that spirit which we've been missing - the holy spirit of the cafe and the salon, patronized by the gentleman natural philosopher in dialogue with the bohemian mystic-poet and the freebooting vagabond adventurer. Our era is so careful and timid in comparison. We moderns imagine ourselves the intellectual heirs of that time, despite partaking not at all in its spiritual essence. Both our critiques and our sacralizations of its legacy are made for all the wrong reasons; we're trapped within a parodic caricature of the Enlightenment legacy without understanding what it really was.

I also sense the coming of a similar time. After all, it's been a few centuries, and the Enlightenment was not so unique as all that. The Renaissance, the rise of the Scholastics, the post-Socratic philosophical explosion of the Hellenistic world, all of these are examples of similar times of creative ferment. That spirit returns from time to time, when enough minds are prepared, yearning for it and crying out to it. As is now the case. The Enlightenment pneuma is in the air again.

Expand full comment

I suspect most of the presumptions of the age, and eternal progress, are going to be demolished by reality the next 20 years. The scientific materialist orthodoxy is being revealed as thinly disguised religiosity, just as dogmatic and hidebound as the religion it supposedly overcame. Such crisis is also a very fertile time for creativity, and a lot of people are going to be looking for ideas to help them make sense and manage the metastasizing insanity.

Here is to a creative time remaking the world in relation with the world, to make society healthier for life generally.

Expand full comment

One of the best, inspiring articles I read in a long time. I will address only one point raised: “All that’s left is a new and disconnected kind of theory, which, because of its solipsistic nature, must become crazier and crazier.” It is as if this cultural outgrowth of post-modernism (‘wokeism’ and radical subjectivism) have regressed society to the most primitive (and painful) kind of learning: trial and error. A person may not believe in morality or in the value of rational deliberation in good faith, so they punch a random person in the face, and then they observe the escalating consequences, as if they were a toddler not heeding the advice not to touch the nettle. Same with sex, drugs and ‘normativity’; 20 years later these rebels realise they are chemically crippled, bitter, diseased and aged well beyond their years, with blurred tattoos reminding them of the wasted, fruitless, vaguely remembered time of their moral experiment. Reality, whatever it objectively is, has the capacity to correct even the most obstinate students.

Expand full comment

Excellent essay! "You end up combining the worst of both worlds: the narrow metaphysical view of materialist science, but without the grounding in empirical reality." There are so many great quotes in here, like that one. That really hits the nail on the head.

I also love the optimism of your piece. From that perspective, the crazy conflicts of our age underscore the fact that nobody's orthodoxy is on solid footing right now. The old paradigm is crumbling, and a new system has not yet taken its place. Thus, so many exciting possibilities presently exist on the margins for those willing to explore heterodox ideas and to form interesting and novel connections between the insights of different fields and schools of thought. From that perspective, it really is quite a wonderful time to be alive!

Expand full comment

"You end up combining the worst of both worlds: the narrow metaphysical view of materialist science, but without the grounding in empirical reality. The result is a freewheeling mind, unhinged both from tradition and from the part of experience that consists of obvious empirical facts. All that’s left is a new and disconnected kind of theory, which, because of its solipsistic nature, must become crazier and crazier."

This is what I see, too. I think this is the reason so many people are retreating into simulacra (both actual video games and the meta-games played across social media). They crave a set of ordering principles and rules to the real world, but all they've been given there is a hollow void. In that sense, the simulacrum becomes more and more attractive, even though its light is a false one.

"I want to see non-supernatural theism combined with ufology."

I'd be careful with that one, Luc. I think that almost perfectly describes a certain Grand Illusion that will be visited upon us, and very soon.

Expand full comment

I want all that too and more. I suspect those like us are far greater in number than we might imagine, and our number is growing. Once our tribe finds itself, the "breakaway civilization" will self-organize and launch. But it won't be one like the parasites who currently think they are in control envision. Ours will carry the rest of humanity with us, instead of leaving them in a black iron prison.

The key is to hold fast to that expanding vision with joyful desire and anticipation, and keep courage as our primary virtue, because that is the path to the highest ideal, truth. Those who oppose this have neither courage, truth, or virtue, and while they can delay the inevitable, that's all they are capable of.

We're gonna make it, fam.

Expand full comment
Feb 26, 2023Liked by L.P. Koch

Great read, much food for thought.

The post-liberal school of thought seems to have (by far) the most energy of any conservative sect currently, both the religious and "secular" flavors.

I'm not sure where we will go from here. It's easy to point out contradictions and failing institutions but much harder to know what to replace them with, when going backwards is not an option.

Expand full comment

Really love this call to action (as someone drawing his paycheck from corporate science but sees all too clearly the contradictions and fundamental lack of inspiration).

As you well know, a lot is going on at the edges ("It’s just well-hidden from the institutional gaze"). I think you've already covered some of the parapsychological research happening (I'm behind in my reading so I can't remember if it was you or someone else). Another interesting place to look is astrology, from the attempts to validate natal astrology (with sometimes clever experimental design to mitigate bias/confounding) to the interventional experiments of electional astrology. I could hypothesize a metaphysical basis to it (think along the lines of morphogenetic fields) but, in the spirit of Old Enlightenment, I'll let the data read out. I'm more interested in the metaphysical implications than the navel-gazing that most people associate with this area of inquiry.

Expand full comment
deletedFeb 26, 2023Liked by L.P. Koch
Comment deleted
Expand full comment