Heresy

AK 190 Is one a heretic? Some would say so, but one does not need to be a heretic, one can get by with levels of meaning. On one interpretation the heretic is like a spelling reformer persisting in spelling in his own idiosyncratic way. There can still be a point, but sometimes as with Wycliffe there remains a desire to persecute, only on the basis of new formulae rather than the old.

AR 70 Shakespeare “no heretics burned but ladies suitors” did he believe in burning heretics? But he was so wise? What sense can we make of it? Is it a blind spot? Shakespeare seems scarcely Christian, and completely free spirited. Filled with the spirit of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs we may take the protestant as simply the mythological prototype of the dissident. Out of this I form my own ideology which possesses a national tint, becoming an aspiration to freedom in the older simpler sense.

AE 45 This line I find the most problematic in his whole corpus.

"No heretics burned but wenches' suitors,"
Shakespeare has succeeded in convincing us of his wisdom. We want to admire him uncritically. He has the sort of status that Nietzsche thought Wagner was after. Is this the secret of wisdom, to convince us that you are wise and can teach us about the most important things? Yet this line in a speech of aggressive illuminating nonsense, suggests that Shakespeare may have believed that burning heretics was an acceptable feature of a well ordered state. and that is rather difficult for a modern freethinking person to wrap his head around.
It is said to be a reference to syphilis, often described as "burning". The fool's picture is of a future state that is a mixture of the desirable and the undesirable, all supposedly unrealistic, So it not clear what Shakespeare thought about heretic burning. Marlowe of course was accused of atheism.
FOOL
This is a brave night to cool a courtesan.
I’ll speak a prophecy ere I go.
When priests are more in word than matter,
When brewers mar their malt with water,
When nobles are their tailors' tutors,
No heretics burned but wenches' suitors,
When every case in law is right,
No squire in debt nor no poor knight,
When slanders do not live in tongues,
Nor cutpurses come not to throngs,
When usurers tell their gold i' th' field,
And bawds and whores do churches build—
Then shall the realm of Albion
Come to great confusion.
Then comes the time, who lives to see ’t,
That going shall be used with feet.
This prophecy Merlin shall make, for I live before his time.

The idea that anyone has a logical right to think whatever he happens to think is a principal obstacle to my mission in the world. People imbued with it are stolid, obstinate, impervious to persuasion.

312 Anna Commena writing about Italos. Her description of his character as the bad heretic. I am reminded of the recent denunciations of Colin Wilson. It is as if he is being accused of a kind of sinful pride. Heresy was once seen as a bad crime somewhat worse than murder. The description of the heretic’s character is therefore hardly objective. Yet the heretic is no different from the revered religious leader.

Who is the murderer, who the revolutionary, who the usurper who the lawful king?

Colin Wilson it is said, is always searching for something better than normality. What is wrong with that? It seems a coherent enough aim. John Wain deplores it. He says he would never trust a young man who was not left wing. Seemingly he wouldn’t trust a young man with a proper head on his shoulders.

AV 177 Emotions. Dashwood. Evocative rhyme. “'twas twenty two in Dashwood’s time” Like Madimi. Deep admirable heresy in the past, our past. Overcoming the lie about our own past.

SS 11 The close relationship between Christianity and communism. The hypothesis that communism is merely a form of Christian heresy, is well illustrated by the fact that the most sacred rite of the Christian church is called holy communion.

The KGB is the direct descendant of the Spanish Inquisition. Implicit in the Christian love of which so much is made is the idea of destroying the heretic. “Stumbling block, little ones, millstone around the neck, depths of the sea”. Christ loves sinners but he doesn’t love heretics.
Communism as heresy. Yes, but it was heresy that aspired to become orthodoxy and succeeded.
The love must be allowed to flow unimpeded, the Christian family must protect itself, if its love is to flourish it must get rid of all disruptive intruders.

I want none of the love that is bought at the price of the screams of heretics. Love does not justify oppression and cruelty.
XX 237 Heresy and sin. Sinners who break the social code. Scandals in small places. In suburbs and small towns, families etc. the sinner has a place, an accepted role traditional and understood. He can be forgiven and accepted, It is not quite the same with the heretic, such as I consider myself. A communist is of course a kind of heretic often hard to accept, but he can be placed. I am an eccentric a misfit, not acceptable except in the English tradition of tolerance for heretics. There are crimes I would not commit. Still, I am the one who finds no forgiveness.
AW 333 Things forbidden by morality. Like heresy. The difficulty of getting free of one’s most fundamental beliefs, like heresy being an admirable expression of freedom, a sort of extreme Protestantism. Abiezar Coppe. His Fiery Flaming Roll ought to be counted as one of the classics of English literature. its freespiritedness is extreme and admirable. Understanding the Bible its writing becomes a style that may be adopted rather than holy writ produced by others.After the rule of saints, the Resotration. Old Rowley.
BD 164 The great mystery of the heresies. What they meant, what they could mean. Fragmentation. American disdain for isms.

173 Origins of orthodoxy in Justinian’s imperialism. This great project. Unifying, homogenising. Making theology as something like science. So what are the real sources of the wisdom we seek? What do religious people think it is? Do they think of the inspiration as something independent of philosophy? Was Plato inspired at all by religion? Was he too, eclectic like us, with an exotic interest in Egyptian religion, the Egyptian gods? How free thinking or feeling could people be in past? How much were they constrained by superstitious fear of the sort Lucretius found so deplorable?

Civilisation as one common project. Was there something unsatisfactory about the coexistence of all those different heresies? Because lots of them survive today or rather some of them do, and what do they amount to? Just defend beliefs, forms of life, eccentric customs. Original religion, myth, feeling. The feeling which philosophy comes to fill out.

190 Shafarevich The Socialist Phenomenon interesting if oversimplified thesis. The heresies from the Gnostics up to the English Civil War as expressing a unitary ideology, opposition to the great project of mediaeval Catholicism, which was civilisation and progress. After that socialism retreats away from peasants to the intellectuals, up to the time of the French Revolution. Hints of Masonic conspiracy theory.

John of Leyden, Lenin. What he says about this strange figure who makes his appearance as the public agitator revolutionary who becomes an extremely pathetic figure when his luck runs out. Psychomachic Prudentius. Comparison with movements in antiquity that lacked the religious dimension. He admits that socialist ideas are not usually central to the heresies. I see much of value in heresy. I am English, Henry VIII is in my cultural dna.
I also think the Ranters were deeper than most of their mediaeval predecessors. AH 97& J C D Clark English Society 1688-1832. The more I read Clark the more I see that he contradicts himself in his basic prejudices, i.e. against widespread religious indifference and for an essentially Christian, Pauline society. Personally I feel more at home in eighteenth century controversy than in modern. Much as I too feel attracted to what he calls the ancient regime, I am repelled by his sympathies for some of its most reactionary supporters. Catholic emancipation, he says, triggered the demand for reform. I think his views on the Reform Act are hardly original. I was aware well enough a the time of my A levels of the strength and viability of the old system. ‘Ancien regime’ may be a biased term to use in this context; it suggests a comparison with France which was very different. “Old regime” might be a better term. The old regime survived in public schools almost up to the present. I think of the system of compulsory chapel. What was once the way of adulthood survives only as a way for children. The motives people had for supporting the C of E were diverse. There was from all parties a concern with traditional English liberty. To attempt to derive the foundation of the regime from superstitious beliefs must be bad history.

The old regime worked and was in its own way fair. In 1832 it came to seem otherwise. Clark calls the old regime a confessional state, but it was the opposite of a theocracy. Dissent, what was that and what did it mean? Various dogmatic forms of Christianity. What was 1832 about? A form of republicanism, replacing the old order. Republicanism to atheism to Jacobinism ultimately to communism. Ne plus ultra of dissent.

Is it freedom? Or is it a particularly narrow and virulent Christian heresy? Notice previous effect of Calvinism, in Hooker’s day. Hooker was writing primarily against Calvinism and has much to say of the mentality of those who adopted it. A later C of E was against republicanism as emerged in America, seeing that too as a narrow fanaticism. It has been said that socialism was a heresy of Christianity, we may see how that came about.

An ideal of English freedom was the inspiration behind many of the movements and developments of the country’s history. The old regime had such a myth, carefully nurtured. There was a God of the philosophers. Republicanism aspired to replace this by a different source of value. The tendency is democratic. The source of value becomes a counter dogma, to do with inclusion. The trouble with the USA, for example, is that everything is contaminated with this dogma. There is moralising, therefore less spiritual freedom. T S Eliot becomes an Anglican for the same reason that some Jews become Christian. He had to devconvert, get away from republicanism based upon a faith. Democracy as involving less freedom. Its resemblance to communism, the destruction of the aristocratic perspective.

As Clark writes, the old aristocratic concept of the gentleman was destroyed by moralists, evangelicals, Methodists, etc. With the victory of dissent after 1832 the aristocratic ideal could not survive. Society had taken a new character, actually quite intolerant of diversity. The ideological sovereignty had changed, it had turned onto something like equal rights.
AN 130 Daniel Pick’s book of heresies Faces of Degeneration. I am reminded of Germaine Greer’s Sex and Destiny. This culture, these ideas, were once so widespread among the wisest and most intelligent. So is this stuff to be treated as heresy by the self appointed determiners of culture? Certainly it could be thought of a pseudo science. But is what replaces it so much true.? Feminism Equal rights beliefs. Irenaeus.

321 The Romance of the Rose. The symbolism is more open and transparent than in the grail legend. What may surprise is the strength of secular values in this supposedly all religious society. How one could become wealthy by working hard at one’s business just as today. Healthy affirmation. Letters of Abelard and Heloise. What strikes here is the strength of individual self assertion, that seems to contradict the explicit Christian insistence on upon abnegation. Individual personality comes across as something Abelard valued quite strongly. Such a value can seen antichristian, certainly antimonastic. It seems to suggest quite serious heresy of a kind which I find sympathetic.
The rose has a healthy mind. Religion is not really opposed to the world, it coexists with it sanctifies it and offers some salutary moral criticism.

This could also be seen as the spirit of the cathedrals, certainly of something like Amiens, but the heresies of the religious life go further than this. It is cleverness that makes for real heresy. One sees self assertion pushed to a degree where it must threaten the purity of the doctrine. Spiritual pride. Was there to be a place for this in mediaeval Christianity? Anyway the quest for the rose, the trials and difficulties faced.

AM 202 The Temple of the Golden Pavilion. Mishima is a writer of extraordinary intelligence. The novel is the equal to the best of the Russians, and superior to any English novel of its kind I can think of. Apparently his critical reception in the west was hostile to his “sordid theme”, that goes to show the extreme power of the negative forces that prevailed in English culture after the war. Then there was an active hostility to everything of value, like Nietzsche. The hideous destructiveness of modern architecture. Even the introduction to the book fails to meet the full depth of the theme. She writes of the “twisted” interpretation of Zen koans, but this goes to the heart of the real dispute about where real wisdom lies. Here is the dispute between esoteric and exoteric. Certainly the crime was an act of madness, but the ideas discussed with Kashiwagi are by no means negligible. We can think of them as heresy. But what is our attitude to heresy? If we are true protestants we believe that in heresy true wisdom lies. The search for affirmation, this is Nietzschean. A certain kind of conventional thinking will regard this as “twisted”, congenital thinking that sees the pious platitudes as the summation of wisdom. The arsonist certainly takes the wrong track. And Kashiwagi does have the mind of a resentful cripple. But this is not to say they are to be seen as bad or wrong.
Zen ideas deteriorated into mere custodianship of old tradition.
The koans discussed are already familiar to me and Nansen kills cat made a very powerful impression. It suggested a kind of nihilistic absurdism.. Mishima brings the Zen tradition wonderfully to life. The problems that interest a modern student come up right in this religious context. It is hard to see how Christianity could deal with it. Such thought would have to be antichristian. If set among monks or priests they would be satanic it is this urge to enlightenment that is like something Russian. Plus the acuteness of psychological observation.

305 AM 305 McLuhan's paradise, the synaesthesia, that he suggests is the whole meaning of mystical experience. To lay this down as the meaning is an act of religious tyranny. It denies the will to power. That my happiness should be defined in terms of a theory I do not accept is objectionable in the extreme . An individual will, like the will to power, is seen as resting on misunderstanding or a maladaptation.
The promise held out is experienced as slave morality because it is predicated upon denial of an individual will.
McLuhan as defining happiness. However there is much ambiguity in his writing. Like Hegel he covers himself very well. But who can be satisfied with his definition?
As well as the descriptive element it has the nature of a recommendation. That happiness be thought of in terms of this theory, in accordance with it. There will be misfits, the maladjusted, classified as unhealthy in one way or another.

BC 74 Much in the culture that attracts as because it was repressed by what we have come to know as orthodoxy. All the heretical works, gospels of he Mandaeans etc, attract us because their thoughts have been forbidden. We hope that, had they been successful, they would not have imposed repressive orthodoxies of their own, As it is they can inspire us in our own lives.

131 Tertullian on Valentinus. Accusing him of envy at not being a bishop. Typical accusations directed at heretics accusing them of envy.
Pagels The Gnostic Gospels presents Gnosticism from this more peculiar perspective and actually makes it less interesting and its enemies more so. Orthodox Christians she portrays as Romans, pursuing power. Iranaeus, Tertullian. With the pursuit of naked power we can sympathise, and it does not have to be cynical. We put our own gloss on it.
But “we are Semites in religion” said the Pope. This classical political value is allied to the Jewish one. In philosophy we get this with Schelling, who argues against a rationalistic god for a pure arbitrary one.

AZ 121 idea of God as repressive demon is a fairly obvious heresy. Calling it heresy though suggests there could be something more to understand. Heresy is too rational, it is the demand for orthodoxy that provides such an intellectual challenge, all the pride and power that go with the assertion of the irrational.

145 Attitudes to heresy. From the alchemy book. 14th century mysticism. Richard Rolle. Mystical speculation and heresy. Mediaeval inwardness giving way in the 15th century to the alchemical Wasteland sort of thought. We could almost say it was revived by T S Eliot. The whole health of the community. Not a protestant understanding of heresy as freedom, yet not exactly orthodox Christianity. Heresy like social nuisance, religious individualistic contemplative excess. Orthodoxy as realised not what we understand from later.

YY 234 The philosopher is not the same as the priest, by any means, though sometimes or various reasons, the two may be combined.
The priest in our normal understanding, has a repressive function. He is a monopolist, want, to monopolise the venues to religious experience. He wants to dogmatise, to suppress heretical opinions. His alliance with philosopher may come when heretical opinions seem to stand in the way of philosophical activity. The philosopher may support the priest insofar as the latter works to stamp out revolutionary movements.
Every politician recognises that sometimes repression is expedient. even essential. But there is the repellent type of the essential priest who values repression as an end in itself, an exaltation of his God. Talmudic mentality.

ZZ 218 Picott’s End murals. So called traces of the Albigensian heresy. He put us a very interesting case. Though I doubt there is much in it.
E.g. no cross on the halo of Christ therefore the artist does not believe Christ was crucified. (catcher idea) Virgin Mary’s cloak is orange instead of blue. Baptism of Christ looks like the ascetic Buddhas to be found in Pakistan. Symbols perceived in the scrollwork, acanthuses, vines Cheshire cat anchors etc. black blood from Christ’s mouth and foot. Saints Catherine and Margaret of Anjou [sic] Joan of Arc saints.

250& One may speak of the virtues of religion, but he heretics were the best people. So many of the saints were contemptible bigots and authoritarians. St Bonaventura. There is s school dedicated to him somewhere in London. Could one base a public religion on heresy?
Fury of Spanish anarchists against the church. Revenge of heretics upon the Inquisition.

318?

AC 222 Wycliffe the appeal of the heretic His arrogance and self assertion Wycliffe’s communism, associated with his realism. As philosopher, last o Oxford scholastics.

AO 165 Pick’s heresies. They contain all like partial truths, like “we are all guilty”. the fragmentary nature of many of these ideas, no space to attack them in detail. so they preset as attractive hypotheses Attractive or repellent. This is pure historiography, so seems. Leaving out Tolstoy and Hardy… the apparent difficulty and complexity. Idea that both contain a measure of illumination and are themselves part of the problem. So this is a discourse. Wrong-headedness. Of course this is not to be made explicit. The illusion is that we are placed in a complex discourse, looking to see what illumination any of these might throw on our subject,
Original sin.
Freud and Hegel themselves are not exempt from evil. Not intended to be exempt and this is a part of the point he is trying to make.

Bh 108 idea of Protestantism representing a real advance somehow objectively. Relativism is viciously regressive. Heresy hunting and mysticism. The dynamic gothic spirit as the soul of the west. Western mysticism as against Islamic and Byzantine. This new spirit, anti Cluniac.
The Victorian response to this like my own, even if we have some prejudice against them. The sprit contains somewhere in it a genuine search for the truth. The unsatisfactoriness of the heresy hunters position. If we are going to enforce something it has to be enlightenment. To contain the highest insight, not simply floating around the dogmas of he culture. To this degree protestant.
Whole idea of error and its value. . Irreligion, precursor of transvaluation. Mild in Hume the aristocratic. A view of spiritual truth.

110

The heresy hunter’s view is one that sets belief above truth, Essentially it is indifferent to truth. Separate but related question in the virtue of weakness.

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