Thursday, September 14, 2006

On Aletheia in a postmodern world

Art by AruXet
The world today has regularly been called postmodern. What ever you think of the term from this or that angle, I think it can be generally seen to refer to the world where things have become increasingly relative and uncertain in nature. To put it rather harsh, postmodern world seems to hold that there are no objective truths. On a more practical level, postmodernism touches also others than academics. Life has become more uncertain for everyone in many ways, things have turned more and more into projects. The old basic safety havens of life, such as job and status involved, preferred place where to live, as well as relationships, have all lost their previous positions as relative safe havens of life for one's sense of identity. You can not be so sure anymore about having this particular job for the rest of your life (or most likely for the next two years), you can not be so sure you can live in the place of your preference for the rest of your life, you can not be so sure that your relationships will last for the rest of your life the way you would prefer. Of course, things have been uncertain throughout the ages. But if you compare postmodern to modern, or 2006 CE to 1956 CE, you probably get the point here.
The dynamism of the world has turned itself into a change that seem to put people more and more under mercy of winds of whims of the Universe. This can be really disillusioning for many for many reasons. People get easily rootless and unable to base themselves into anything profound in a Zeitgeist like this. Profound systems of meaning (such as religions and philosophies) seem to turn more and more into systems of self-deception if they claim to have more in them than just subjective truths (and many of them really are systems of self-deception). But for many of us our psyche's are profoundly not resonant with this easily nihilistically colored view on existence. For many of us there is deep within a sense for more profound knowledge. That sense comes from direct inner experience of the Truth of Being, which is dynamic in its nature, and in this much more than just 'subjective' in the totality of the Universe.
What you can be sure about even in a Zeitgeist of postmodernism is that you are the ultimate source of happiness and power in your own life. If you step outside the magic circle of your own Self-based conscious power, you let psychic vampires to feast on you and you fool yourself to play with categorically bad cards with your Master Game - your life. As long as you remember to not compromise regarding staying in touch and being informed and inspired by your most noble sense of the Truth of your Being, you base yourself to the most profound source of power and happiness in the world - your Self. This is something that no one can take away from you, that no one can make uncertain or relative - no matter how postmodern the world may be.


Anonymous Joan said...

Beautiful and true! More than 'an egg' of wisdom there!

(This url explains my phrase 'egg of wisdom':)


4:37 am  
Anonymous Joan said...

I hope you don't mind! I quoted from your article, and linked to it from my 'egg of wisdom' picture:

(Perhaps you were writing it just as I was drawing my picture this morning?)

Thanks again!

4:55 am  
Blogger Afagddu said...

Uncertainty is something which splits people into (at least) two groups. There are those who plunge into the uncertain, realising that it's a vessel for dynamic change and the realm of endless possibilities, and there are those who regress, trying to grasp as many elements of stability and certainty as possible.

The way I see it every age has been one of uncertainty. What has changed is the realism with which this fact is viewed. We seem to have grasped more of an understanding in the 'postmodern' era of the real nature of the World.


10:54 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Tapio,

Finally you grabbed the question I have thought for a long time: the possible connection between magic and postmodernism. The question is an interesting one, because it is also the Self that comes questionable when we speak of themes and dominant theories of postmodernism. Actually it comes nearly first, not the reality, I think. Modernism is the decline of 'cogito ergo sum' and in modernism the whole question about the Ego goes through the metamorphosis: the Cartesian "I" changes into postmodern "I" which is at the crossroads of a different kind of streams. The whole question about stable Self becomes more and more problematic. From your point of view, do you see the Self as something personal, something really unique and really own or is it something which we call as a term of rhizome? That you are not the Self on your own, rather the Self is the chain of your forefathers and different traditions from outside and there is no such thing as a free will? Which means: when you write about subject's own source of happiness and power, it isn't some, let's say, transcendental ego or the foundation of Self, but the way you are a part of culture, social relations, pop culture etc? The way you receive different streams from outside. Where does "the Truth of your Being" spring from?

Also, I'd like to add (without wanting to be one of those psychic vampires) that isn't the whole Temple of Set- or Rune-Gild-way of life an striking example of Paganism (as a term of Lyotard)? That the only relevant Truth we can speak of in postmodern times are there, in small (esoteric) societes, not on the surface and in the newspapers? Undergound: minorities and marginal groups are the lightbearers of Truth, but there are so many different truths as there are those groups/individuals who speak of Truth. So: is Temple of Set a postmodern group, what do you think?

Respectfully, EK

P.S. Apology for my poor english.

5:20 pm  
Anonymous Oan said...

"- Ymmärrän, sanoi Muumipeikko ja istuutui lumeen.
- Et ymmärrä, sanoi Tuu-tikki ystävällisesti ja kohottautui sen verran, että hänen puna-valkoraitainen nuttunsa tuli näkyviin. Sillä kertosäe käsittelee sellaisia asioita, joita ei voi ymmärtää. Ajattelen juuri parhaillaan revontulia. Ei voi tietää ovatko ne olemassa vai näkyvätkö ne vain. Kaikki on hyvin epävarmaa, ja juuri se tekee minut levolliseksi."

10:25 am  
Blogger Tapio Kotkavuori said...

Thanks for your comments.

Joan -

interesting to hear of the time you did your drawing... I like it, btw :-)

Afagddu -

interesting questions here. The basis on which to categorize people into more or less uncertainty enduring is quite complicated one. There are plenty of factors to be considered here and comparing these complex individual settings then with each other makes it even more complex. Sure, it is possible to do this more or less successfully and truthfully to the whole complexity of the subject, as I am sure many sociological and such studies tell.

You write that "we seem to have grasped more of an understanding in the 'postmodern' era of the real nature of the World". Hmmm. I think that general awareness of many genuinely relative things have grown and that in this sense the above sentence from you is correct. But then, on the other hand and maybe a bit paradoxically, I am not so sure at all about general growing understanding of questions dealing with the reality of Self. If something, answers to this question have been "mcdonaldized" big time and the manifestations of this does not tell to me of people generally having more understanding of their Selves in the big picture. If they would have more such understanding I think the statistics alone would speak of people with much less mental and other problems. They would find their lives more profoundly meaningful and Happy. To me this age seems to be a "wolf-age" (see:

3:45 pm  
Blogger Tapio Kotkavuori said...

Oan -

this was pure beauty. Thank you.

Anonymous -

Interesting and multidimensional themes. Some quick notes on them -

Magic originates from one's most conscious Self (and I would add that at its best so in one's efforts to Come into Being). This same source is also the source for the experience of the Truth of Being.

There are many levels in our total sense of identity. A good number of these levels are from "outside" of ourselves. The most conscious Self, though, is something that enables us to have a sense of identity in the first place. This most conscious self is something that is "above" those "outside" influences (and levels of a sense of identity) in a certain way, although it reflects itself heavily through its encultured ("outside") manifestations.

The Temple of Set as an organization can be said to exist in a postmodern Western world. But when it comes to the general basic philosophical emphasis towards and views on existence, the Temple of Set is clearly not postmodern at all. Truth, as understood in the Temple, is not relative (it is good to remember here, that this Truth is based on the nature of consciousness).

Wisdom can be found from many places, not just esoteric schools. My grandmother was a wise woman and I think that the only group she belonged to was a certain bookclub :)

5:01 pm  
Blogger Afagddu said...


A Wolf Age indeed.

I agree with your thoughts about people in general having no more insight into their Selves in these times.

I think the world in general is gaining more Objective understanding about the relationship of things to each other, but probably less realisation of the Self, Subjective understandings, and the true meaning of the word 'Sacred' from the majority of individuals within it.

This leads to greater confusion in individual identity and disconnection from tradition.

On another hand, it is the perception of the disparity between the shallow and fickle concerns of the World around us and the permanence of Being that leads to the creation of Seekers. This is another form of paradox.

The veils of the current era are more dense and blinding than ever with the amount of technological, convenience based and materialistic distractions at our disposal. I believe this has the effect of making the Sleepers sleep more deeply, but the Awakening ones more aware of the importance of their own wakefulness.

In my own case I feel it was my feelings of profound dissatisfaction with the World that led to my picking up the trail of the White Rabbit. This lack of satisfaction, combined with the feeling that I was an anachronism in such an age, was what prompted me to begin Remembering my Self. This was 'the developmental wheel turning' on a microcosmic level. From my own perspective, if the same is to happen on a macrocosmic level it needs to come from the dissatisfaction with the 'Wolf Age'
reaching critical mass.

Uncertainty may prove to be the catalyst for that.

Currently however it would seem that although the motivations and tools for Awakening are better than ever, the ease with which it can occur is lower than ever.



5:56 pm  
Blogger Tapio Kotkavuori said...


good points, especially about objective/subjective understanding.

In the case that the Wolf Age link above did not make it here so that everyone can get it, it is here again:


7:59 pm  
Anonymous nildro-hain-roo said...

"Profound systems of meaning (such as religions and philosophies) seem to turn more and more into systems of self-deception if they claim to have more in them than just subjective truths (and many of them really are systems of self-deception)"

And yet you claim your Temple of Set is not the same as all the other religious organisations, which think _for_ people instead of (truly) letting them think for themselves..?
I see little difference between your organisation and - say for instance - some fanatic christian church (including brainwash -type structure of organisation, "graduating" to "a higher level", etc.)

Do you ever evaluate if infact you yourself have lost the objective view on/truth about yourself?

7:26 am  
Blogger Santeri Nemo said...

Hello again, Tapio

thanks for answering. When I mentioned the marginal groups which carry their own, valuable truths, I was thinking about all the social groups, not just esoteric lodges. Webrings, like the readers of this blog, are one of those little modern tribes, I would say, which really matters.

I was also thinking about your grandmother. Certainly she was a valuable source for you, I don’t doubt, but is this whole forefathers-thing one of those “outside” sources of the Self? Has this “most consciuos Self” you mentioned its foundation in genetics and heretance? doesn’t DNA of your father and mother carry some those learned and used skills, values and characteristics of your grandmothers and grandfathers? Does the levels of Self comes from there, like from “inside outside”? So these characteristics of yours aren’t really yours, you just lend this blood for a lifetime (the whole mission of exploring the Self is like to fasten your being in the chain of your elders? Check Gustav Meyrink’s Der Golem for further). Or as Neurosis put it:
“The blood that flows through me is not my own.
The blood is from the past, not my own.
The blood that leads my life is not my own.
The blood is strength, I'm not alone.”

So I’d like think our own DNA really carries the values of earlier (in our case finnish) traditions. When it comes to Self, it is how you manage to accommodate your “inside outside” values of yourself to the culture(s) of today. The Holy or The Truth you experience by being yourSelf springs from this? Or is this just some blaablaablaa of someone who don’t have a clue of his personal core of Self?

11:12 am  
Blogger Tapio Kotkavuori said...

Nildro-hain-roo –

Temple of Set is a forum for like-minded individuals to Work on themselves and in the process to make the most out of their lives. Because of this the Temple is regularly also called "a tool" for its affiliates.

Also academic studies done of the Temple state that the Temple encourages its members to develop their own thinking, view on things in general, and to be active in various forums of their societies as they find meaningful and to be according to their own individual preferences and interests. It is also noted that the Temple is not authoritarian in nature and that the Temple’s operation and structure also reflects this (see f.ex theologian Minna Rikkinen’s Pro Gradu _Setin Temppeli uususkontojen typologioiden valossa_, Helsinki University 1997).

Evaluating one’s ability to separate objective/subjective views on existence and to operate with those realitities successfully is an essentially part of Temple’s affiliates Work (see f.ex my forthcoming 1st books English translation).

I share with you antipathy towards fanatic people and I send you my best wishes in evaluating the world objectively.

12:51 pm  
Blogger Tapio Kotkavuori said...

VM -

I think that genes/parents influence are 1/3 out of what essentially makes a person who s/he is. Other two significant elements here are environment (physical and social) and one's "most own" preferences, choises, and decisions. These last one's are especially relevant regarding your question on the Self - they can be something interestingly "unpredictable" in relation to the first two elements mentioned.

[When it comes to values, by the way, they are something that are learned in a social environment, in a culture, they are not got via genes].

I understood you are a Finn. In that case, I would suggest you to read the chapther "polkujen laajat kontestuaaliset määritelmät" (p.26-30) as well as "subjektiivinen ja objektiivinen universumi" (p. 21-24) from my first book. Those chapters deal directly with your question.

1:18 pm  
Blogger Santeri Nemo said...

Hello for a third time,

..And you mean this 1/3 of individual essence, "subjective universe" if I understood correctly, is the real core of the Self, the one that can be separated from (actual) natural universe? If so, are some of the consciously worked things, for example ethics, really your own or are those questions of values just halfly your subjective working halfly related to the values of your parents (implicitly and in disguised carried in to your blood via characteristics)? Also it must be remembered, I suppose, that in one's childhood you actually gulp with your eyes a lot of your actual working/decisions of your later life, the nature of your being (as Markku Lahtela wrote in "Matias Tallgrenin yksityiselämä"). So the social environment and genetics get together twisted: you may for example get divorced seven times in your later life if you have learned the ways of acting in home as your parents were ripping each others' hearts out when you were 3-4 years old, in the age you may not really remember. This is partly same thing you wrote in "Polkujen laajat kontekstuaaliset määritelmät". Is this then the right hand path overtaken in the childhood from which the initiate of LHP moves on (, but only partly)?

Maybe some of the decisions concerning one's Work later reveal to be the same as his/her parents' decisions concerning their lives and their (unconscious) Works. For example: one trains his/her Will by educating his love and tolerance towards the ugly and greedy people when in some point of working he notices (knows deep in his/her heart) that it is exactly the case of his grandfather's lifetime job? Idiotic example, but I hope it goes. Then: is this the case of your subjective essence or the case of "natural universe" (luonnollinen universumi)? Of course these two universes are mainly entwined, as you wrote, but how can one really separate them? Is this then the case of experience and silence, not speculation, writing and talking?

[But if this is in a case of forefathers, as speculated earlier, are the unconsciously guiding forces of forefathers ("outside") authorities of RHP or are they as guides of your own true Being on LHP?

And where does the unconscious comes from if not via genes? Does initiates of Left Hand Path at all consider the unconscious as relevant part of the Self?]

Same questions, different settings.


4:00 pm  
Blogger Tapio Kotkavuori said...

Hi VM –

You have taken some really valuable angles into the subject at hand. Yes, the natural/non-natural blend a lot in our lives, because we are an interesting multidimensional combination of both of them. You asked "how can one really separate them [natural and non-natural]"? Concepts are concepts, abstract tools to reach towards the depths of existence, subjective and objective. There are points when using concepts, words, to meaningfully describe some delicate subjects become very difficult or impossible. Still, a seeker of any sort needs to find the best set of tools available (conceptual and other kind) and make the best out of them.

When it comes to unconsciousness, well, this is a whole new can of worms. We could talk about personal and/or collective unconscious, to make a starting point. I am afraid my schedule does not allow me to dive very well into all of these subjects here. I would like to make two questions to you regarding the topic – what makes you to think that unconscious comes via genes? Why not instead via personal/collective history? Regarding your question "does initiates of Left Hand Path at all consider the unconscious as relevant part of the Self?" I would answer shortly, that unconscious (personal/collective) is relevant part of self-knowledge, and thus also relevant knowledge in getting to know and experience one’s most non-natural Self.

4:44 pm  
Blogger Santeri Nemo said...

Well, of course I'm not (I can't be?) sure of unconscious' transmission via genes , but for me it's the most obvious channel. All we know about ancient or older cultures, different gods which are really "there", can't be all delivered just via social circles, schools, religious lodges. Certainly it is partly a matter of belief, but how else would things older than you appear to you (check for example the grand old man of unconscious, Jung) in dreams, reflections etc. when your conscious has never heard of those things? All of them can't be teached and preached, despite they are sometimes transmissed implicitly as symbols, myths, stories, fairytales. I'd like to refer the inner and outer garden of one's unconscious: there are that part of particular man which is "damned", poor and ugly side of one (usually fears and characteristics which a person doesn't like, which he/she actually hates in himself), and there are that collective part of "damned" which has its doorway to personal unconscious. The unconscious is one of biological chains of mankind and so the basis of man (only relevant basis of sense of history), but only the basis. Western (popular) occultism speak/spoke of it as a "marriage of the lovers" (conscious and unconscious as a married couple). Do man really have to be paranoid to think like this?

You asked also me about the collective history. What is the collective history and how can we know anything about it? We certainly have a sense of "history before us", but doesn't all the documents which we have about history are just documents and interpretations of someone? Man's mission is to make a history as a story and that route has its ending also (check french literature of 1950'-1980's partly as a answer to this), I think. The fragments still come from elsewhere not just via books&documents. This way we end up to postmodernism; personal histories, personal lifestories, personal truths. But where postmodernism doesn't reach is the space unknown, the basis of everyman, the unconscious. Maybe we do speak in different terms, but I think this area is also the field, where the Truth and experiences of Holy are springing. At least this area is the basis for strenghtening the Self.

Sorry for interfering your schedule, I don't mind if we end this conversation. Thanks for lightful answers.


7:26 pm  
Anonymous Avalonia said...

Words of Wisdom you shared,

but then again, what else to expect...?

Keep up the good Work.

6:46 pm  

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