A Most Hideous Strength: Counter-Initiation and Subversive Politics in C.S. Lewis’ Imaginarium

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14 Responses

  1. Avatar Wahid says:

    Great piece, Branko. You also put your finger acutely on the nerve of a issue (without mentioning them) as to why despite all their pretensions, the alt-right/Duginists cannot remotely be considered Traditional at all. In fact, as I, you and others have been arguing, they in fact embody the counter-initiatic currents as the agents of the Anti-Tradition itself.

    Once again, great work.

  2. Avatar Silent says:

    Marvellous treatment of the book!

    From what I can remember, there are some “truthers” who include non-human occult influences in their theories, for instance Icke with his demonic “lower fourth dimension” which according to him the esoteric elite of the conspiracy is tapping into and in turn controlled by. But in his extremely arbitrary interpretation of history, there is no acknowledgment of nor respect paid where it’s due to the much more central role played by supra-human agencies that are rightly defined as divine. So the rise of religions like Christianity and Islam, for example, are completely written off as engineered products of what we would call the counter-initiation, created in order to brainwash and “control“ humanity… This is not only an absurdly twisted but even dangerous and subversive narrative. This is a frequently recurring problem in conspiracy theorists who accept the influence of the dark “archons” upon human history but choose to ‘forget’ about the existence, and indeed primacy, of righteous celestial powers and divine intervention. This unbalanced lack of proper symmetry plays right into the hands of the powers of darkness.

    • Avatar Malić says:

      In conspiracy theories of the Nineties – Naughties age, there are two ideological constants: one, the world is ran by devils and, two, there’s no God. It’s easy to do the math from there. You give Icke much too credit by even calling his “ideas” interpretation of history. He’s a dangerous idiot who serves as an inspiration for doing precisely what Postmodern is all about: rejecting classical education & knowledge, religion, philosophy and, most important, reality itself. Because it is all perception, you see. He deserves to perceive himself out of existence and I’m sure that will happen eventually.

      • Avatar Silent says:

        That pretty much sums it up succinctly.

        As for those contemporary conspirologists who do profess some sort of Christian truth, it appears that most subscribe to protestant-like “sola scriptura” based faith, not the more traditional forms. Maybe you know about a few exceptions?

        • Avatar Malić says:

          E Michael Jones comes to mind, although maybe I wouldn’t go so far to call him conspirologist. You can find a clear instance of sola scriptura mentality in reverence towards Quigley’s “Tragedy and Hope” among some people.

          • Avatar Mihai says:

            ” You can find a clear instance of sola scriptura mentality in reverence towards Quigley’s “Tragedy and Hope” among some people.”

            Can you please expand on this?
            I think I have rough idea what you mean, but I’m not sure.

          • Avatar Malić says:

            I mean taking this book as a definitive explanation of last 200 years. And if there’s an alternative explanation, the answer is: “Quigley says otherwise.”What makes Quigley such an authority? He was an esteemed professor and acclaimed historian, but writing such a voluminous work necessarily implies huge mistakes. Nevertheless, the argument rests upon invoking the authority of “Tragedy and Hope”. The fact that he was acquainted with some deep level documents and privy to American liberal establishment inner circles. doesn’t justify this.

  3. Avatar robber chih says:

    when the devil tempted Christ, he offered him the observable universe, power over the empirical phenomena. History, science and reason whisper to men now.

  4. Avatar Millimetternich says:

    Brilliant work Mihai

    I’m going to read the book again

  5. Avatar Silent says:

    I wonder if Lewis included the counter-initiates’ search for Merlin merely for its entertainment value, or to communicate something deeper?

    I was intrigued to find that Iranian ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad thinks there is an occult dimension to the American wars in the Middle East (in addition to the more usual motives): that his sources actually imply that factions of the American elite have conducted massive research on and are hunting the Hidden Imam (related to the Sufi doctrine of the Qutb). This certainly makes one wonder what the so-called “Axis of Evil” was really about. Was Osama bin Ladin, this image of an ascetic threatening “our way of life” from his cave in the Afghan mountains perhaps really a symbol for their actual enemy, a hidden initiatory centre of powerful spiritual influences based in the Middle East, which counter-initiatory intelligence is aware of? I do not know, but is certainly an interesting question to consider.

    • Avatar Mihai says:

      About these “hidden centers” and all such: I would say that this (among other few) is a place where one should stop and not follow Guenon any further. These speculations have much more in common with theosophy and occultism than Guenon himself realized. I do believe that this kind of stuff represents some residual survivals from his dabbling in the occult and masonic milieu in the early part of his life.

      I don’t think that Lewis had any such thing in mind.

      That being said, what you say about the CIA and their searches in the Middle East, well it is not outside plausibility. American intelligence has a history of dwelling into occult stuff, so it wouldn’t surprise me. And they are not the only ones, if we remember the Nazi dabbling into the occult, Otto Rahn’s searches for the hidden entrance into “hollow Earth” and all that…even the bolsheviks had their own “paranormal division” as I remember reading in an article last year.
      So, yes- wouldn’t be surprised if the CIA were on the hunt for something similar.

  6. Avatar Silent says:

    Sure, I don’t believe Guénon was right on every detail. The idea of hidden centres is not peculiar to occultism, though, but may be found in multiple authentic esoteric traditions. Exactly how it is to be interpreted in each case is another question, of course.

    I’m not saying that a “hidden centre” in the Middle East must necessarily exist in terms of a formal secret organisation or tangible subterranean structures, though it isn’t impossible. What would matter is whether the “pole of the age” is presently most totally embodied in some obscure individual keeping a low profile within the Islamic world. It is subtle spiritual force I am speaking of here, not gross power. If central counter-initiates connected with the western deep state could identify such a subtle threat, they would attempt to target it. This seems to be what Ahmadinejad believes, at any rate, though the validity of his sources cannot be verified by us.

    Another idea that struck me is whether Lewis with the severed and animated head used by the N.I.C.E. initiates for intelligence gathering or demonic communication might have been partly inspired by the testimonies of a mysterious ‘Head’ playing some central cult function in the secret rituals of the Knights Templar. One can make a convincing case that the usurious Templar bankers were in actuality host to some counter-initiatory current, in contrast to the more romantic take on the matter entertained by Guénon, with the idealized Order as guardians of the Primordial Tradition; and yet, he also writes elsewhere that the counter-initiation itself proceeds from that same Tradition, but by extreme degeneration. I wonder if Guénon’s white-painting interpretation of the Templars might be another error of his, but there may perhaps be some truth to both perspectives.

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