The Machine Will Never Triumph, part nineteen
Dawn is no longer in the house of the Fish
Pisces, oh Fish, Jesus of the watery way,
your two thousand years are up.
And the foot of the Cross no longer is planted in the place of the birth of
The whole great heavens have shifted over, and slowly pushed aside
the Cross, the Virgin, Pisces, the Sacred Fish
that casts its sperm upon the waters, and knows no intercourse;
pushed them all aside, discarded them, make way now for something else.
Even the Pole itself has departed now from the Pole Star
and pivots on the invisible,
while the Pole Star lies aside, like an old axle taken from the wheel.1
This chapter is about false forms of Christianity, such as many forms of Protestantism, which led directly to the Machine. Later chapters will give more positive views of how Lawrence’s writings are compatible with much of Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, when interpreted in light of certain of their earlier luminaries, such as Hildegard von Bingen. Additionally, the reader should bear in mind that Christianity has taken many forms. Much of Eastern Orthodox—and some Catholic—theology and philosophy could help us get out of our present mess, and even certain Protestants, such as William Blake, were great fighters against the Machine. Christianity and Islam have had long runs, but their time may be over, their day may be done. False forms of Christianity, particularly certain forms of Protestantism, contained within themselves the seeds of their own destruction. Medieval monasteries are the model for Rananim, but certain distorted aspects of monasticism, such as their forms of organization, paved the way to the Renaissance and to modernity. The metaphysical underpinnings of Western Christianity, which traditionally attributed no soul to non-human animals, are quite close to Cartesianism—which considers animals clockwork machines—in many respects. We, in the West, have passed through Christianity and come out into something far worse than even the most debased forms of religion. Modern forms of Christianity are not a solution. We must go back, back farther into the past to the great pagan and shamanistic religions (or true Christianity, such as Orthodoxy). Christianity wasn’t always the life-denying force that it has become today; witness the concept of viriditas that was central to Saint Hildegard’s theological project. We cannot and must not mechanically adopt doctrines from the past, but they can provide us with inspiration. Only the old dark Gods can save us now.
Much of what passes for Christianity today is a bastardized synthesis of debased Christian doctrine and practice combined with obeisance to the religion of capitalism. Frithjof Schuon writes:
The great mistake of those who in Europe seek to lead the industrial masses back to the fold of the Church is that they confirm the worker in his “dehumanization” by accepting the world of machines as a real and legitimate world and even believing themselves obliged to “love that world for its own sake.” To translate the Gospels into slang or to travesty the Holy Family in the guise of proletarians is to make a mockery not only of religion but of the workers themselves; it is in any case base demagogy or, let us say, weakmindedness, for all these attempts betray the inferiority complex of “intellectuals” when they meet the sort of “brutal realism” characteristic of the industrial worker. This “realism” becomes the more easy the more its field is limited, gross and so also unreal.2
Protestant Christianity, as it exists today, in America, is largely a religion of the lower classes, who may go to church on Sundays and profess hatred for people they don’t understand, but their true religion is capitalism, their true church is a bank, and their god is the almighty dollar. As for the perverse, buggered forms of Eastern religions that have come to popularity of late, they are really little more than a set of relaxation techniques designed to help people deal with the miserable lives they have. We need none of this. We need something else, something better. The people will never awaken under what passes for Christ today (but is really the Antichrist). “Christ could not hold them together. They needed a stronger, darker god, a god who knew the dark sacred depths of man’s sensual being.”3 A God such as Dionysus would be a start, or the true Christ, but the true Christian religion is so austere, so radical that a person who follows Christ must sacrifice everything. Lawrence and Christ demand this sacrifice, but few are willing to meet these demands. Each race has its own particular cultural genius. While Islam may be a fit for Arabians, it is a poor fit for most others. Modern Christianity is, in fact, inverse Christianity, or anti-Christianity. What is good in Christianity comes largely through both its pagan heritage, and its ancient heritage, but that heritage is seldom acknowledged (though this is not to deny the work of saintly modern Christians such as Simone Weil, Pavel Florensky, Sergius Bulgakov, et al.). One of the first steps to healing the world could be to bring back a multitude of old folk religions. Some people could be Christian, but those who choose that path should choose the path of true Christianity. For those who choose Christianity, it will need to be something different than what passes for Christianity in the modern West. Lawrence writes:
Man does not make himself, in the first issue. God makes him. And it is the inscrutable God that makes these mysterious differences between the great races of mankind. Each race needs its own religion. What is the good of proselytising? A European Christian may be a man true to his own blood, whole in his own spirit. But an Indian Christian, or a Chinese Christian, is just a man deflected from his own nature, waiting pathetically for the day when the great God will give him back to himself.4
Only by reigniting that old blood-flame for the old ways will the Divine come back into a person’s life. The true Christ is a burning flame, a great living God, but the Christ of false, Protestant Christianity is lifeless and cold. As William Blake wrote: “The Vision of Christ that thou dost see / Is my Vision’s Greatest Enemy.” Soon, things in the world will get too horrible, and just before this apocalypse, people may see the light. Then they will know their Machine was a false god. R. S. Thomas—a devout, but independent Christian—writes:
They will come to understand
our folk-tale was the machine.
We listened to it in the twilight
of our reason, taking it as the hour
in which truth dawned. They will return
without moving to an innocence
as in advance of their knowledge
as the smile of the Christ child was of its cross.5
The folk tales of the ancient peoples contained much that was true, and even after many millennia, distortions, transmission mistakes, and translations, these tales still have the power to move us. That is the difference: many ancient tales awaken us, but few, if any, of our modern tales do. The true story is told by Lawrence:
Gradually, men moved into cities. And they loved the display of people better than the display of a tree. They liked the glory they got of overpowering one another in war. And above all, they loved the vainglory of their own words, the pomp of argument and the vanity of ideas.
So Pan became old and grey-bearded and goat-legged, and his passion was degraded with the lust of senility. His power to blast and to brighten dwindled. His nymphs became coarse and vulgar.
Till at last, the old Pan died, and was turned into the devil of the Christians.6
Pan, God of nature, can of course never truly die, but he absconded, and his likeness was made public enemy number one by the Christians. One has to wonder why the Christians would turn a relatively minor nature deity, who was life-loving and peaceful, into their devil. Perhaps it is because distorted forms of Christianity, which aligned with nation-states, have been the religion of the Machine all along. But, this is not entirely true. There is a deep truth to Christianity no matter how much some may recoil from it, and Lawrence presented the core of who we are today and what the true Christian metaphysic is as such:
Wherein are we superior? Only because we went beyond the phallus in the search of the Godhead, the creative origin. And we found the physical forces and the secrets of science.
We have exalted Man far above the man who is in each one of us. Our aim is a perfect humanity, a perfect and equable human consciousness, selfless. And we obtain it in the subjection, reduction, analysis, and destruction of the Self. So on we go, active in science and mechanics, and social reform.
But we have exhausted ourselves in the process. We have found great treasures, and we are now impotent to use them. So we have said: “What good are these treasures, they are vulgar nothings.” We have said: “Let us go back from this adventuring, let us enjoy our own flesh, like the Italian.” But our habit of life, our very constitution, prevents our being quite like the Italian. The phallus will never serve us as a Godhead, because we do not believe in it: no Northern race does. Therefore, either we set ourselves to serve our children, calling them “the future”, or else we turn perverse and destructive, give ourselves joy in the destruction of the flesh.
The children are not the future. The living truth is the future. Time and people do not make the future. Retrogression is not the future. Fifty million children growing up purposeless, with no purpose save the attainment of their own individual desires, these are not the future, they are only a disintegration of the past. The future is in living, growing truth, in advancing fulfilment.
But it is no good. Whatever we do, it is within the greater will towards self-reduction and a perfect society, analysis on the one hand, and mechanical construction on the other. This will dominates us as a whole, and until the whole breaks down, the will must persist. So that now, continuing in the old, splendid will for a perfect selfless humanity, we have become inhuman and unable to help ourselves, we are but attributes of the great mechanised society we have created on our way to perfection. And this great mechanised society, being selfless, is pitiless. It works on mechanically and destroys us, it is our master and our God.
It is past the time to leave off, to cease entirely from what we are doing, and from what we have been doing for hundreds of years. It is past the time to cease seeking one Infinite, ignoring, striving to eliminate the other. The Infinite is twofold, the Father and the Son, the Dark and the Light, the Senses and the Mind, the Soul and the Spirit, the self and the not-self, the Eagle and the Dove, the Tiger and the Lamb. The consummation of man is twofold, in the Self and in Selflessness. By great retrogression back to the source of darkness in me, the Self, deep in the senses, I arrive at the Original, Creative Infinite. By projection forth from myself, by the elimination of my absolute sensual self, I arrive at the Ultimate Infinite, Oneness in the Spirit. They are two Infinites, twofold approach to God. And man must know both.
But he must never confuse them. They are eternally separate. The lion shall never lie down with the lamb. The lion eternally shall devour the lamb, the lamb eternally shall be devoured. Man knows the great consummation in the flesh, the sensual ecstasy, and that is eternal. Also the spiritual ecstasy of unanimity, that is eternal. But the two are separate and never to be confused. To neutralise the one with the other is unthinkable, an abomination. Confusion is horror and nothingness.
The two Infinites, negative and positive, they are always related, but they are never identical. They are always opposite, but there exists a relation between them. This is the Holy Ghost of the Christian Trinity. And it is this, the relation which is established between the two Infinites, the two natures of God, which we have transgressed, forgotten, sinned against. The Father is the Father, and the Son is the Son. I may know the Son and deny the Father, or know the Father and deny the Son. But that which I may never deny, and which I have denied, is the Holy Ghost which relates the dual Infinites into One Whole, which relates and keeps distinct the dual natures of God. To say that the two are one, this is the inadmissible lie. The two are related, by the intervention of the Third, into a Oneness.
There are two ways, there is not only One. There are two opposite ways to consummation. But that which relates them, like the base of the triangle, this is the constant, the Absolute, this makes the Ultimate Whole. And in the Holy Spirit I know the Two Ways, the Two Infinites, the Two Consummations. And knowing the Two, I admit the Whole. But excluding One, I exclude the Whole. And confusing the two, I make nullity, nihil.7
The biblical story of the fall is a true one, albeit told in allegorical language, and it is a story told by almost every known civilization. We have fallen and we can’t get up. The fall happened, not because of a metaphorical apple, but because of the transitions from oral to written culture and from nomadic hunter gatherer lifestyles to sedentary forms of agriculture. Once the human race decided to settle down in villages and decided to grow food rather than find food, the transition to a new epoch was inevitable. But still, these people loved life: the villages were small, tools were made to fit men, not the other way around, and there were great shrines to the Gods. Then we developed perverse forms of religion, which instilled a hatred of life in the people and abstracted them away from their Gods. This spiritual atrophying lasted centuries, until there was a great flowering in the Romantic era, when some great people rose up and decided to honor the earth, the Gods, and to love life once again, but, alas, it was not to last, and modernity took the place of both Romanticism and Christianity. The great lie of modernity is that it claims to free people from religion, for life, but it is, in fact, far more life denying than any doctrine ever to afflict the minds of the inhabitants of this planet.
All our scientific searching has gotten us where? The theory of relativity and genetic engineering. Even the lowliest Christian monk from the first few centuries after Christ could claim more, for the theory of relativity is nothing in the face of divine realities. And practically speaking, have we created anything, have we accomplished anything worthwhile? No, we only destroy, destroy, destroy. The art, music, architecture, and poetry of today is now far uglier than anything from even fifty years ago, and philosophy is far less profound. Rather than helping us, it seems computers make us dumber and less capable.
So, what to do? First, and foremost, one must strive to achieve consummation with the Divine, and to do that, one must venture from the self to the Self. We must leave off striving for a future that will only bring destruction, and instead find the dark Gods within us, as well as the great Gods of light in the cosmos, and beyond the cosmos. There was great truth in Christianity, but great falsehood also (in some of its forms). The true Christian path is infinitely superior to the modern path, but few now are true Christians. The Christian and the Muslim claim there is one way to one God, but the pagan says there are many ways to many Gods. All paths leading to the Divine are correct. The one thing that will never lead us to divine consummation, however, is the Machine. Our goal is theosis, namely to be consummated in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost (the Eternal Flame). To be a life worshipper means to accept all Gods. “Life makes no absolute statement: the true life makes no absolute statement. ‘Thou shalt have no other God before me.’ The very commandment suggests that it is possible to have other gods, and to put them before Jehovah.”8
We do, despite our criticisms have a love for the truth within Christianity, as did Lawrence, who had memorized the Bible. But, modern Christianity, especially Protestant Christianity is debased. There is very little vitality, if any, left in it. Instead of spurring people on to great works of art, such as traditional Catholicism and Orthodoxy were capable of, many forms of Christianity today seem more intent on stifling the last remaining gasps of life in the believers. Lawrence writes:
Brave people add up to an aristocracy. The democracy of thou-shalt-not is bound to be a collection of weak men. And then the sacred “will of the people” becomes blinder, baser, colder and more dangerous than the will of any tyrant. When the will of the people becomes the sum of the weakness of a multitude of weak men, it is time to make a break.
So today. Society consists of a mass of weak individuals trying to protect themselves, out of fear, from every possible imaginary evil, and, of course, by their very fear, bringing the evil into being.
This is the Christian Community today, in its perpetual mean thou-shalt-not. This is how Christian doctrine has worked out in practice.9
The greatest sin of official Christendom was the utter destruction of pagan life and culture. We would have much more respect for a Christianity that co-exists with other faiths, but the Western Christianity of today is founded on the cultural genocide of the entire European continent, to say nothing of the Americas and Africa. As Lawrence writes:
The Christian fear of the pagan outlook has damaged the whole consciousness of man. The one fixed attitude of Christianity towards the pagan religious vision has been an attitude of stupid denial, denial that there was anything in the pagans at all, except bestiality. And all pagan evidence in the books of the Bible had to be expurgated, or twisted into meaninglessness, or smeared over into Christian or Jewish semblances.10
But, for all that, we, hereby extend a warm and friendly hand to all sincere, life-loving Christians to join us and fight with us against the great evil of our time, the Machine. One can be allies even with certain false Christians, but never with the robotic hordes. For all their sins, many Christians can do something right and make war against the Machine. As Jeffers writes:
Oh Christian era,
Era of chivalry and the barbarians and the machines, era of science and the
When you go down make a good sunset.
Never linger superfluous, old and holy and paralytic like India,
Go down in conclusive war and a great red sunset, great age go down,
For all will be worse confounded soon.
I shall laugh purely, knowing the next age
Lives not on human beauty, waiting on circumstance and its April, weaving
its winter chrysalis;
Thin snow falls on historical rocks.11
Jeffers, Robinson. The Collected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers. Edited by Tim Hunt. Vol. Three. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1988.
Lawrence, D. H. Apocalypse. Edited by Mara Kalnins. London: Penguin Books, 1995.
———. Kangaroo. Melbourne: The Text Publishing Company, 2018.
———. Mornings in Mexico and Other Essays. Edited by Virginia Crosswhite Hyde. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.
———. Quetzalcoatl. Edited by Lois L. Martz. New York: New Directions, 1998.
———. The Poems. Edited by Christopher Pollnitz. Vol. 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
———. “Twilight in Italy.” In D. H. Lawrence and Italy, 2–136. London: Penguin Books, 2007.
Schuon, Frithjof. Language of the Self. Bloomington: World Wisdom, 1999.
Thomas, R. S. Collected Later Poems. Hexham: Bloodaxe Books, 2004.
D. H. Lawrence, The Poems, ed. Christopher Pollnitz, vol. 1 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 531.
Frithjof Schuon, Language of the Self (Bloomington: World Wisdom, 1999), 126.
D. H. Lawrence, Quetzalcoatl, ed. Lois L. Martz (New York: New Directions, 1998), 76.
R. S. Thomas, Collected Later Poems (Hexham: Bloodaxe Books, 2004), 124.
D. H. Lawrence, Mornings in Mexico and Other Essays, ed. Virginia Crosswhite Hyde (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 156.
D. H. Lawrence, “Twilight in Italy,” in D. H. Lawrence and Italy (London: Penguin Books, 2007), 38–40.
D. H. Lawrence, Kangaroo (Melbourne: The Text Publishing Company, 2018), 306.
D. H. Lawrence, Apocalypse, ed. Mara Kalnins (London: Penguin Books, 1995), 72.
Robinson Jeffers, The Collected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers, ed. Tim Hunt, vol. Three (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1988), 31–32.