The Machine Will Never Triumph, part forty-two
What thou lovest well remains,
the rest is dross
What thou lov’st well shall not be reft from thee
What thou lov’st well is thy true heritage —Ezra Pound
The Turning Back
Let us rise up and go from out this grey
Last twilight of the gods, to find again
The lost Hesperides where love is pure.
For we have gone too far, oh much too far
Towards the darkness and the shadow of death,
Let us turn back, lest we should all be lost.
Let us go back now, though we give up all
The treasure and the vaunt we ever had,
Let us go back, the only way is love.1
The ancient world, for all its faults was based on love. The message of Christ was based on love, though some of his followers throughout the centuries have often been followers of hate. The modern world barely knows true love. The world of the Machine is a cold, ugly world of darkness and death, but the world of the Gods is luminous, suffused with Fire, and life. Let us go back to better ways, not through hate, but through love. It is always better to love the good than to hate the bad, though both are needed. Nowadays, people claim to love, but more often hate instead. Both religious and non-religious people hate in the name of love, and that is the most pernicious form of falsehood and hypocrisy. Lawrence wrote about this:
Humanity is a huge aggregate lie, and a huge lie is less than a small truth. Humanity is less, far less than the individual, because the individual may sometimes be capable of truth, and humanity is a tree of lies. And they say that love is the greatest thing; they persist in saying this, the foul liars, and just look at what they do! Look at all the millions of people who repeat every minute that love is the greatest, and charity is the greatest—and see what they are doing all the time. By their works ye shall know them, for dirty liars and cowards, who daren’t stand by their own actions, much less by their own words[…] It’s a lie to say that love is the greatest. You might as well say that hate is the greatest, since the opposite of everything balances.—What people want is hate—hate and nothing but hate. And in the name of righteousness and love, they get it. They distil themselves with nitroglycerine, all the lot of them, out of very love. It’s the lie that kills. If we want hate, let us have it—death, murder, torture, violent destruction—let us have it: but not in the name of love.—But I abhor humanity, I wish it was swept away. It could go, and there would be no absolute loss, if every human being perished tomorrow. The reality would be untouched. Nay, it would be better. The real tree of life would then be rid of the most ghastly, heavy crop of Dead Sea Fruit, the intolerable burden of myriad simulacra of people, an infinite weight of mortal lies.2
Our individualism is destroying us. We are about as individual as gears in a machine. We may be individual, but we have no meaning without others. There is no simple individual. But the individual can be with others either as a mechanical cog in a diabolical system, as most people in the modern world are, or as a person in direct communion with other individuals—in touch through tenderness, and love. The latter are the sun-men and their followers, and it is they who should be followed into the future. In true love between people of the sun, there is never just two, but always a third presence, namely that of the Gods, the Holy Spirit, the Morning Star. As Lawrence writes:
Now, must she admit that the individual was an illusion and a falsification?—There was no such animal. Except in the mechanical world. In the world of machines, the individual machine is effectual. The individual, like the perfect being, does not and cannot exist, in the vivid world. We are all fragments. And at the best, halves. The only whole thing is the Morning Star. Which can only rise between two: or between many.3
Love, however, as people know it and think of it, is a mental conceit, and product of the will. True love goes so much deeper it almost can’t be called love any longer. At these deep and dark places within the soul is where the dark Gods dwell, those forces that directly connect our souls to the souls of the Gods and Fire of the cosmos. To truly love is not a transitory thing and is not “until death do us part,” but is the meeting of infinity by the infinite. As Lawrence writes:
Really, I know the dark god at the lower threshold—even if I have to repeat it like a phrase. And in the sacred dark men meet and touch, and it is a great communion. But it isn’t this love. There’s no love in it. But something deeper. Love seems to me somehow a bondage: and the spirit seems like something that belongs to the will alone. I can’t help it—I know another god.4
The modern state was originally based on the twin pillars of Roman law and a terribly distorted vision of Christianity, though modernity has now infected the entire globe. Added on top of that foundation are capitalism and democracy. All of these ingredients emphasize the individual, and the need to love, yet the irony is an individual cannot love and stay an individual. A society truly based on love could never be a democracy and could never be capitalist. Lawrence explicates all of this as follows:
The modern Christian State is a soul-destroying force, for it is made up of fragments which have no organic whole, only a collective whole. In a hierarchy each part is organic and vital, as my finger is an organic and vital part of me. But a democracy is bound in the end to be obscene, for it is composed of myriad dis-united fragments, each fragment assuming to itself a false wholeness, a false individuality. Modern democracy is made up of millions of frictional parts all asserting their own wholeness.
To have an ideal for the individual which regards only his individual self and ignores his collective self is in the long run fatal. To have a creed of individuality which denies the reality of the hierarchy makes at last for more anarchy. Democratic man lives by cohesion and resistance, the cohesive force of “love” and the resistant force of the individual “freedom”. To yield entirely to love would be to be absorbed, which is the death of the individual: for the individual must hold his own, or he ceases to be “free” and individual. So that we see, what our age has proved to its astonishment and dismay, that the individual cannot love. The individual cannot love: let that be an axiom. And the modern man or woman cannot conceive of himself, herself, save as an individual. And the individual in man or woman is bound to kill, at last, the lover in himself, or herself. It is not that each man kills the thing he loves, but that each man, by insisting on his own individuality, kills the lover in himself, as the woman kills the lover in herself. The Christian dare not love: for love kills that which is Christian, democratic, and modern, the individual. The individual cannot love. When the individual loves, he ceases to be purely individual. And so he must recover himself, and cease to love. It is one of the most amazing lessons of our day: that the individual, the Christian, the democrat cannot love. Or, when he loves, when she loves, he must take it back, she must take it back.5
A society based on love must be hierarchical, must be organic, and must be connected to the soul of the world. For all our talk of love, there is very little real love in the modern world. The modern world is a hateful place in comparison to the ancient world, which was in so many ways more beautiful, organic, and centered, where all things were more connected; it was vital and full of life. There was no need for machines, because there was love. There was no need to proclaim the power of the will, nor to strive to be god-like in terms of power. There was no need, because there was love, and even a person alone on an island was never really alone. That person was in touch with the sea, the sand, the trees, and the Gods. When a person is in touch, they cannot help but be in love, but when a person wills himself or herself into individuality, love dies. And when love dies, the Machine is born. Klages writes:
No teaching can return us to that which has once been lost. Regarding all such attempts, we feel that man simply does not have the ability to bring about a transformation of his inner life on his own. We stated earlier that the ancients never presumed to unravel nature’s secrets by means of experiments, and never thought to conquer her through the use of machines, which they dismissed as clever contraptions that were suitable only for slaves; we now insist, moreover, that they abhorred such attempts as ungodliness. Forest and spring, boulder and grotto were for them filled with sacred life; from the summits of their lofty mountains blew the stormwinds of the gods (it was not from lack of a “feeling for nature” that one did not climb their peaks!), and tempest and hailstones threatened or clashed furiously in the play of battle. When the Greeks desired to construct a bridge across a stream, they begged the river deity to pardon this deed of man for which they atoned by offering up to him a sacrificial libation of wine. In ancient German lands, an offense against a living tree was expiated by the shedding of the offender’s blood. Today’s mankind sees only childish superstition in those who attend to the planetary currents. He forgets that the interpreting of apparitions was a way of scattering blooms around the tree of an inner life, which shelters a deeper knowledge than all of science: the knowledge of the world-weaving power of all-embracing love. Only when this love has been renewed in mankind will the wounds inflicted by the matricidal spirit be healed.6
We need to give up the conceit of individuality and sacrifice the will on the altar of the Gods. Once we do this, and give up the machines, we may have our hearts opened to love again, and then we may get good things, not through force, nor coercion, but through gentle prayers to the various manifestations of the Divine. It may be hard to make such a change, but you must know that the ancients were far wiser than moderns give them credit for. In fact, it was the ancients who were adults, and we who are children. As Schuon writes:
Attempts which, in antiquity and in the Middle Ages, came nearest to mechanical inventions were those that served chiefly for amusement and were regarded as curiosities and thus as things which became legitimate by very reason of their exceptional character. The ancients were not like feckless children who handle anything within reach, but on the contrary like men of ripe judgment who avoid certain orders of possibilities whose disastrous consequences they foresee.7
Klages, Ludwig. The Biocentric Worldview. Translated by Joseph D. Pryce. London: Arktos, 2013.
Lawrence, D. H. Apocalypse. Edited by Mara Kalnins. London: Penguin Books, 1995.
———. Kangaroo. Edited by Bruce Steele. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
———. The Plumed Serpent. Edited by L. D. Clark. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
———. The Poems. Edited by Christopher Pollnitz. Vol. 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.
———. Women in Love. London: Everyman’s Library, 1992.
Schuon, Frithjof. Language of the Self. Bloomington: World Wisdom, 1999.
D. H. Lawrence, The Poems, ed. Christopher Pollnitz, vol. 3 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 1526.
D. H. Lawrence, Women in Love (London: Everyman’s Library, 1992), 120–21.
D. H. Lawrence, The Plumed Serpent, ed. L. D. Clark (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 390.
D. H. Lawrence, Kangaroo, ed. Bruce Steele (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 137.
D. H. Lawrence, Apocalypse, ed. Mara Kalnins (London: Penguin Books, 1995), 147–48.
Ludwig Klages, The Biocentric Worldview, trans. Joseph D. Pryce (London: Arktos, 2013), 42.
Frithjof Schuon, Language of the Self (Bloomington: World Wisdom, 1999), 128.